Slow Cooked Steak in Red Wine with Gremolata Dumplings

3:30 am on 19 May 2009

The cooks in cafes and tratorrias of France and Italy are masters at taking inexpensive meat cuts, unloved and abandoned by the more fancy restaurants and turning them into dishes of jaw droppingly good taste.

In these recessionary times, it’s good to remind ourselves that simple food, slowly cooked is cost-effective, comforting and absolutely delicious. Our grandmothers used dumplings to pad out the more expensive ingredients like meat, and it’s a great house-keeping tip which is more relevant than ever right now!

There’s no real secret but there are three things to know:

  • These cheaper cuts of meat have more flavour
  • Take time to slow cook the meat till it literally melts in the mouth
  • Ensure you stick to classic flavours that have stood the test of time

Look out at your supermarket for the best flavour, low cost steaks – my choice for this recipe would be either blade or chuck steak.


Beef steak
4 x 300 - 400g  beef blade or chuck steaks
plain flour to dust steaks
¼ cup  olive oil – or use other if not available
2 medium onions – finely chopped
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
300ml  red wine
1 cup  tinned chopped tomatoes
½ cup chicken stock
pinch dried chilli
3 sprigs rosemary – from the garden if you have it
6 pieces anchovy - optional

Gremolata dumplings
2 cups   plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon  salt
1 clove garlic – crushed
1 lemon, zested
½ cup parsley - chopped
1 cup grated butter – place in freezer for 1 hour first before grating
¾+ cup  milk


How to make Steak

First choose a casserole dish large enough to hold the steaks.

Heat a frying pan, add three tablespoons of olive oil then sweat the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until soft and sweet. Scrape all into the casserole saucepan.

Re-heat frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lightly dust steaks with flour then pan fry until golden – you may have to do this in batches depending upon size of fry pan. Place the coloured steaks on top of the onions.

Add red wine to the frying pan and reduce down for several minutes until it’s nearly all evaporated, add the tomatoes, stock and chili, rosemary and anchovies if using. Stir well before scraping everything over the steaks. Cover with a lid and place in oven at 325F/160°C for one-and-a-half hours.

After 1 hour make the gremolata dumplings – sift flour into a large mixing bowl, gently mix in all other ingredients except milk. Now mix in sufficient milk to make a moist dough (similar to scones).

With wet hands, roll dumpling dough into golf ball-sized pieces and place on floured bench top. Remove steaks from oven, take off the lid and place gremolata dumplings evenly around the surface, be sure to leave one inch between each – if there’s too much dumpling mix do not use the extra.

Recover steaks with the lid and place back into the oven a further 20 minutes to cook the dumplings.

Serve at the table straight from the saucepan – the smell alone makes you hungry.

Anchovies – If you don’t like anchovies don’t worry, they simply enrich the flavor of the sauce.

Suggested wines to complement this recipe

Thornbury Hawkes Bay 2007

Ti Point 2008

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