Braised beef with salsa verde and pickled walnuts

Beef is braised until meltingly tender in a red wine and beef stock sauce, before being given a bright, umami-rich lift from the punchy salsa verde and tangy pickled walnuts. A classic combination of flavours which proves how important contrast is in a dish.

Charlie says: 'Around Thyme, there are plenty of walnut trees laden with fruit. We pick the walnuts earlier in the year, usually in June, before they have started to form their shells, and pickle them in their cases. They are delicious alongside beef, whether roasted, grilled or braised.'

First published in 2020

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Braised beef

Salsa verde

To serve

  • 350g of pickled walnuts, (1 jar), sliced, plus a dash of the vinegar from the jar

Method

1
Preheat an oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark 2
2
Cut the beef into large chunks, around 4-6cm, and season with salt
  • 1kg beef, suitable for braising, such as chuck or topside
3
Place a large heavy-based pot (big enough to fit everything in) over a medium-high heat, then brown the beef in the dripping or oil. Take your time to make sure the meat is evenly browned, working in batches if necessary
4
Once all of the beef is nicely browned, remove it from the pan and set it to one side
5
Gently brown the onion, celery, fennel and garlic in the pot with the residual fat. When everything is nicely caramelised, add the herbs and pour in the red wine. Let the vegetables and wine simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the stock and bring it back up to a simmer
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250ml of red wine
  • 500ml of beef stock, or chicken stock
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 fennel, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bashed with the flat side of a knife
  • rosemary, and thyme, around 2 to 3 sprigs of each, tied tightly together with butcher’s twine
6
Cut a round of baking paper that's the same size as the pot. Add the beef back into the pot and put the round of paper on the surface of the braise. Cover the pot with tinfoil, then with a lid, and put it in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat is tender but still holding its shape
7
Shortly before the beef is done, make the salsa verde. Chop the parsley well, followed by the capers, anchovies and garlic. Put into a bowl and cover with olive oil and a splash of the vinegar from the pickled walnuts
8
Once the braise is ready, remove it from the oven and lift out the cooked beef from the stock and vegetables, setting it aside. Strain and discard the vegetables and reduce the stock by around two-thirds, or until you have a thick and glossy sauce
9
Put the beef back into the stock and add the sliced pickled walnuts. When you are ready to serve, stir through a little of the salsa verde and taste for seasoning. Serve the beef in bowls with more salsa verde on top alongside creamy mashed potatoes
First published in 2020

After learning the culinary ropes at Jeremy Lee's legendary Quo Vadis in London, Charlie Hibbert now heads up the beautiful Ox Barn restaurant at Thyme, a vast country retreat with beautiful homegrown produce on the doorstep.

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