Recipe for rich and hearty Beef Stew topped with cheesy Potato Gratin

2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5kg beef shin, bone-in
1 large brown onion, diced
2 stems celery, diced
2 carrots, chopped, fine dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 stem rosemary, de-stalked and finely chopped
250ml red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g tin whole tomatoes, mulched
1/2 teaspoon sugar
peel of half and orange, thinly sliced into shavings (no pith)
750ml weak beef stock
salt and pepper, to taste

Potato Gratin:
600g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 – 3mm thick rounds
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons gruyere cheese, finely grated
2 stems thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

How to
Preheat the oven to 180º C. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large based, oven-proof or cast iron pot. Season the beef with salt and black pepper. Brown the meat on both sides until well coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside. You will have to do the browning in batches. Avoid overcrowding the pan as the meat will start to stew as opposed to browning.

Add a drop more oil to the pan and sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for several minutes before adding the garlic, rosemary and chilli flakes. Cook for 2 more minutes. Place the beef shin back into the pot with the vegetables, together with the meat resting juices. Deglaze the pot with the red wine and reduce down by a third. Stir through the tomato paste, mulched tomatoes, sugar, orange peel and beef stock. Season lightly with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours until the meat is spoon tender.

Allow to rest for about half and hour before skimming off any excess fat. Remove the bones, trying to keep the larger meat pieces intact. Spoon the meat and the thickened vegetable sauce into an oven-proof casserole dish or pan. Parboil the potatoes in salted water. Drain thoroughly. Drizzle the potatoes with the melted butter and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the potatoes over the meat filling, overlapping slightly. Scatter over the thyme and bake in a 200º C oven for 45 minutes. Scatter over the gruyere cheese and grill for several minutes until the top is bubbling and the potatoes are golden. Serve with steamed green vegetables.

Recipe provided by Bibby’s Kitchen @ 36, a food blog by Dianne Bibby. For more details on monthly cooking classes hosted in Johannesburg, email [email protected].

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