This rich stew should be tender to the point of falling apart, but still served in chunks. Tear the meat apart with a fork and spoon as you eat it, allowing it to soak up the delicious gravy.
2kg chuck steak, in 8 large pieces
5 large onions, thickly sliced
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup malt vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 litre beef stock
½ tsp cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tsp juniper berries (optional)
1 tsp whole allspice
½ tsp whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
salt and black pepper, to season
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and brown the chuck steak pieces in batches until well-browned on all sides and remove from the pot. Add the onions and fry for about 10 minutes until softened. Return the beef to the pot and add the tomato paste, vinegar, beef stock and spices. Top up with enough water to cover the beef and season well with salt and pepper.
2. Simmer covered for 3½ hours, stirring occasionally and topping up with extra water as needed, until the beef is very tender and falling apart. If you prefer, you can cook the beef in an oven heated to 140C fan-forced (160C conventional) for 3½ hours. Whichever method you choose, allow to stand for about 30 minutes before serving. The meat will still be in large pieces, but should be tender enough to shred with a fork.
Adam's tip My rule of thumb is that if anything is cooked for longer than 90 minutes, it's worth making a double portion. If you're going to run the stove or oven for that long, you may as well make more than one meal. Braised dishes keep well and even freeze well in many cases.
Also try Adam Liaw's potatoes O'Brien