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Beef Braised in Red Wine ❦ Carne Estufada com Vinho Tinto

My Mother was an amazing cook and comfort food was her speciality. The smell of the braised beef permeating through the house on Sunday morning was unmistakable. She taught me the basics to make me the chef I am today, and to want to recreate the same comforting and "love on a plate" she gave to me, for my own family. This recipe is a classic. In France it is known as boeuf bourguignon and is probaly the most well known version of this dish. My mother's recipe is almost exact, except for the thyme and mushrooms, both of which I add. I also add brandy to the bacon and mushrooms after they sauté and flambé them before adding them to the beef. Another little secret ingredient is chicken livers. They really elevate the flavour of the sauce. The key to this recipes success is definitely the marinating process. 24 hours, no less, to be exact. The beef bubbles away for about 2 hours,(low and slow), in the oven, leaving you time to do other things around the house. If you find even more time make this the day before, the flavour only improves. DELISH!! My mom made this as a "one pot" meal and never drained the fat from the bacon. Why would you do that?!

Make sure there is plenty of crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juices.


Beef Braised in Red Wine ❦ Carne Estufada com Vinho Tinto

Serves 6

Best made in a cast iron casserole dish with lid (23 cm/ 9 inch.)

Time: 24 hours before + 2-1/2 hours to prep and cook

1- 1/2 kg Stewing beef, such as beef brisket, chuck, shin or even cheek trimmed of fat, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes

400 g. Chicken livers, whole (you can fish them out later or eat them as we do, up to you)

170 g. Smoked bacon lardons

150 g. Button mushrooms, washed towel dried and left whole

1 Carrot, cut into small cubes

1 (400 g.) Can chopped tomatoes, undrained

6 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

12 Small silverskin onions or shallots, pealed and left whole

1 Bottle ( 75cl.) of dry red wine, divided. You'll need a bit for the marinade.

I used Le Verdier Cairanne Cotes Durhone Village

60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil

50 ml. Brandy

2 tbsp. Salted butter

2 tbsp. Tomato paste

2 tbsp. Red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. Flour

2 Beef bouillon cubes, crushed into 200 ml. of hot water to make beef stock, feel free to use homemade stock if you have it

1 Bouquet garni consisting of:

3 Sprigs fresh thyme

1 Bunch fresh parsley, several stalks for bouquet, chop and reserve rest of leaves only, to finish dish

2 bay leaves

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the marinade 24 hours before:

A bit of the red wine from bottle above, give or take a cup

1 Bay leaf, torn in half

1 tsp. Course sea salt

A few sprigs of thyme, optional

1. Place cubed beef, bay leaf and salt, in a non- metalic bowl, and pour in enough wine to cover beef. Make sure beef is completely submerged. I added a few sprigs of thyme, this is optional.

Cover and place in refrigerator for 24 hours, minimum 8, but 24 is better, until ready to cook.

When ready to cook:

1. Pre-heat oven to 140°C / 275°F

2. Place your cast iron pot on high heat and add olive oil and butter. Once hot and shimmering. Add bacon and sauté until crispy and brown, stir often.

Drain beef from marinade and reserve marinade. Add beef cubes to bacon pot and let fry, on high heat, until brown on all sides. Stir often. Add mushrooms and stir, stand back and add brandy. Set alight, (flambé), if you feel confident. If not let it reduce completely. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds more.

3. Reduce heat and add tomato paste and stir to incorporate.

Add chicken livers, bouquet garni, reserved marinade, beef stock, rest of wine, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, red wine vinegar and onions. Add some freshly cracked black pepper if you wish at this point. Stir, cover and place in pre-heated oven.

4. Let cook for 1 hour.

5. Raise oven heat to 220°C / 425°F. Let cook for 30 more minutes.

6. After 30 minutes, remove from oven. Discard bouquet garni. Remove livers if not eating. (Or you can reserve them to make a delicious pâté...delish) Stir, taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with buttery mashed potato purée, rice, boiled potatoes or even noodles.

I place some whole baby rainbow carrots atop for decorative purposes, feel free to garnish as you wish. Don't forget the crusty bread ;)


Cute baby rainbow carrots to garnish

Cute decorative rainbow baby carrots for garnish

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