Beef Provencale

  • Preparation Time25 mins
  • Cooking Time360 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyEasy
1 (1.35kg) beef braising roast (from the shoulder)
2 tsp salt, plus additional for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
50g plain flour
475ml chicken stock
1 (425ml) tin whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
60ml cognac or brandy
1 tbsp herbes de Provence
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 5-cm pieces
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
75g prepared sun-dried tomato tapenade
15g coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 packed tsp finely grated orange zest
Hot buttered egg noodles, for serving
1) Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over a medium-high heat. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the oil to the skillet and heat just until beginning to smoke. Brown the meat all over and sear the roast, turning as each side turns a deep mahogany, about 10 minutes.

2) While the meat browns, put the flour into a medium bowl and whisk with about 350ml of the chicken stock until smooth.

3) Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into a slow cooker; stir in their juices, 3 tbsp of the cognac, the herbes de Provence, and the 2 tsp of salt.

4) Transfer the browned meat to the slow cooker. Add the remaining 125ml chicken stock to the skillet; let it bubble for a minute and then stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour over the meat, and then scatter the garlic, carrots, fennel and onion over and around the meat. Pour the flour/stock mixture over. Cover the cooker, set it on HIGH, and cook for 4 hours, then set the cooker on LOW and cook until the meat is very tender, up to 2 hours more (for a total of 6 hours).

5) Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Skim any excess fat off the top of the sauce in the cooker. To finish the sauce, stir the remaining cognac, the tomato tapenade, parsley and orange zest into the vegetables and sauce in the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

6) Slice the meat and lay the slices down the centre of a serving platter. Arrange the vegetables around the meat and spoon some sauce over the top. Serve with hot buttered egg noodles. Pass the remaining sauce.

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