Trinchado made simple

The taste and texture of Trinchado takes us back. All the way back to dating, when we would go to Hillside Tavern and have a romantic sepia-coloured dinner. Funny how these memories are candle-lit, fragrant and full of taste. Now we are in our silver marriage year, and part of the start of this wonderful journey was the beautiful Trinchado at Hillside Tavern. We ate starter portions, as we were poor graduates. We had a bottle of cheap wine (not good but tasty, as Koos Kombuis would say), yes, Tassies!

The Hillside Tavern Trinchado was so famous that they are still selling their sauce. And its unbeatable. All these years I tried to copy it, but failed. They have a secret to their sauce which I simply cannot find. But alas, it does not stop me from trying. 

I found this recipe and, by taste, modified it to get close to the taste I remember and love. And I almost have it. So close. 

The trick to this recipe is the steak. Since yonks ago, when I thought that you cook the steak in the sauce, I have learned that you flash-fry it separately to get it so so tender. And that the cubes of meat (I used sirloin – on special at R69 per kg) should never touch each other on the pan. Otherwise they boil and don’t brown. Then you combine the perfect meat with the sauce, heat through and you have beautiful tender beef cubes in the delicious sauce. 

I added tomato sauce and paste to the recipe, as this is what my taste buds remember. You may add more garlic and chili for extra kick. 

Mop it all up with a coarse Ciabatta. ( We bought one at the Boeremark – wood oven baked and as crunchy as rusks). Delicious. 

Easy Trinchado
Serves 6
Trinchado is a hearty Portuguese beef cube dish that is traditionally served as a tapas but makes a wonderful main course. Real winter fair.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
  1. 2 tablespoons Worcester Sauce
  2. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  3. 1 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  4. 3 tablespoons Butter
  5. 3 tablespoons Olive oil
  6. 1,5 kg Cubed beef (I used Sirloin)
  7. 2 large white Onions, chopped
  8. 4 small Hot red chili peppers, stemmed and chopped (retain the seeds)
  9. 8 cloves Garlic, minced
  10. 2 tablespoons corn flour (Maizena)
  11. 1 cup Beef stock
  12. 1 cup Red wine or 1/2 cup brandy
  13. 2 Bay leaves
  14. 1 tablespoon Sugar
  15. 1 75g packet of tomato paste (preferably All Gold)
  16. 2 Tablespoons All Gold tomato sauce
  17. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  18. Bread for dunking
  1. Marinade the beef in a mixture of Worcester sauce and soy sauce for between 30 – 60 minutes. This will ensure that even the tougher cuts of meat are tender once cooked. Rinse marinade off meat before browning.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil. When the butter is melted and sizzling, add about ¼ of the beef and brown well. The cubes must not touch each other!
  3. Remove the beef cubes from saucepan, place in a bowl and set aside to rest. Repeat with the remainder of beef, but in small batches.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil between the batches if needed. Each batch should brown for about 3 minutes – 4 minutes so the juices are sealed within the cubes. Remove the beef cubes.
  5. Reduce heat and add the onions, chili and their seeds, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Sprinkle the flour over the onion/garlic mixture and stir for about 2 minutes or until thick.
  6. Add the stock, balsamic vinegar and red wine (or brandy) and bay leaves. Stir until the sauce thickens and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the marinade juices as well.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste.
  8. Add the beef cubes together with any juices that may be in the bowl.
  9. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes or until beef is warmed through.
  10. Add the Tomato Sauce.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve in bowls with fresh bread rolls.
  1. I added the tomato sauce, as this is what I remember. It may not be traditional, but it adds great taste to the sauce.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver Forums


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