Tuscan beef, porcini & Chianti stew

Tuscan beef, porcini & Chianti stew

Spezzatino di manzo, porcini e Chianti

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
8-10
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Frosty evenings, log fires and Chianti were created for this winter wonder. This beef stew is a family favourite of ours, which we serve with soft cheesy polenta and steamed kale for a hearty winter supper –and don’t forget to drink the rest of the bottle of red wine with it!

This is a good opportunity to use the less-than-prime cuts of beef, such as brisket, blade or skirt. The meat should be chopped into bite-sized pieces; depending on the size and cut, some pieces will soften more quickly than others, but this is a very forgiving stew packed with flavour. It will happily sit on a warm hob until you are ready to serve, or you can reheat small portions on the stove or in the microwave for last-minute meals.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
15g dried porcini mushrooms
300ml hot water
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
25g salted butter
2 large white onions, peeled and cut finely into half moons
2 small celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
800g diced braising steak
275g portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
250ml chianti or other red wine, such as merlot
pinch ground nutmeg

Method

  1. Soak the dried porcini in the hot water for around 15 minutes or until soft. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based lidded pan and add the onions, celery, carrot, salt, bay leaves and chilli. Keep the heat low and fry for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the braising steak, increase the heat to medium and fry for about 10 minutes or until browned all over.
  2. Lift the porcini out of the soaking water with a slotted spoon or your fingers and roughly chop them. Reserve the water. Add both types of mushroom to the pan and stir through. After 5 minutes, add the wine, increase the heat and let it bubble for 2–3 minutes. Slowly pour the porcini water into the pan, being careful not to allow any sediment or grit from the bottom of the bowl to get into the pan. Add the nutmeg, stir again, and cover with the lid. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, until it is just bubbling, and continue to cook for 1 1/2–2 hours, or until the meat is very tender and falls apart easily.
  3. Every now and again, check the stew and add a little hot water if necessary. Let the water from the lid, when you lift it, drip back into the pan. If you find the stew watery, let it cook for the remainder of the time without the lid, to reduce the liquid. Serve straight away, or cool and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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