Slow-cooked Red Wine Beef with Tagliatelle

I have a small dining room table. It can theoretically seat 6 people, but unless their elbows have been surgically pinned to their sides, realistically it’s best for 4. In fact, my dining room is small too. This means that whenever I have a large dinner party, or host book club, we eat off our laps in the lounge. This isn’t a problem, but it means that whatever we eat for mains best not require a flat surface or too much cutting. Something that is served in a bowl and can be eaten with a fork is ideal. I made this slow-cooked red wine beef with tagliatelle for the book club girls a few weeks ago, and they loved it. The beef is ‘fall-apart-when-your-fork-touches-it’ tender, and the sauce is nicely spiced, but not fiery. Hearty, but not heavy. One of those recipes that has a long list of ingredients, and cooks for a long time, but requires very little effort. Don’t skimp on the cooking time though – the beef needs the full cooking time to tenderise fully.

Slow-cooked Red Wine Beef with Tagliatelle

* adapted from the Woolworths Taste Magazine
1 kg beef shin/goulash, cubed
2 beef stock cubes
4 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
½ bottle red wine
Pinch turmeric
1 tblsp curry powder
3/4 tblsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp mixed herbs
2-3 tblsp brown sugar
1x400ml can coconut milk
2 onions, chopped fine
3 onions, chopped into petals
4 red peppers, roasted and sliced
250g button mushrooms, sliced
Olive oil, for frying
1 packet tagliatelle
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Basil pesto, for serving
Serves 8

Heat a tblsp of olive oil in a large saucepan, add the finely chopped onion and garlic, and fry until soft and lightly browned. Turn the heat up, and add the beef cubes. Crumble in the two beef stock cubes and toss to brown the meat. Add the red wine and bring it to the boil, then turn the heat down low, put the lid on, and simmer for 2 hours, checking and stirring occasionally. [During those 2 hours, heat a tblsp of olive oil and a knob of butter in a large frying pan, and add the onion petals. A sprinkle of sugar over them also works well. Turn the heat to medium/low and fry for about an hour, stirring every now and again. The onion petals should slowly become a lovely golden colour; if they are browning quickly you need to turn the heat down. Once the onions are soft, golden and caramelised, add ½ a cup of balsamic vinegar and simmer. The vinegar will evaporate off and leave you with sweet, sticky balsamic onion petals. Put these aside to serve on the beef.] 
Back to the beef: After the 2 hours, add the curry powder, turmeric, mixed herbs, cayenne pepper and brown sugar and simmer, uncovered, for about 20min to let the flavours infuse. You will need to turn the heat up to simmer without the lid on. Then add the mushrooms and coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, for another 30min, or until the liquid has reduced and thickened considerably. Stir in the sliced, roasted peppers and spoon over cooked tagliatelle. Scatter with the caramelised balsamic onions, and top with a blob of basil pesto.

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