Stracotto al Barbera

Slow-cooked beef in Barbera

Slow-cooked beef

The Piemontesi love their slow-cooked meat stews (stracotto translates as 'overdone' but refers to the slow braising of the meat.) In Italy, this is often made with veal, as in the original recipe supplied by the chef of the restaurant attached to the excellent Araldica group of co-operatives, suppliers of The Society's Barbera d'Asti. However, it works equally well with beef or venison.

It takes about 30 minutes to prepare before putting in a low oven for approximately three hours. If you fancy being liberated from the stove for the day, use a slow-cooker which will take 6-8 hours, according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you can't bear to use a whole bottle of wine in this dish, you can substitute half the amount with beef stock.

Serves 6


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1.5kg piece of beef topside
  • 1 bottle of The Society's Barbera d'Asti DOCG Superiore
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves


Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.

Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole that comes with a lid and when it's sizzling, add the meat and brown on all sides. Lift out and keep warm.

Next, add all the vegetables lower the flame and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Return the meat to the dish, pour in the wine, season and add the cloves. Bring to a simmer then cover and put in the oven for about 2½-3 hours, until the meat is tender. If needed, add a little water during cooking.

Carve the meat into thick slices and serve with the vegetables and sauce poured over. Delicious with fresh fettuccine, polenta or creamy mash and a side dish of hearty greens.

Serve with another bottle of The Society's Barbera d'Asti DOCG Superiore.

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