Stracotto al Chianti Classico / Slow cooked beef in Chianti Classico wine

March 10, 2020

Stracotto, slowly cooked meat until it almost falls apart is an essence of Tuscan gastronomy.

Preparing this dish (and cooking it for a long while) is very rewarding.

In case you have some meat left, shred it and reheat it with the sauce and by tossing with pappardelle egg pasta you will have yet another wonderful meal or two.

  • 1.5-1.7kg of boneless beef shank or any other stewing joint (you can tie it with a cooking twine but that is not necessary)
  • about 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage and rosemary leaves
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 2 small celery stalks, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • red Chianti Classico wine about 500ml or just enough to cover the meat in the pot
  • 2 flat tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 300-500 ml of vegetable or light meat stock 
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • olive oil for frying

Wash and pat dry your meat joint. Sprinkle some salt and pepper all over the meat and then cover it with the rosemary and sage mix by gently rubbing it onto the meat.

In a tall pot (large enough to just fit the meat joint, you don’t want too much empty space around the meat) heat up on a medium heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Put the prepared meat into the pan and slightly brown it on both sides. Once the meat has browned add the chopped celery, carrots and onions and after a few minutes add the garlic and parsley. Let it cook in the pot for about 10 minutes stirring every so often. 

Now pour in the red wine just enough to cover the meat. Carry on cooking on a medium heat until the wine has almost evaporated. Dissolve the tomato puree in the stock and add it to the pot with the meat. Again, it should only just cover the meat, there is no need for excess stock.

Put the lid on and cook on a low heat for a minimum of 3 hours, turning the meat every 30 minutes.

The meat should be almost falling apart when you come to cut it.

Once the meat has cooked for long enough, wait until it has cooled down a little, take it out of the pot and blend the sauce with a hand blender. It should have a lovely creamy consistency. Taste it and season to your liking.

Put the meat back into the pot and reheat just before serving.

*If you feel that the sauce is too rich with the melted meat fat, wait until it has cooled down completely. The fat will then have risen to the surface and it can be easily removed with a spoon.

Once you are ready to serve the starcotto thickly slice it across the muscle fibres. It is normal and actually expected for the slices to fall apart whilst cutting the meat.

Serve the stracotto along with the sauce accompanied with potatoes (cooked as you wish) and some greens on the side.