Recipe

Provencal beef stew

This classic French braised beef, red wine, and vegetable stew is simple and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 kg (2 pounds) gravy beef, cut into 2cm (¾-inch) pieces
  • 2 rindless bacon slices (130g), chopped coarsely
  • 1 medium leek (350g), sliced thinly
  • 2 medium carrots (240g), diced
  • 1 stalk celery (150g), trimmed, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400 grams (12½ ounces) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1½ cups (375ml) beef stock
  • 1 cup (250ml) dry red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 medium zucchini (240g), sliced
  • ½ cup (75g) pitted black olives

Method

  • 1
    1 Heat oil in large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Cook beef, in batches, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Remove from pan.
    2 Cook bacon, leek, carrot, celery and garlic in same pan, stirring, for 5 minutes or until leek softens.
    3 Return beef to pan, add tomatoes, stock, wine, bay leaves, thyme and parsley; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low; cook stew, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
    4 Add zucchini and olives; cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until beef is tender.
    5 Remove and discard thyme and parsley before serving.
    serving suggestion Serve with mashed potato, if you like.

Notes

If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it: that's the rule of thumb for choosing wine for cooking.
Cheap, inferior quality wines will impart a less pleasant flavour than a great drinking wine.
Serve a hearty casserole such as this with mashed potato or crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

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