Braised beef and onions

The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Alan Benson


Quantity Ingredient
1kg braising beef
60g butter or oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
125ml tomato passata
125ml red wine
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
2 pieces cinnamon bark
4 cloves
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
750g small pickling onions
2 tablespoons currants, optional


  1. Prehead the oven to 150°C.
  2. Cut the beef into 3 cm cubes. Heat half the butter in a frying pan and brown the meat, placing one layer of meat in the pan at a time. Transfer the browned meat to a casserole dish.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan with the remaining butter and fry gently until the onion is soft.
  4. Add the tomato passata, wine and wine vinegar, and stir to dislodge any cooked-on bits on the base of the pan. Pour the juices over the meat in the casserole.
  5. Stir in the bay leaf, spices and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, remove the tops and roots from the onions. Cut a cross into the root ends to stop the centres popping out during cooking. Place the onions in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 2 minutes, then drain and slip off the skins — they will now slip off easily.
  7. Add the onions to the casserole with the currants, if using, and bake for a further 1–1½ hours, or until the meat and onions are tender and the sauce is thick. Remove the cinnamon.
  8. Serve with mashed potato or pilaff.


  • This dish may also be cooked slowly on top of the stove.
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Middle Eastern
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