Rory O'Connell's Braised Beef with Rock Oysters and Oyster Mushrooms. This is a rich and robust stew that pairs the flavours and textures of land and sea perfectly.

Ingredients

This is a rich and robust stew that pairs the flavours and textures of land and sea perfectly. The choice of cut of beef here is crucial and to achieve a melting and unctuous result, I like to use the cut called chuck.

The braise can be made the day before, chilled overnight and reheated for the final addition of mushrooms and oysters on the day of serving.

Serves 6 -8

  • 1kg chuck of Beef, trimmed of fat cut into 5cm cubes approx 
  • 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil for searing the beef 
  • 2 carrots peeled and halved  
  • 1 white onion, peeled and halved  
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled  
  • 150ml red wine 
  • 150ml rich chicken or beef stock  
  • 300ml homemade tomato puree or 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 250ml water 
  • 1 branch of thyme  
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil and 20g butter for cooking the mushrooms 
  • 450g oyster mushrooms, small ones left whole, larger ones sliced  
  • 12- 16 rock oysters 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat or curly parsley 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 


Preheat oven to 150c / 300f / gas 2  
Heat a heavy cast-iron sauté pan on a moderate heat. Dry the meat lightly on paper towel. Add half of the olive oil to the hot sauté pan and brown the meat on all sides in batches, seasoning the meat with salt and pepper as you go. Do not overcrowd the meat in the sauté pan while browning or the meat will stew rather than develop a rich golden brown colour. Remove the coloured meat from the sauté pan, tip into a heavy cast-iron casserole and allow the sauté pan to heat up again before adding a little more oil and then more meat. This stage is crucial for the depth of flavour in the finished dish. 
When all of the meat is sealed and coloured and removed from the sauté pan, add the carrots, onion and garlic and toss them in the pan for a moment or two to achieve a little colour also. Add them to the meat in the casserole.  
Now add the red wine to the sauté pan and allow to bubble and reduce by half. Gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any caramelised meat juices into the liquid. Add the stock, tomato puree, bay and thyme and bring to a simmer. Pour the liquid over the meat in the casserole, cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the preheated oven and cook for about3hours. I usually look at the meat after 2 ½ hours and taste a little to see how tender it has become, but usually find it takes the full 3 hours to achieve a meltingly succulent result. 
When the meat is cooked, strain of all of the cooking juices and allow to sit for a moment for the fat to rise to the surface. Remove the carrots, onions, thyme and bay from the casserole and discard. They are not served in the finished dish. Then strain the liquid through a maigret to remove the fat or spoon it off. Taste the liquid and if you are not happy with the flavour, place it in a wide pan, bring to a simmer and allow to reduce and concentrate for a few minutes until it tastes delicious. Add the juices back into the casserole with the meat. 
Place the oysters in a tray and pop into the oven for 5 minutes or so. I use a bun tray and sit each oyster rounded side down, flat side up, so as not to lose the precious oyster juices by them tumbling over. Once you notice liquid appearing on the tray it means that the oysters are beginning to open and are ready. You are just firming up the oysters here, so don’t leave them in the oven for too long or they will become overcooked, shrivelled and miserable. Remove the top shell and carefully remove the oysters and their juices to a bowl.  
Heat a little more olive oil and butter in a sauté pan and cook the mushrooms on a moderate heat until coloured and wilted. Season with salt and pepper and add to the casserole. Bring the casserole back to a simmer and taste and correct seasoning. 
Slip the oysters and their juices in on top of the meat, Scatter on the chopped parsley and serve. 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150c / 300f / gas 2  
  2. Heat a heavy cast-iron sauté pan on a moderate heat. Dry the meat lightly on paper towel. Add half of the olive oil to the hot sauté pan and brown the meat on all sides in batches, seasoning the meat with salt and pepper as you go.
  3. Do not overcrowd the meat in the sauté pan while browning or the meat will stew rather than develop a rich golden brown colour.
  4. Remove the coloured meat from the sauté pan, tip into a heavy cast-iron casserole and allow the sauté pan to heat up again before adding a little more oil and then more meat. This stage is crucial for the depth of flavour in the finished dish. 
  5. When all of the meat is sealed and coloured and removed from the sauté pan, add the carrots, onion and garlic and toss them in the pan for a moment or two to achieve a little colour also. Add them to the meat in the casserole.  
  6. Now add the red wine to the sauté pan and allow to bubble and reduce by half. Gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any caramelised meat juices into the liquid.
  7. Add the stock, tomato puree, bay and thyme and bring to a simmer. Pour the liquid over the meat in the casserole, cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the preheated oven and cook for about3hours. I usually look at the meat after 2 ½ hours and taste a little to see how tender it has become, but usually find it takes the full 3 hours to achieve a meltingly succulent result. 
  8. When the meat is cooked, strain of all of the cooking juices and allow to sit for a moment for the fat to rise to the surface. Remove the carrots, onions, thyme and bay from the casserole and discard. They are not served in the finished dish.
  9. Then strain the liquid through a maigret to remove the fat or spoon it off. Taste the liquid and if you are not happy with the flavour, place it in a wide pan, bring to a simmer and allow to reduce and concentrate for a few minutes until it tastes delicious. Add the juices back into the casserole with the meat. 
  10. Place the oysters in a tray and pop into the oven for 5 minutes or so. I use a bun tray and sit each oyster rounded side down, flat side up, so as not to lose the precious oyster juices by them tumbling over. Once you notice liquid appearing on the tray it means that the oysters are beginning to open and are ready. You are just firming up the oysters here, so don’t leave them in the oven for too long or they will become overcooked, shrivelled and miserable. Remove the top shell and carefully remove the oysters and their juices to a bowl.  
  11. Heat a little more olive oil and butter in a sauté pan and cook the mushrooms on a moderate heat until coloured and wilted. Season with salt and pepper and add to the casserole. Bring the casserole back to a simmer and taste and correct seasoning. 
  12. Slip the oysters and their juices in on top of the meat, Scatter on the chopped parsley and serve.