Balsamic and red wine beef stew

Now there’s an autumnal edge to the weather, it’s only natural to long for some proper comfort food and this rich beef stew in a thick red wine and balsamic vinegar sauce is just the job. I used half shin and half chuck steak for the stew as they each add different flavours and textures. I made a big batch so we could have it for supper one evening with buttery mash and some new season purple sprouting broccoli and I froze the rest for another day – it makes a lovely ragout sauce for pasta sprinkled with plenty of Parmesan. This stew is also one of my favourites because it’s a no-fuss dish that cooks slowly in the oven for a few hours and fills the kitchen with mouthwatering wafts of deliciousness. Enjoy!

Beef in balsamic

  • 1kg each of shin of beef and chuck steak cut into nice large chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour seasoned with black pepper – a good 20 turns of the mill
  • 3 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of light olive oil and a small knob of butter
  • 300ml robust red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic – crushed (I used black garlic, my new favourite wonder ingredient)
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1 dessertspoon of tomato purée
  • Sea salt 

To make…

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C
  • Heat the oil and butter in a heavy cast iron casserole dish, add the onions and cook gently for 10 minutes or so, add the garlic and stir for another couple of minutes.
  • Beef in balsamicAdd the beef pieces in the seasoned flour – add in small batches, the meat doesn’t need to be really browned but the flour needs to cook out slightly.
  • Add the wine, balsamic, tomato paste, bay leaves and top up with stock until it barely covers the beef. Bring to a simmer and then cover with the lid, place it in the oven and allow to cook slowly for four hours or so until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick and delicious.
  • I usually take a peek after about 3 hours, give it a stir and check the seasoning at this point. This way you can see if it needs a little salt, how tender the meat is and how the sauce is progressing – it should have reduced a little but the sauce is delicious so don’t let it reduce too much. Everyone’s oven is different and the meat may need a little longer. It’s better to leave more time and then just turn the oven off and leave the casserole until you need it than try to skimp on time. You might want to spoon off some of the excess fat before you bring it to the table.
  • Serve with buttery mash and your favourite green veg.

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
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