This is really rich winter stew which is great for a dinner party as you can make it in advance and just re-heat it and cook some veg to serve. You will need to start marinading the beef the night before. The anchovies act like a seasoning and really enhance the flavours of the dish, rather than adding any fishy flavours, so don’t leave them out.
Beef Provençale – to serve 8
- 1.3kg lean stewing beef (like topside or chuck)
FOR THE MARINADE:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 300ml dry white or red wine
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp thyme or sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 110g carrots, thinly sliced
- 110g onions, thinly sliced
- 450g streaky bacon cut into 1cm lardons
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 150ml beef stock
- 175g sliced mushrooms
- 10 anchovy fillets
- 2 tbsp capers
- 3 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
Cut the beef into large very large chunks, about 8cm. Mix the marinade ingredients in a large casserole. Add the meat, cover and marinade overnight in the fridge or somewhere cool. Remove the meat to a plate and strain the marinade, reserving both the liquid and the vegetables.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, cook the bacon lardons until crisp, add to the casserole. Dry the meat with kitchen paper and seal in the hot pan, then add to the bacon along with the marinated vegetables and tinned tomatoes.
De-glaze the frying pan with the marinade and beef stock, then add to the casserole. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently either for about 1½ – 2 hours. Alternatively you can cook bring to a simmer and then transfer to a preheated oven 170ºC/gas 3.
Meanwhile sauté the sliced mushrooms on a hot pan and set aside.
When the meat is really soft and tender, liquidise the anchovies with the capers, parsley, wine vinegar and garlic. Add to the casserole along with the mushrooms. Simmer gently for another 8-10 minutes. Taste and season if necessary (you probably won’t need salt).
Serve with mash and green veg.
Wine Suggestion: We shared a bottle of “le Carignator” by Jean-Marie Rimbert from the St Chinian area of southern France with some friends and it was perfect; juicy fruit with depth, personality, subtle Garrigue spices and real interest. We think it is worth seeking out if you can as it is rare to get 100% Carignan in a wine, which is a shame as this wine proves. Jules found it in Bubble Brothers in Cork and gave it to Jono for Valentines.
(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2001.)