- 1.2kg stewing beef
- 1 garlic bulb, halved
Part of the lily, or alium, family, of which onions are also a member, garlic is one of the most…
- 1 star anise
Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…
- small pack thyme
This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…
- 3 bay leaves
- 1l full-bodied red wine (preferably French and made from pinot noir)
- 5 tbsp sunflower oil
Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…
- 6 carrots, cut into large chunks
The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp tomato purée
- 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 150g unsmoked bacon lardons
- 150g pearl onions or small shallots, peeled
- 150g button mushrooms
- small pack parsley, leaves roughly chopped, to serve
One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…
A day or two ahead, cut the meat into large 5cm chunks. Put in a glass bowl with the garlic, star anise, thyme, bay and plenty of seasoning. Mix everything together well.
Pour the wine into a large saucepan (keep the lid to hand and turn off any extractor fans). Bring to a boil, then, at arms-length, ignite with a long match. Wait for the flames to burn off (there will be quite a few), then boil for 5 mins more. If you don't feel comfortable setting the flames alight, just boil the wine. Pour the wine over the meat, then cover and cool slightly before chilling overnight or for up to 36 hrs.
Lift the beef out of the marinade and dry on kitchen paper. Heat half the oil in a large casserole. Working in batches, brown the beef for 10 mins, adding more oil if needed (watch out – this will splutter). Once browned, transfer the beef chunks to a plate.
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 3. Add a touch more oil to the dish, then tip in the veg and gently brown for 10 mins. Use a wooden spatula to scrape any sticky bits off the bottom. Scatter over the flour and cook for 2 mins, then stir in the tomato purée. Add the meat and any juices from the plate back in, then pour over the marinade with all the aromatics. Bring everything to a simmer and give it a good stir, then cover and place in the oven for 3½-4 hrs, stirring every hour or so until the meat is very tender. You now have a delicious rustic stew that can be served as is, but keep going to take it to the next level.
Leave the stew to cool, then carefully tip into a sieve or colander set over a bowl. Lift the meat and carrots back into the casserole, then squish everything else in the sieve so that you extract the juices and some of the garlic gets squished through. Simmer this sauce in a pan for 10 mins or until thickened to your liking, then pour over the meat.
While the meat is braising, heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan. Fry the bacon and onions for 15 mins until the bacon is crisp and the onions have softened and browned. Turn the heat up, add the mushrooms and fry until cooked. Tip the contents of the frying pan into the casserole, stir and simmer for a few mins. Scatter over the parsley, then bring the dish to the table and serve with the carb of your choice.
Reduce to refineBy boiling down the sauce, you get to specify the consistency and flavour, leaving nothing to chance. Scooping off any froth that forms gives you a finer sauce
Better with timeYou can make this up to three days ahead, then chill and reheat. The longer you leave it, the more full-bodied the flavour. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months