Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Mum’s braising steaks


Serves four:

  • 4 braising steaks
  • pepper, salt
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 leek
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 200 ml water
  • cornflour
  • potatoes to taste
  • 500 g French beans
  • butter, grated nutmeg

Lapjes van Moeke. At the beginning of last century a Dutch country girl, who always had to eat mash,  sighed:  ‘If I were a queen I would eat  French beans with potatoes and sauce every day’. And I know families who did! With cauliflower the fat green bean is the most eaten vegetable in the Netherlands. Combined with braising steak it is a Sunday dish. A good Dutch house wife has to know how to stew the meat until it is soft as butter.

Dutch beef is traditionally very lean. Not out of modern fat anxiety – Mum always braised her steaks in pounds of good butter –  but because it is milk cattle.

  • Rub the meat with pepper and salt.
  • Heat the butter in a skillet until it is hot and thoroughly brown the meat on both sides. Add the sliced leek at the last moment, fry very lightly without browning. Dissolve the remainder in the pan with the water. Add bay leaf and cloves. Cover and allow to simmer very gently for about two to three hours, or until very soft, while turning every half hour.
  • If wished you may thicken the gravy with some cornflour. Serve in a warm shallow dish.
  • Boil potatoes in water for 20 minutes, drain. Ladle in serving dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Keep warm
  • In the mean time string the beans. Cook until just done in open pan ( approx. 15 minutes). Drain, shake with butter, sprinkle with nutmeg. Bring over in serving dish, keep warm.


  • Formerly ½ tablespoon of vinegar was added to the water. Modern mothers often use red wine instead of water.
  • Another way to prepare the beans:
  • Rinse the cooked beans with cold water in a colander. Dice 50 g smoked bacon finely, fry it softly with a small minced onion. Warm the beans in this pan.

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