This is utterly delicious. I served it with sweet potato wedges.
1 x 40g pack of dried porcini mushrooms
3 tbsp oil plus more if required
1 x 206g pack cubetti di pancetta
2 kg braising steak, cut into 5 cm pieces
2 large onions, halved and sliced
1 tbsp light brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, crushed
75g Plain flour
1 litre beef stock
100ml red wine
100ml port or masala
6 bay leaves
6 sprigs of Thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 x 200g pack of cooked peeled chestnuts
Put the porcini into a bowl and cover with 250ml of boiled water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, strain the mushrooms through a sieve, catching the liquid in a spare bowl, pressing as much liquid through as possible. Set aside the mushrooms and strain the soaking liquid through a kitchen paper lined sieve to catch any grit; discard this and set aside the strained liquid.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large non stick casserole dish. Add the pancetta and fry for 5 minutes until golden. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Brown a few pieces of the steak at a time in the casserole, adding a little more oil if needed. Set aside with the pancetta.
Add 25g of the butter to the pan and gently brown the onions. Add the sugar and a pinch of salt and fry until soft and browned.
Heat the oven to 150, fan 130, gas mark 2. Add the garlic to the onions and fry out for 2 minutes.
Add the 50g of the flour, cook out and then add: porcini, bay leaves, thyme leaves, Worcester sauce, beef, pancetta, wine, port and porcini soaking liquid, season well. Bring to the boil and then place in the oven for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, add chestnuts and place back in oven for another 1 hour until beef is meltingly tender.
In a small bowl, mash together the remaining 25g flour with the remaining butter, softened, using a fork to make a paste. Bring the stew to a simmer on the stove, then stir in the paste, bring back to a simmer and cook out to thicken juices.