I make no apologies for the length of time needed to make this. Long and slow is the only way to get those amazingly rich flavours. That said, after getting it into the oven, you’re free for the next couple of hours to put your feet up. Make sure you have some good crusty sourdough bread to mop up the gravy. I feed eight people with these quantities, and the kids love it.
1/2 cup olive oil
100 g pancetta, cut into strips
500 g French shallots, whole or halved depending on size
4 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed
200 g button mushrooms
1 bunch Dutch carrots, peeled and halved
1.5 kg chuck steak, cut into large cubes, about 5 cm
1/2 cup flour
500 ml red wine, Shiraz or similar
500 ml beef stock
1 tspn smoked paprika
1 tbspn tomato paste
Salt and pepper
1. Pre heat the oven to 150 C, or 130 C fan forced. Have all the beef and vegetables chopped up and ready before you start. Heat about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy based or cast iron casserole dish. On a high heat, crisp the pancetta, then remove to a bowl.
2. Reduce the heat slightly, to about medium, and put the shallots in. Sauté them for about five minutes, then add the carrots and bay leaves. Sauté for another five minutes or so, it should all have a nice golden brown colour. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and after another five minutes or so remove all the vegetables to the same bowl as the pancetta.
3. To brown the meat, coat the meat pieces in the flour. Make sure to dust off any excess flour. Heat a couple more tablespoons of olive oil in the casserole dish, and add the flour coated beef pieces in small batches. Do not overcrowd the pan, and sear each side for a couple of minutes. When the pieces have browned transfer them to the same bowl as the pancetta and vegetables. Keep browning the beef in small batches, adding more olive oil as needed, until all the pieces have been seared.
4. I like to de-glaze all the crusty bits with a small amount of wine before returning the meat and vegetables as it’s easier to scrape it all up. So turning the heat to maximum, pour in just enough red wine to cover the base of the pan. It should sizzle and steam up, and with a wooden spoon scrape all the crusty and charred bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Make sure you get it all into the wine. When you have de-glazed the pan and the wine has reduced a bit, return the meat and all the vegetables to the pan.
5. With the heat still on high, slowly add the rest of the wine and stir through. Cook for about five minutes or so until the alcohol cooks out and the wine reduces slightly. Stir frequently.
6. Next add the smoked paprika, tomato paste, and enough of the stock to just cover the meat and vegetables. Stir through and season with salt and pepper.
7. Put it in the oven, and cook for about two hours. (After about an hour give it a stir and check for seasoning). Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans. And don’t forget the bread!