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Old Fashioned Braised Steak and Caramelised Onions

Braised steak and onions, a magic old-fashioned British dish, what’s not to love about tender beef and caramelised onions in a rich gravy?

Worcestershire sauce and Marmite give the gravy in this comforting dish a real boost and the aroma whilst it cooks is heavenly!

Braised steak and onions served with mashed potato and peas.

Slowly Cooked Steak in Onion Gravy

I have a thing for old-fashioned dishes and this braised steak and caramelised onions definitely fits into the category of “old school”.

Slowly cooking a tough cut of meat in stock or gravy is a tale as old as time. It always produces beautifully tender results from cuts of meat that need a little more “love”.

It’s a technique that I use in dishes like minted lamb shanks, beer-braised beef cheeks and it is how I cook the oxtail for my old-fashioned British oxtail soup.

This recipe features some properly slowly caramelised onions, they take a while but they add so much to this dish.

The sweetness is balanced with loads of Worcestershire sauce and a touch of marmite.

It all cooks for a couple of hours and all you have to do is sit back and relax and soak up that wonderful aroma!

Close-up braised steak and onions showing the tender juicy meat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is braising steak?

Braising steak is a bit of a catch-all name for a range of cuts of beef that benefit from long slow cooking. It could be anything from leg to chuck and flank to skirt.

I don’t like Marmite, can I omit it?

Yes, you can omit it, but I would urge you to try it in gravy at least once. I really do not like Marmite spread on toast however, in gravy-style sauces, it is a magical ingredient.

It doesn’t add that divisive Marmite flavour, it adds a deep umami flavour that works so well with the Worcestershire sauce in this recipe.

Don’t worry about having loads left over, you can stir a teaspoon or half of a teaspoon into any gravy to give it a lift. I also use it in recipes like my savoury mince beef, mince and dumplings and sausage and mash pie.

Can I cook this in a slow cooker?

Yes, I tend not to cook it in a slow cooker because the onions really do need that hour or so to caramelise properly.

In my head, it then makes much more sense to keep going in the same pan and throw it in the oven. But you can deglaze the pot and transfer the onions and stock to the slow cooker.

Then sear the beef, pop it into the slow cooker and cook it on low for 5-6 hours. I would use a small slow cooker (3-4 litres) for a recipe of this size.

Overhead braised steak and onions served with mashed potato and peas.

Serving Suggestions

Braised steak and onions has a wonderful affinity with mash, the obvious choice is mashed potatoes, but it also works really well with swede and carrot mash and celeriac mash.

If mash ain’t your thing, then how about some crispy spuds? This recipe is awesome with some crispy fried potatoes, straw potatoes, or even some air fryer chips.

Next up you need some greens, I usually keep it simple with some garden peas.

Other great alternatives include buttered cabbage, roasted tenderstem broccoli, and green beans amandine.

Finally, grab a slice of bread to mop up the last of that beautiful rich gravy!

Close-up braised steak and onions served with mashed potato and peas.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Oven.
  • 24cm or 10″ heavy-based saucepan with a lid.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Stirring and serving spoons or kitchen tongs.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Braised steak and caramalised onions in a rich gravy served with mashed potatoes and peas.
Yield: 2 Servings

Braised steak and Onions Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

Braised steak and onions is an old school simple British dish that rocks slow cooked beef in an onion gravy, my version livens up that gravy with Worcestershire sauce and Marmite.

Ingredients

  • 500g (3⅓ Cups) Onions
  • 35g (2 Tbsp) Butter
  • 375ml (1½ Cups) Beef Stock
  • 1 Tsp Marmite
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 375g (13oz) Braising Steak
  • ¼ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Flour
  • 50ml (3 Tbsp) Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil

Instructions

  1. Cut the onions in half and peel them, then cut them into half-moon shapes around 1cm (½") thick.
  2. Heat a 24cm or 10" saucepan, not nonstick if possible, over a medium heat and the butter and when it melts add the onions, then cook stirring regularly until they begin to soften down, this will take around 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook on for another 50-60 minutes stirring every 8-10 minutes. Once you get to the last 15-20 minutes you will need to keep an eye on the onions as they will go from a nice golden colour to burnt really quickly!
  3. When the onions are nicely coloured pour in the beef stock, stir in the marmite and add the thyme and bay leaf. Give everything a stir paying attention to the bottom of the pan removing any of that lovely sticky residue.
  4. Season the braising steak with salt and pepper, then dredge it with the flour.
  5. Heat a second 30cm or 12" frying pan over a high heat and when it is hot add the cooking oil, then sear the seasoned beef until nicely coloured.
  6. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce and reduce it by half, then transfer the beef and Worcestershire sauce to the onions, submerge them in the gravy then add a lid. Transfer to the oven and cook for 90 minutes-2 hours at 170°C or 340°F.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 754Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 195mgSodium: 966mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 16gProtein: 51g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Trish

Monday 3rd of June 2024

Step 4 and have me confused. Is the steak fried in one pan then seared in the other? Looking forward to this meal!

Brian Jones

Sunday 23rd of June 2024

Hi Trish, it would seem that I made a bit of an editing error there, I've fixed it up so that it makes sense. I'd run instruction 4 on further than I should and part of it repeated in part 5.

Hopefully that makes things much clearer, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Brian

Gill (soft g) Nelson

Thursday 28th of December 2023

I made this recipe two nights ago and it is the most scrumptious meal I have eaten in sometime. Tonight is my last of the meal and it will be a regular on my list of favourites now! I used Vegemite instead of Marmite - heaven! Sorry marmite lovers but it is a cultural, taste bud issue! This recipe is HIGHLY recommended.

Brian Jones

Sunday 31st of December 2023

I reckon you'd struggle to pick out the difference between Marmite and Vegemite in this recipe, it's there to provide an umami back note, I use it lots of my "gravy" recipes... but I honestly can't stand either of them as a standalone flavour ;)

Gina Strauch

Wednesday 22nd of November 2023

I made this last night, using caribou instead of beef because that's what I had (yeh, I know, I know) and it was very nice indeed, Marmite is a fine addition to many gravies. I served this with a cauliflower and sweet potato gratin. Mash would have worked better, but I wanted to give the casserole recipe a try.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Glad you enjoyed it Gina :)

Linda

Thursday 16th of November 2023

Hi Brian, I have been making some of your recipes for a while now with much success.

I was not able to find marmite in the small grocery I have available to me without going a little farther afield but I was wondering if horseradish would give the gravy a little kick or perhaps just a touch of anchovy paste ? What do you think ?

Pat Cooper

Monday 20th of November 2023

@Linda, you can get Marmite from Amazon.

Brian Jones

Thursday 16th of November 2023

Hi Linda...

Both would add something a little different to the "mix" and I can see the merit of both although I am personally not keen on Horseradish, neither will do quite the same thing as Marmite though. Anchovy paste will double down on the savoury elements of the Worcestershire sauce, but tread carefully, it is very pokey, where as horseradish would add to the "spice" elements of the Worcestershire sauce.

Have a play and please let me know how your experiments go, I would likely go with anchovy paste, I add anchovies to lots of my stew recipes and love the meaty "umami" flavour that they add :)

Enjoy...

Brian

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