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Fresh Living Network
Slow-cooked French beef stew

Slow-cooked French beef stew

The slow cooker is ideal for this classic recipe. I've simplified the method by not browning the beef, the result is more tender meat with less shrinkage. It's important to buy the recommended cuts of beef as they're high in connective tissue, maximising flavour. Plus, they're more affordable. Don't exclude the anchovies, they really spark the beefy flavour of this wonderful stew...
  • Wrap bay leaf around celery stick, parsley and thyme sprigs.
  • Tie with a long piece of string that hangs over edge of pot for easy removal.
  • Cut meat into 3-4cm cubes and trim excess fat.
  • Place meat, wine, garlic and bouquet garni in a glass bowl and cover with clingfilm.
  • Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Heat half the butter in a heavy frying pan. Add chopped onion and carrots and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Stir through flour and cook for 1 minute.
  • Strain wine marinade into frying pan and place meat and bouquet garni into slow cooker. Boil wine fast over a high heat to reduce by one third.
  • Add water, stock concentrate, tomato pesto and seasoning.
  • Add to meat in slow cooker. Cover and cook for about 4 hours on low heat.
  • Heat remaining butter in a frying pan and cook bacon and shallots, stirring, for 8-10 minutes or until shallots are beginning to brown. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until glazed. Add shallots, bacon and mushrooms to stew.
  • Add mashed anchovies and stir through.
  • Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until meat is fork tender. Discard bouquet garni.
  • Season stew to taste and top with a gremolata of chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic.
  • Serve with French bread to soak up the divine sauce and a green salad dressed with French vinaigrette. This stew definitely improves with standing and is even better the next day.

Ina's tips:

Don't despair if you don't own a slow cooker. Simply follow these instructions:

  • In the oven: Tightly cover casserole dish with foil and bake at a low temperature (about 150-160°C) for recommended time, checking occasionally and adding more liquid if necessary.
  • On the stovetop: Cover and gently simmer for recommended time, also adding more water when necessary, or until meat is tender.
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