1kg silverside or topside of beef with no added fat
2 tbsp olive oil
8 young carrots, tops trimmed (but leave a little, if you like)
1 celery stick, finely chopped
200ml white wine
600ml rich beef stock
2 bay leaves
a few thyme sprigs
1 tsp butter
1 tsp light brown or light muscovado sugar
2 tsp plain flour
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Fahrenheit/140 degrees Fahrenheit fan/gas 3. 3. Season the meat with 1 tsp oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Brown the beef all over in a large casserole dish for about 10 minutes. Simultaneously, in a frying pan, heat 2 tsp oil and cook the celery and carrots for 10 minutes, or until golden.
Remove the steak to a dish and pour the wine into the hot casserole. Cook for 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pot, then add the carrots, celery, and bay leaves, being careful not to submerge the carrots too much. Cook for 2 hours in the oven, covered.
Thinly slice the onions in the meantime. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil and add the onions, thyme, and some spice. Cook for 20 minutes, covered, or until the onions have softened but not browned. Remove the lid, increase the heat, add the butter and sugar, and cook the onions, turning often, until they are a dark golden brown. The thyme sprigs should be removed and discarded.
The beef will be soft and easy to break apart at the edges when it’s done. Snip the strings and remove them from the casserole. Return the onion pan to the heat, add the flour, and cook for 1 minute. To make onion gravy, whisk the onions into the meaty juices of the casserole. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the meat and carrots to the casserole, or slice the steak and serve it on a platter with the carrots on the side and gravy spooned over it.