Beef Stewed in Pinot Noir & Thyme

Here’s a delicious and simple Italian stew that took me utterly by surprise. The beef is cooked low and slow over 3 1/2 hours so the resulting texture is soft and rich with a mildly peppery aftertaste. It’s absolutely divine. If you cant be bothered with the chopping, flouring, frying, sealing and deglazing that some stews demand, this is the stew for you. What could be simpler than chucking everything into a pan and letting it cook itself? If you’ve got a spare 4 hours, then I urge you to try this. Better still, make it the night before and reheat – the taste is even better.

1.5kg beef blade (cut into large chunks)
400ml pinot noir red wine
8 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
5 sprigs thyme (tied in muslin)
1 teaspoon salt
150ml tomato puree

Put everything together into a large casserole pan and fill with water until the meat is barely covered. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to very low and simmer very gently for 3 1/2 hours until the meltingly tender. Fish out the muslin with thyme and serve hot. As I said earlier, reheated the following day, this stew is even better.

Serve with just some crusty bread or with freshly steamed veg and lashings of mashed potato.

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