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When it is cold and grey and wet outside, there is nothing better than a hearty stew cooking for several hours in wine and infusing your kitchen with the most tantalizing aromas. Now, you could do a Boeuf Bourgignon but you could also try something different – tender, melt in the mouth morsels of succulent meat bathed in a rich, deep sauce and served with pasta. Perfect.

Serves 6


1.2kg / 2 1/2 lbs beef cheeks (about 3 cheeks)
5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 branch of celery, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bouquet garni
grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 bottle of red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
60g / 4 tablespoons butter
15ml / 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette
30g / 2 tablespoons flour
225g / 8oz chopped tomatoes
30g / 1oz good quality dark chocolate (at least 80%) , optional
1 to 2 cups beef stock (as needed)
Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish


Place the beef cheeks,, carrots, celery, leek, shallots, garlic, bouquet garni, lemon and orange zest and red wine in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours, even overnight
Preheat the oven to 150C / 300F
Drain the meat and the vegetables, reserving the liquid
Pat dry the beef and season with salt and pepper and the piment
Melt the butter and oil in a large dutch oven , I use a Le Creuset, over medium heat
Add the meat and sear it, until browned on all sides, then leave to one side
Add the vegetables and cook for about 1 minute
Return the meat to the pan
Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes
Pour in the reserved wine from the marinade
Add the tomatoes
Grate in the chocolate if using
Pour in enough stock to just cover the meat and bring to the boil
Cover the dish and place in the oven for 4 hours, stirring once or twice
Remove from the oven and place on the stove top
Remove the cheeks from the dish, then place the dish over a high heat
Cook rapidly until the sauce reduces and thickens
Return the meat to the pan to warm it and coat with the sauce
Sprinkle with parsley
Serve with pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta