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Italian braised beef with onion and aubergine

Italian braised beef with onion and aubergine

 

A perfect dinner or supper party dish - the meat cooks slowly in the oven until very tender. Serve with a simple vegetable stir-fry.


Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 31/2 hours
Serves 4

  • 2 Tbsp plain flour

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 1 tsp mild chili powder

  • 4 beef shanks, each weighing about 175 g (6 oz)

  • 5 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced

  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

  • 400 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes

  • 450 ml (16 0 oz) beef or vegetable stock

  • 2 medium aubergines, cut into chunks about 5 cm (2 in)

  • 1 large onion, cut into 6

  • 1 red onion, cut into 6

  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 8 slices pancetta or very thin bacon rashers

  • Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark '3. Mix together the flour, seasonings and chili powder on a plate. Trim the beef and turn it in the flour.

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in an ovenproof casserole; add the beef and h well on both sides. Stir in the garlic, oregano and tomatoes and just enough stock to cover the meat. Bring to the boil then cover the pan and transfer to the oven for 3 hours, or until the beef is meltingly tender.

  3. Heat the remaining oil in a hot wok, add the aubergine and cook quickly to brown. Add the onion and cook for a further 3 minutes, then add the pepper and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

  4. Remove the beef from the tomato sauce, transfer to a plate, cover with foil and keep warm. Add the vegetables to the tomato sauce and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are just done and the sauce is well reduced.

  5. Dry-fry the pancetta or bacon in the wok until crisp.

  6. To serve, make a mound of vegetables in the centre of four warmed serving plates and top each with a piece of beef. Spoon the sauce over and around the plate then garnish each helping with a little of the crisp pancetta or bacon and some chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

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