Beef rib & borlotti bean stew

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Serves 6


  • 1.5kg beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 75ml red wine
  • 500ml water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • 400g tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Total time: 4 hours 40 minutes

Beef rib & borlotti bean stew

This deep, rich stew is as much a joy to cook as it is to eat. Slow cooking like this, (and this is really slow cooking), brings layers upon layers of depth and flavour. The collagen in the rib is thick which add a ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the dish… essentially adding it’s own beef stock while it cooks. It’s a great meal which takes minutes to prepare, spends a long time in the oven so that you can forget about it and get on with something else, and then is quick to tie up at the end.


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

Using the back of a spoon or pastry brush, rub the tomato purΓ©e over the beef and season well with salt and pepper. Heat the rapeseed oil in a large frying pan and sear the beef until brown.

Remove the beef to the ovenproof dish. Return to the frying pan to the heat and add in the garlic cloves, chilli, cinnamon stick, star anise, soy sauce, thyme and rosemary. Cook for 3Β  minutes and pour in the wine. Reduce for 1 minute to cook off the alcohol and pour the spiced wine over the beef rib.

Add the water, vegetable bouillon, borlotti beans and honey to the ovenproof dish and stir. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring the beef and beans to a gentle boil and turn down to a low simmer.

Put the lid on, place in the oven, and leave to cook for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, the beef should be falling off the bone. Remove the beef from the sauce and shred using your fingers or two forks. Leave to one the side while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce, remove and discard the chilli, herbs, cinnamon stick and star anise. Using a ladle, carefully pour the sauce into a saucepan (leaving the beans behind) and place it over a high heat. Reduce it by a third. Finally, pour it back over the beans, stir in the shredded beef and warm through over a gentle heat.

Serve with mashed potatoes and green vegetables.



We headed off to Dartmoor in the wind and the rain whilst this was cooking. The smells when we opened the front door, wet and cold, were simply incredible. It’s what winters are made of… cold and warm, dark and light, sweet and sour. It’s all about balance.”

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