Bavette of Beef with Gratin Dauphinoise & Red Wine and Shallot Sauce

For me, this is the archetypal French bistro dish, yet it is seldom found in the UK and, if it is, it can often be disappointing. There is no big secret, just buy good-quality beef and cook it briefly. It is never going to be as tender as fillet, but the flavour is a knock-out. What is more, it is cheap. However, you do need an extremely good gratin dauphinoise to accompany it. Sautéed shredded spring or winter greens make a colourful addition too.

Recipe Author:
Anthony Demetre
Today's Special
Photography by Simon Wheeler
Reproduced courtesy of Quadrille publishing


Category:  Main Course  - 


For 6 people


  • 100 g butter, plus an extra knob to finish the sauce
  • of vegetable oil
  • 6 bavette (skirt) steaks, each about 200 g
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • small sprig of thyme
  • 10 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 300 ml full-bodied red wine
  • shredded spring or winter greens, to serve (optional)
  • 8 large waxy potatoes, such as Desiree
  • 750 ml double cream
  • 500 ml full-fat milk
  • 15 g salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. puréed or grated garlic, plusone peeled whole clove to rub the pot
  • 20 g butter

Bavette of Beef with Gratin Dauphinoise & Red Wine and Shallot Sauce Directions

  1. First make the gratin dauphinoise. Preheat the oven to 130c / gas
  2.  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into slices about 3mm thick. Quickly rinse them and pat them dry.
  3.  2. In a large saucepan, heat the cream, milk, salt and pepper with the puréed or grated garlic, then toss in the sliced potatoes.
  4.  3. Rub a suitable earthenware or cast-iron pot with the whole garlic clove. Turn the contents of the pan into the pot, dot the butter on the surface and bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, increasing the oven setting to 150c / gas 2 for the last 10 minutes or so. This should glaze the surface; if it does not, finish  off under a hot grill.
  5. About 20 minutes before the gratin will be ready, prepare the steaks.
  6.  4. Heat 60g of butter and a splash of vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Season the steaks and sear in the butter and oil over a high heat until nicely browned on both sides. Tip half of the darkened oil and butter away. Then add the remaining butter with the garlic and thyme, and season again.
  7.  5. Lower the heat a little and cook the steaks for about 4 minutes on each side, basting frequently.
  8.  6. When cooked, lift onto a warmed serving plates and keep warm. Add the shallots to the pan with the red wine, increase the heat and reduce by two-thirds.
  9.  7. Pour in the juice that has seeped from the cooked steaks, add a knob of butter, season to taste and pour over the meat. This is a very simple roasting juice.
  10.  Serve the steaks with the gratin and greens if you are serving them.