French onion beef braise with Gruyère toasts

French onion beef braise with Gruyère toasts
  • Serves icon Serves 6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 50 min, oven time 2 hours 45 min

A deep, rich French dish of beef shin slow-cooked in red wine and topped with cheesy gruyère toasts. Cosy comfort food doesn’t get much better than this!

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
745kcals
Fat
26.8g (12.2g saturated)
Protein
71.7g
Carbohydrates
29.5g (7.8g sugars)
Fibre
2.4g
Salt
1.7g
Calories
745kcals
Fat
26.8g (12.2g saturated)
Protein
71.7g
Carbohydrates
29.5g (7.8g sugars)
Fibre
2.4g
Salt
1.7g

Ingredients

  • Olive oil for frying
  • 5 red onions, finely sliced
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5kg beef shin, cut into 3cm pieces and tossed in 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 300g button mushrooms, large ones halved
  • 750ml bottle red wine
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Chopped fresh parsley to serve

For the gruyère toasts

  • 1 red onion, half finely chopped, half sliced into rings
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 part-baked French baguette
  • 100g gruyère, grated
  • 100g comté cheese, grated

You’ll also need…

  • Shallow, lidded flameproof casserole

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. Heat a glug of oil over a medium heat in the casserole with the 5 sliced onions, half the thyme and 1 rosemary sprig. Cook, stirring often, for 30 minutes until softened and caramelised. Add the sugar and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more.
  2. Add the floured beef and fry for 5 minutes until the beef is starting to brown, then add the mushrooms. and fry for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add the wine, stock, bay leaves and remaining herb sprigs. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 2½ hours until the beef is tender and falling apart.
  4. Meanwhile, for the gruyère toasts, mix the chopped and sliced onion with the vinegar and sugar in a small glass or ceramic bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  5. When the beef is tender and the sauce is thick and flavoursome, remove the casserole from the oven. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. Turn up the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
  6. To finish the toasts, slice the baguette and top the slices with the pickled red onion and a little grated gruyère and comté. Sit the slices on the stew and sprinkle with the rest of the pickled onion and cheeses. Return to the oven, without the lid, for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden, melted and bubbling. Scatter with chopped parsley and serve straightaway.

delicious. tips

  1. To make in a slow cooker, reduce the wine to 600ml and omit the stock (step 3). Keep the amount of flour the same. Cook as in the recipe up to the end of step 3, then transfer to a slow-cooker, set to high and leave for 4-5 hours (or all day on a low setting).

  2. Make up to 48 hours ahead up to the end of step 3, then cool, cover and chill. Reheat until hot, then continue with step 4.
    To freeze, cool at the end of step 3, put into a freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, defrost overnight in the fridge, transfer to a flameproof casserole and heat on the hob until piping hot. Continue from step 4.

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