Red wine beef stew with potato gratin

My Red wine beef stew with parmesan potato gratin is true home-style family comfort food. And what better way to celebrate Father’s day this weekend than with a hearty stew? It’s all about low and slow until the meat is spoon-tender and the sauce, lusciously thick. Topped with gruyere potato gratin, this beef hot-pot is for all meat loving South Africans. Particularly the dads!

Red wine beef stew with potato gratin

There’s something special about weekend food that sets it apart from midweek suppers. A low and slow beef hot-pot that steadily makes its way to the finish line, with meltingly tender meat and a deeply flavoursome sauce. Allowing the oven to do all the work is clever cooking and will free you up for a couple of leisurely hours. At a recent lunch, the conversation turned towards food, more specifically our favourite types of food. For the women, vegetable-rich dishes were top of the list, while for the men, meat and potatoes was a clear winner.

As with most stews and curries, this beef stew benefits from being made the day before. The flavours deepen overnight. I’ve topped the meat with waxy potatoes and a handful of gruyere cheese. If you prefer, puff pastry is a lovely alternative to the potato topping. Either way, this hearty stew is absolutely delicous. For vegetable sides, roast butternut is always a good option as too are sweet potatoes with honey and orange sauce. So, shuffle the table into a warm and sunny spot for a memorable, family feast.

Red wine beef stew with potato gratin

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5kg beef shin, bone-in
1 large brown onion, diced
2 stems celery, diced
2 carrots, chopped, fine dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 stem rosemary, de-stalked and finely chopped
250ml red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g tin whole tomatoes, mulched
1/2 teaspoon sugar
peel of half and orange, thinly sliced into shavings (no pith)
750ml weak beef stock
salt and pepper, to taste

Potato gratin

600g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 – 3mm thick rounds
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons gruyere cheese, finely grated
2 stems thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180º C. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large based, oven-proof or cast iron pot. Season the beef with salt and black pepper. Brown the meat on both sides until well coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside. You will have to do the browning in batches. Avoid overcrowding the pan as the meat will start to stew as opposed to browning.

Add a drop more oil to the pan and sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the celery and carrots and sauté for several minutes before adding the garlic, rosemary and chilli flakes. Cook for 2 more minutes. Place the beef shin back into the pot with the vegetables, together with the meat resting juices. Deglaze the pot with the red wine and reduce down by a third. Stir through the tomato paste, mulched tomatoes, sugar, orange peel and beef stock. Season lightly with salt and pepper, cover with the lid and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours until the meat is spoon tender.

Allow to rest for about half and hour before skimming off any excess fat. Remove the bones, trying to keep the larger meat pieces intact. Spoon the meat and the thickened  vegetable sauce into an oven-proof casserole dish or pan. Parboil the potatoes in salted water. Drain thoroughly. Drizzle the potatoes with the melted butter and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the potatoes over the meat filling, overlapping slightly. Scatter over the thyme and bake in a 200º C oven for 45 minutes. Scatter over the gruyere cheese and grill for several minutes until the top is bubbling and the potatoes are golden. Serve with steamed green vegetables.


If you’re looking for hearty comfort food, here are three top blog picks

Slow braised Red wine Oxtail

North African Lamb knuckle bredie

Creamy Swedish meatballs with mushrooms


18 Comments. Leave new

  • Cheryl Wegener
    18 June 2015 12:48 pm

    Looks good, how many will it serve?

  • Dianne Bibby
    18 June 2015 2:22 pm

    Hi Cheryl. It’s usually sufficient for 6 very generous or 8 slightly smaller servings, depending of course on portion sizes.

  • This meal stole the show at the Father’s Day lunch table yesterday. The meat is succulent. So tasty. Thanks Di.

  • Dianne Bibby
    23 June 2015 5:30 am

    I think for the dads, meat and potatoes usually do! To save time and get ahead with this recipe, it always simpler to cook the meat the day before.

  • Di, I didn’t do this for fathers day, but made it for a family gathering meal two nights ago. This is surely going to be a family favored. Thanx it was delicious.

  • Dianne Bibby
    25 June 2015 3:12 pm

    Good to hear Ivette. It really is the simplest way to feed and satisfy a crowd, especially at this time of year when warm and hearty is necessary!

  • Hi, I don’t have any red wine on hand. What kind of red wine should I purchase for this?

  • Dianne Bibby
    16 August 2016 8:36 am

    Hi Susan. I use a good Merlot or Shiraz for this dish. The better the wine, the better the flavour of the dish. Hope you enjoy it. It’s a big favourite in our home.

  • Louise Lavoie
    25 November 2018 4:23 am

    awesome recipe a keeper for sure, thanks

  • Thank you Louise. It’s one of the blog’s most popular recipes. Every winter, we turn to this meaty comforter. A real stalwart of winter cooking.

  • Sandra Wilson
    23 January 2019 10:57 am

    The recipe looks lovely, but I don’t see print anywhere ! Also, why don’t you let us change the amount of ingredients for two people as we don’t all have 6/8 people to cook for.

  • You’re most welcome to change the ingredients to suit however many people you need to feed. You could also freeze portions for when you don’t want to cook.

  • rebecca berry
    25 January 2019 10:50 pm

    can you cook the beef part in slowcooker?

  • Absolutely, in which case I’d just reduce the water/stock content slightly.

  • Not sure where I went wrong but it was awful. Will try it again sometime

  • Hi Daniela. I’m sorry to hear it was disappointing. If you can pinpoint the problems perhaps I can see what or where it went wrong. I’d hate for you to go to all the trouble and it’s a repeat. Happy to help. Kind regards Di

  • Hi Di – what a great recipe ! I wanted to ask what you mean by “weak beef stock” should I still mix with water per package instructions ?
    I also wanted to ask if you think the stew can be served over creamy polenta or creamy mash instead or baked as a hot pot ?

  • Dianne Bibby
    19 April 2020 8:42 pm

    Hello Shira. Thank you. Personally, I prefer a weaker stock. Often the ratio of stock concentrate to water is too high which can make the sauce salty and strong. Usually, I use half the recommended measure of stock. So if the pack instruction is 2 teaspoons per 250ml water, I’ll only use 1 teaspoon. A cheesy polenta will be perfect, as too will mash. Both are great. Hope that helps. All the best Di

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