Beef Braised in Tomato Sauce

12:12 am on 21 June 2008

Make this dish and you will have at least three meals almost ready. On the first day, enjoy the braised beef served with some of the tomato sauce. If you haven't eaten all the meat while it is hot, it will be delicious cold, or can be sliced and reheated covered in some of the sauce. For another meal, there will still be ample sauce to serve with pasta and grated parmesan cheese. And if there is some sauce still in the pot, it can be the starting point for a rich minestrone or mushroom soup.

An elegant traditional way to serve this dish is to make a first course of pasta, tossed with the sauce. After this serve the warm meat sliced and accompanied with Dijon mustard and a rocket, fennel and walnut salad. For a winter feast, you could include three kinds of braising meat; beef, pork and lamb.

Serves 4 (twice)


  • 1 kg piece braising steak, eg bolar, cross-cut blade, rump, topside
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • quarter cup olive oil
  • 1-2 large onions, very finely diced
  • a little dried chili
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can water


Dry the meat and cut off any excess surface fat. Pierce meat in several places with a sharp knife. Push a sliver of garlic and a little chopped parsley into each cut. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 150C.

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron casserole and brown the meat thoroughly on all sides.

Lift the meat out of the pot and set it aside on a plate. Lower the heat and add the finely diced onions and chili.  Fry gently until the onions are translucent and tender.

Return the meat to the pot, add the sugar and pour on the wine.

Allow the wine to bubble up and reduce a little before adding the tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil, then cover and place in the oven.

After half an hour, you may be able to reduce the heat to 130C to keep it cooking very gently.

Continue to cook for a total of two and a half hours, when it will be very tender. Lift the out of the pot onto a warm plate, cover with foil and keep warm.

If the sauce is too thin, put it on the heat and allow to reduce a little. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Add lots of freshly chopped parsley before serving.

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