December 25, 2023

Ask A Chef: Chef Courtney Burnham Shares His Recipe for a Hearty Gnocchi

Recipe: Courtney Burnham

Q: I had the most fabulous Braised Chuck Flat Gnocchi at The Surly Mermaid in Sidney, B.C. This dish was so good, I want to make it at home. Are you able to get the recipe? — LAURIE, Sooke, B.C.

A: “It’s hard to stop eating this rich, flavorful dish — especially on cold fall or winter nights,” says Courtney with a smile. Adding braised beef to the menu had been on his radar, but he didn’t want to pair it with pappardelle like so many other restaurants do. Inspired by his wife’s favorite food, gnocchi, he came up with a unique version. Together, the beef, red wine and mushrooms create a complex umami flavor, with grape tomatoes added for a fresh hit.



  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs. chuck flat, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup mission figs, halved
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste


  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 red shallots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • Reserved braising liquid
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 15 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp cold butter
  • Shaved Parmesan and chopped chives, for garnish


Yield: Serves 6

Make Beef

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. In medium Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil. Season beef with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear all sides. Take out and set aside.
  2. In same pot with leftover fat and oil, add onions, garlic and carrots, and cook until semi-soft.
  3. Add wine, beef stock, bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, figs, peppercorns and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and place beef back into Dutch oven.
  4. Cover with lid and place pan in centre of preheated oven. Braise for 3 to 4 hours, until beef is very tender. Take beef out of liquid and shred while it’s still warm and set aside. Strain liquid and save for sauce.

Make Gnocchi

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash and poke potatoes with fork, then bake for 1 hour, until centres are soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once cooled, cut potatoes in half and scrape out insides. Using ricer or cheese grater, press potatoes onto clean counter.
  3. Beat egg yolks and pour over potatoes. Sprinkle flour, salt and pepper over egg. Using hands, mix together until just combined.
  4. Dust a little flour onto hands and work surface. Gently knead dough until flour is incorporated and it becomes smooth and soft. Don’t over knead.
  5. Roll dough into log and divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into thin strips and cut strips into 1″ pieces. Roll gnocchi over floured fork or gnocchi board until you’ve made 65 to 75 gnocchi.
  6. Bring large pot of water with 1 tbsp of salt and 2 tbsp of olive oil to a boil. Add gnocchi to pot in 3 to 4 batches, making sure not to overcrowd. Cook each batch of gnocchi until it floats. Scoop out with slotted spoon. Set aside.

Make Sauce

  1. In large saucepan, melt olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté for 5 minutes, using wooden spoon and making sure not to burn.
  2. Add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Deglaze pan with red wine and reduce liquid by half, then pour in reserved braising liquid and reduce by about a quarter. Add heavy cream and bring to a light simmer. Continue to simmer and stir for about 5 minutes to thicken sauce. Stir in grape tomatoes, then add salt and pepper, to taste. While sauce is simmering, stir in cold butter until well blended.
  4. Add shredded beef to simmering sauce until heated, then toss in gnocchi. Spoon into serving dishes and garnish with shaved Parmesan and chives. Enjoy!