Braised Flat Iron Steak with Parsnip Fondant (Draadjesvlees)

Braised beef is known as “draadjesvlees” in the Netherlands. This literally means “thread meat”, referring to the flaky structure of the meat. Good draadjesvlees should be juicy and tender, not tough and dry. This means braising it over low heat for a long time. One of the most common cuts that is used for this “sucadelappen”, which in the US is called flat iron steak. The difference is that in the Netherlands the tendon is in the middle is left in and after long braising is eaten. The braised tendon looks like candied peel, which is “sucade” in Dutch. Hence the name.

The ‘threads’ in the draadjesvlees are clearly visible

The dish I prepared can be made with or without sous-vide. With sous-vide cooking, a flat iron steak or other types of beef that are usually braised, can be cooked for 24-72 hours at 55-57ºC/131-135ºF to obtain the texture of a tender steak cooked to medium rare. I’ve very rarely used sous-vide to get the texture of a traditional braise. Exceptions have been duck confit and pulled pork. This is the first time I’ve prepared draadjesvlees sous-vide. I cooked it for 5 hours at 88ºC/190ºF. The result was comparable to a good traditional braise on the stovetop. The advantage is that there is less margin of error.

The advantage of cooking the beef sous-vide at 88ºC/190ºF is that that is also a fitting temperature for cooking the potatoes and parsnips sous-vide.

Draadjesvlees is traditionally served with mashed potatoes and vegetables (stamppot). In this case I decided to add a bit of texture and serve mashed potatoes with parsnip fondant. One of the disadvantages of braising beef like this is that quite a bit of the flavor will be out of the beef and into the gravy. That is why you should always eat the gravy as well. It is great both with the meat and with the potatoes and vegetables.


For 2 servings

300 grams (.66 lb) stewing beef cut into steaks, preferably sucadelappen

2 bay leaves

2 Tbsp butter, preferably clarified

125 ml (1/2 cup) red wine

125 ml (1/2 cup) concentrated beef stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper

500 grams (1.1 lbs) potatoes

500 grams (1.1 lbs) parsnips

salt and freshly ground black pepper


4 Tbsp heavy cream


Pat the beef dry and season on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Melt the (clarified) butter and add the beef as soon as the butter is hot.

Brown the beef on both sides over high heat.

Turn off the heat and take the beef out of the pan.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine.

Allow the alcohol to evaporate over medium heat. Scrape all the tasty bits from the bottom with a wooden spatula. Add the bay leaves.

Add the beef stock (mine came from the freezer).

If cooking on the stovetop, return the beef to the pan. Partially cover the pan and braise the beef over very low heat until it is tender, about 3 hours.

If cooking sous-vide, allow the sauce to cool down to room temperature along with the beef.

Once the beef and sauce have cooled down, vacuum seal them together. If you do not own a chamber vacuum sealer, use a ziploc bag and use the water displacement method to evacuate most of the air from the bag. (With the ziploc it is okay to bag them when still warm. When using a chamber vacuum sealer, the meat and sauce should first cool off as the vacuum will lower the boiling point of water as it is.)

Cook sous-vide for 5 hours at 88ºC/190ºF.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Peel the parsnips and the potatoes.

Cut the parsnips into slices of about 1 cm (1/3 inch) thick. Cut the potatoes into chunks.

Season the parsnip slices with salt and pepper on both sides. Season the potatoes with salt.

Vacuum seal the parsnips and potatoes with some butter.

Cook them sous-vide for 1 hour along with the beef at 88ºC/190ºF.

Transfer the potatoes to a food mill along with any juices from the bag. Use the food mill to mash the potatoes.

Add the cream to the mashed potatoes.

Stir in the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and keep warm.

Heat some (clarified) butter in a non-stick frying pan and add the parsnip slices.

Brown them over medium high heat on both sides.

Meanwhile, take the beef out of the sous-vide and pour the sauce from the bag into a container.

Add about 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the sauce to the parnsips.

Cook over medium heat, stirring, to coat the parsnips with the sauce on all sides.

Reduce the remaining sauce over high heat until it is nice and thick. Warm up the steaks in this sauce.

Arrange the steaks on warm plates along with the mashed potatoes and the parsnip fondant.

Wine pairing

Stewed beef is great with a red wine that was ‘stewed’ by the sun, such as Côtes-du-Rhone, Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the South of France, or Salice Salentino from the South of Italy.


15 thoughts on “Braised Flat Iron Steak with Parsnip Fondant (Draadjesvlees)

  1. What a great looking dish, Stefan! I love everything about it! That sauce is and looks gorgeous and the method that you follow is exactly the one I have been taught in one of the most famous cooking school in Milan. And of course you used the clarified butter! 🙂


      1. We don’t have a way to sous vide. Fondant can be found now in the UK but it took awhile to cross the pond. Most people don’t like it but it’s great for making beautiful cakes. Never heard of the veg fondant in the UK. I’ll have to ask my mum and mil about it. Something new!


        1. Oops I’m sorry I confused you with another blogging friend.
          You actually do have a way to sous-vide without being aware of it, as a stockpot, ziploc bags and a thermometer are all you need to do at least some sous-vide recipes. This is only workable for shorter cooking times, so mostly suitable for fish or veggies. Or a meat recipe for which the temperature is not very critical, like the bison I just posted about.


  2. Draadjesvlees, one of my favorites, especially in wintertime! Very nice combinations and presentation. It’s not that easy to create such a beautiful plate using draadjesvlees.

    Most of the time I also use ‘sukade’ and make it old fashion style, like grandma did (yes, it’s on my blog 😉 . But I’m defenitely going to try your variation too!


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