WINE: Vietti Nebbiolo Perbacco
FOOD: Beef stew with a twist
WHY? Protein and tannin is a combination not to be messed with
Firstly, step up Vietti. Star producer from Piedmont who make some really wonderful wines (with very pretty labels). This wine, although it technically doesn’t have ‘Barolo’ on the label, could pretty much be classed as one. In fact, it’s made from the grapes grown in the same vineyards as their Barolos, they just didn’t quite make the grade to be put in their top, top wines. Enter Perbacco – a great value alternative to Barolo with classic flavours of red fruits, violets, leather and tar.
Now that Spring is finally in the air then this recipe seems a bit out of place but at the time this was a great warming meal to make you feel all cosy inside. It’s the hallmark of a slow-cooked stew with vegetables that are just keeping their shape and beef that falls apart when you touch it.
Whilst standard stew is often heavy, this version is lifted by some lemon zest and chopped garlic sprinkled on the top just before serving. As a result it smells incredible, and thankfully (after 4 long hours) tasted as good as it smelt.
The wine is the perfect match, with the protein in the beef softening up the tannins in the wine and allowing all the juicy flavours to come through.
Any Barolo or Barbaresco would be a great combination with this stew, but if your budget doesn’t stretch that far then an Italian red is really a must.
Jools’s favourite beef stew (no wonder I like it…)
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
- olive oil
- 1 knob butter
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 800 g quality stewing steak or beef skirt, cut into 5cm pieces
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- flour, to dust
- 2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
- 6 carrots, peeled and halved
- 1 butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly diced
- 500 g small potatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- ½ bottle red wine
- 285 ml organic beef stock
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/300ºF/gas 2. Put a little oil and your knob of butter into an appropriately sized pot or casserole pan. Add your onion and a couple of bay leaves and fry for 3 or 4 minutes. Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour, then add it to the pan with all the vegetables, the tomato purée, wine and stock, and gently stir together.
Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and just a little salt. Bring to the boil, place a lid on top, then cook in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. Sometimes this takes 3 hours, sometimes 4 – it depends on what cut of meat you’re using and how fresh it is. The only way to test is to mash up a piece of meat and if it falls apart easily it’s ready. Once it’s cooked, you can turn the oven down to about 110°C/225°F/gas ¼ and just hold it there until you’re ready to eat.
The best way to serve this is by ladling big spoonfuls into bowls, accompanied by a glass of French red wine and some really fresh, warmed bread. Mix the lemon zest and garlic together and sprinkle over the stew before eating. Just the smallest amount will make a world of difference – as soon as it hits the hot stew it will release an amazing fragrance.