Portuguese braised steak & onions

Portuguese braised steak & onions

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(29 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins - 15 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 20 mins


Serves 4
In Portugal this braise would be served with fried potatoes or rice, but it goes just as well with a pillow of buttery mash

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal430
  • fat23g
  • saturates8g
  • carbs11g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre2g
  • protein44g
  • salt0.46g


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 4 braising steaks, about 200g/8oz each
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 onions, finely sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 100ml red wine
  • 400g can chopped tomato
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 bay leaves
  • chopped coriander, to serve


  1. Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Heat half the oil in a shallow casserole dish. Brown the steaks well on each side, then remove from the pan. Splash the vinegar into the pan and let it bubble and almost evaporate. Add the rest of the olive oil and the onion, and gently fry on a medium heat for 10-15 mins until softened and starting to colour.

  2. Once the onion has softened, stir in the garlic and the paprika. Cook for 1 min more, tip in the red wine and chopped tomatoes, then stir through the tomato purée and bay leaves. Season, pop the steaks back into the pan, then cover and place in the oven for 2 hrs, stirring halfway through and adding a splash of water if needed. Cook until the meat is very tender. The stew can now be cooled and chilled for 2 days and reheated or frozen for up to 3 months. To serve, scatter with coriander.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Lorna Watkins's picture
Lorna Watkins
9th Feb, 2018
Instead of putting it in the oven I’ve put all the cooked ingredients in the slow cooker on slow for about 4 hours. The meat came out so flaky and overall delicious. I added mushrooms too and I served it with mashed potatoes and veg.
lauramoore23's picture
3rd Nov, 2015
As per other users' comments, I found this recipe disappointing on the grounds that 1. the meat was tough as old boots, and 2. the sauce was wholly unremarkable.
11th Nov, 2014
Having read the comments about being undercooked and under flavoured, I doubled the paprika and wine. Also added a good splash of dark soy sauce (as per another similar recipe on another site) then 500ml pack of supermarket fresh beef stock and cooked for 4 hours. I removed the meat and onions using a slotted spoon and briskly boiled the liquid until well reduced to concentrate the flavour before returning to the meat to serve. Yummy!
13th Dec, 2012
This proved to be a meal that all the family enjoyed & would definitely have again, the braising steak was nice & tender after cooking it for the recommended 2 hours, buying quality meat definitely paid off
5th Oct, 2012
You really have to be an idiot to mess this up. Due to the lack of the red wine in the house at the moment (not that I would take any blame for that) I had to make some alterations, but it still turned up very nice with Lyon potatoes. One might consider replacing the paprika with sugar, though, depending on the taste of the tomatoes and tomato purée. But it's a nice, comforting dish even as it says in the recipe.
29th May, 2012
The sauce was a lovely flavour, but i felt that the dish needed at least an hour extra cooking time, the meat was still a bit tough after the recommended time.
21st Apr, 2012
A little "tomatoey" for me, will leave out tomato puree next time, also think I will try it in the slow cooker and maybe the sauce won't reduce so much
25th Jan, 2012
I thought this was horrible and I'm a huge fan of braised beef, the cooking time wasn't long enough and there was no depth to the flavours!
25th Nov, 2011
Not impressed. I took previous commentators' advice and doubled paprika and I added an extra bay leaf but still :-( Also ended up having to cook it for 3.5 hours (fortunately I'd allowed extra time for cooking as I have previously found Barney Desmazarey's recipes significantly underestimate cooking time....... ) I suggest you don't bother trying this recipe
20th Nov, 2011
I first encountered this dish in the Azores, where it is served with chips AND rice together! I was delighted to come across a recipe for it, and made no changes. It came out well, but a little more tomatoey than I remember it. Think I added too much purée by accident.


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Lisa Melo's picture
Lisa Melo
2nd Apr, 2019
Small adjustments are necessary here, my family come from northern Portugal so I added minor things like flour to thicken the sauce and chillies to give it a kick, more red wine too. I oven cooked it but definitely trying with my slow cooker next time. Overall is a good classic dish and goes best with homemade fried chips.
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