This dish is made from a cut known as chuck; it has more flavour than fillet and lends itself to long cooking times / Lisa Barber
Serves 6

This is similar to a French daube stew. The French and Italians have really got it right in terms of respectful appreciation of cheaper cuts of meat, slow-cooked until tender – so much so that they can almost be eaten with a spoon. This is made from a cut known as chuck; it has more flavour than fillet and lends itself to long cooking times.

1 tbsp olive oil
2kg/4lb chuck steak, left in one piece and trimmed of any discoloration, but still with a little fat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 rashers of smoked bacon
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bottle of hearty French wine, such as Côtes du Rhône
200ml/7fl oz beef or chicken stock
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
5 sprigs of thyme
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tsp caster sugar

Place a large, heavy-based casserole dish over a medium heat, and add the oil; when the oil is warm, season the meat generously with the salt and pepper and place in the pan. Brown really well all over; this should take about 10 minutes. Remove the beef from the pan and add the bacon, left whole, onion, celery and carrots, and cook over a low heat, stirring from time to time until the vegetables are soft – about 20 minutes. Now turn the heat up slightly and add the wine, allowing it to bubble for 1-2 minutes before adding the stock. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves and garlic, stir in the sugar and return the meat to the pan.

Place a lid on it and turn the heat to its lowest setting: cook, stirring now and then, for three hours; the meat should be meltingly tender. Remove the beef from the pan, turn the heat to high and reduce the sauce by a third. Return the meat to the pan and turn down the heat, cooking for only a couple of minutes to warm through.

To serve, pour the liquid over the meat. Here I've served it with cavolo nero, but it is also beautiful served with dauphinoise potatoes or a simple potato purée.