Italian beef, porcini and red wine stew
Serves 8 | prep 50 mins | total time
Italian beef, porcini and red wine stewSubscribe to Sainsbury's magazine
Serves 8 | prep 50 mins | total time
Nutritional information (per serving)
- 1 x 40g pack porcini pieces (we used L’Aquila)
- 3 tbsp dripping or sunflower oil, plus extra if needed
- 1 x 206g pack cubetti di pancetta
- 2kg sliced beef braising steak, cut into 5cm pieces
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 large onions, halved and sliced
- 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 75g plain flour
- 1 litre fresh beef stock
- 100ml Italian red wine
- 100ml ruby port
- 6 fresh bay leaves
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 x 200g pack cooked peeled chestnuts
- Put the porcini pieces in a bowl and cover with 250ml just-boiled water. Rest a small saucer on top to keep them submerged and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
- Strain the mushrooms through a fine sieve, catching the liquid in a spare bowl, pressing as much of the liquid through as possible. Set aside the mushrooms and strain the soaking liquid through a kitchen paper-lined sieve to catch any grit; discard this and set aside the strained liquid.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of dripping or sunflower oil in a large, nonstick flameproof casserole. Add the pancetta and fry for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Remove to a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Tip Turn this deliciously rich stew into a pie with a potato pastry crust. Cook 350g peeled and diced potatoes until tender; drain and mash well (preferably using a potato ricer); cool. Whiz together 225g plain flour, 1 tsp salt and 175g diced butter in a food processor. Add the mash and blend briefly. Add 1-2 tbsp cold water to bring together as a dough. Roll out to make a pastry lid. Put the stew into a 30cm x 25cm and 6cm-deep pie dish (4-litre capacity); top with the lid. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 55-60 minutes at 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6, until browned and bubbling hot.
- Brown a few pieces of the steak at a time in the casserole, adding a little more dripping or oil when necessary. Set aside with the pancetta while you brown the remainder. When you have finished, wipe the casserole clean to avoid burnt bits.
- Add another 1 tablespoon of oil or dripping to the casserole with 25g of the butter. When it has melted, add the onions, sugar and a pinch of salt and fry, stirring now and then, for 10 minutes, until they are soft and richly browned. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 130°C, gas 2.
- Add the garlic to the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the squeezed-out porcini and fry for 2-3 minutes more. Add the reserved porcini soaking liquid and simmer until it has almost disappeared. Stir in 50g of the plain flour, then gradually stir in the stock, red wine and port, and bring to the boil, stirring. Return the browned beef and pancetta to the casserole with the bay leaves, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and some seasoning. Bring back to the boil, cover with a sheet of foil or baking paper and a tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours.
- Uncover, stir in the chestnuts, re-cover and cook for a further 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the meat is meltingly tender. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- In a small bowl, mash together the remaining 25g of flour with the remaining 25g of butter, softened, using a fork to make a paste. Bring the stew to a simmer on top of the stove, then stir in the paste, bring back to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until thickened. Leave to cool.
You could also simmer this stew on top of the stove if you prefer – just remember to give it a stir every now and then to make sure it is not sticking to the base of the pan.