Beef Stew with Anchovies and Capers


  • 1.5 kg beef rump or topside (it’s worth using a good cut for this dish)
  • 2 glasses red wine
  • marinade ingredients listed in On Beef Stews
  • 500 g pancetta or streaky bacon cut into pieces 2–3cm square
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 25 g butter
  • 150 g mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 350 g firm, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or passata)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 400 ml stock (chicken simmered with the browned beef trimmings will do)
  • 10 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


Cut the beef into large pieces, using the trimmings as in the Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings. Add the red wine to the other marinade ingredients and marinate for at least 24 hours, turning from time to time.

Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C/Gas2.

Blanch the pancetta or bacon for 5 minutes in simmering water. Remove the beef pieces from the marinade and dry on kitchen paper. Put the flour in a paper bag and toss the beef in it.

Heat the butter in a large heavy casserole. A few seconds after the foam disappears, fry the beef and the trimmings, a few pieces at a time, until well browned. Take out the last pieces, discard the trimmings, and put 3 or 4 pieces of pancetta or bacon on the bottom. Cover with some of the marinade vegetables, mushrooms and tomatoes or passata and put in a layer of meat. Season, and repeat until the ingredients are finished, seasoning as you go. Pour in the liquid from the marinade and the stock. Bring to the simmering point on top of the stove, cover and transfer to the oven. The liquid should bubble gently. Chop together very well the anchovies, capers, garlic, and parsley until they almost resemble a paste. Whisk in the vinegar and olive oil. Remove the casserole from the oven after 2½ hours and stir this mixture in. Return to the oven if the meat isn’t tender (which it probably won’t be, quite) and finish cooking. All together the cooking time, especially for topside, might get up to 3½, even 4, hours. Serve the stew in deep bowls with crusty bread. This is extraordinarily good cold.