There are very few ingredients in this dish so each one needs to be exceptional: Irish beef; a robust red wine from Burgundy and lots of love and attention. The trick is in marinating the meat in advance, using a good red wine and keeping the stew at a gentle simmer to break down the collagen in the meat to make it meltingly tender.
1000g beef, cut into one inch pieces
1 bottle of Burgundy red wine
3 medium carrots, peeled and each cut into 3 pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
300ml beef or chicken stock (made from a stock cube if you wish)
3 sprigs thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Marinate the beef in the red wine with the carrot, onion and bay leaf overnight or for at least 4 hours.
2. Take the meat out and pat dry (otherwise it won’t brown). Fry in olive oil until brown in batches in a cast-iron pan/dutch oven/casserole or large saucepan (it needs to have a lid). You can remove the browned meat to a plate or put it back into the red wine mixture (this saves using another dish).
3. Add the wine, vegetables, beef, stock and thyme to the cooking pot. Stir to lift any bits from the bottom of the pan – these will add flavour. Turn the heat to high and when it is boiling turn it to the lowest heat. Seal the top of the pot with tin foil and put the lid on tightly, making sure no steam can escape.
4. Cook for 1-2 hours or until the meat is meltingly soft. Keep the heat at a bubble all the way through, otherwise the collagen in the meat won’t break down and it won’t become tender. Check it every half hour, adding a little more liquid if you need to (water or wine). Remove the lid for the last half hour of cooking to reduce the sauce. If the sauce is still too thin when the meat is cooked, remove it to a plate, turn the heat up under the pan and reduce the sauce. Return the meat to the sauce and heat through. Remove the bay leaf and thyme before serving.