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Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

Thai beef saladMid-week celebrations can be a bit tricky, especially when work and life are busy. This was Jules’ choice for birthday dinner on a Tuesday in November and we would recommend it for a mid-week birthday at any time of year.

Wine Suggestion: We opened something a bit special given the occassion, the Tyler Dierberg Block 5 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara county in California. Despite the umami/savoury, hot/spicy, salty and sweet flavours of the salad this was an excellent match providing layers of excitement and flavour.

Thai Beef Salad – serves 4

  • 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 500g fillet steak

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 3 shallots
  • large handful of Thai basil
  • large handful of coriander
  • large handful of mint

TO SERVE:

  • 5 tbsp roasted unsalted peanuts
    • Roast the peanuts on a baking tray for 8-10 minutes at 190ºC until golden, then tip into a bowl to cool.
  • 3 tbsp fried shallots (see below)
    • Finely slice the shallots and fry in a wok or frying pan, in 5mm to 1cm of oil, over a medium heat, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer onto kitchen paper to cool and crisp up.

To make the dressing: peel and crush the garlic and peel and finely grate the ginger, reserving the juice. Remove the outer leaf of the lemongrass stalk and trim the ends, leaving the tender middle section; very finely chop this. Halve, deseed and finely dice the chilli. Squeeze the juice from the the limes to give 4 tbsp.

Put the lime juice, nam pla and sugar in a large bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic, ginger and its juice, lemongrass and chilli and stir again.

For the salad: halve and very finely slice the shallots. Pick the herb leaves and leave whole.

Heat enough oil to cover the base of a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, then remove and rest for 5 minutes.

Put the raw shallots and herbs into a large bowl. Finely slice the steak across the grain and add to the salad. Add half the dressing and toss to coat everything. Transfer to a serving dish and scatter with the peanuts and fried shallots. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side.

(Original recipe from Leiths How to Cook, Quadrille, 2014.)

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Steak in Porcini Mushroom Sauce

We’re all about mushrooms at this time of year, both dried and fresh, as they have the smell and taste of Autumn. We cooked this when the clocks changed and we got home to a cold house after a long weekend away. Serve with steamed rice or Italian roasties, and some greens if you like.

Wine Suggestion: Luigi Pira makes some really thoughtful and traditional Barolos and his Langhe Nebbiolo is no different; it tastes of Nebbiolo with the tar and roses, firm tannins sit well with the perfectly ripe wine and, with a touch of age, velvety undergrowth characters. An excellent match to both the steak and the mushrooms.

Steak in Porcini Mushroom Sauce – serves 4

  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 450g sirloin steak, cut into ½ cm strips
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 50ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
  • 150g mascarpone cheese

Put the dried porcini in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Season the steak really well with salt and black pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the steak in batches over a hight heat for a maximum minute per side, or until nicely browned but not cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.

Pour another 2 tbsp of oil into the pan and fry the chestnut mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute. Pout in the wine and cook for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain the porcini mushrooms and reserve the liquid. Stir the liquid into the frying pan (leave the last gritty bit behind). Roughly chop the porcini mushrooms and add to the sauce.

Stir in the parsley and mascarpone, then return the meat to the pan. Cook gently for a couple of minutes.

Season to taste and serve with rice or Italian roasties.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

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Bouef Bourgignon

A classic dish for good reason. We’ve tried many versions over the years but always come back this simple recipe. Serve with mash and greens.

Despite the name, we prefer juicier reds for this dish and often veer toward the Rhone or similar. This time it was a Merlot from Chile and as long as the wine is decent you won’t spoil the dish; don’t throw in bad wine as you will notice this.

Wine Suggestion: A Northern Rhone Syrah by Jean-Michel Gerin brought by our guests was a very good match. This was followed by a Grapillon d’Or Gigondas, an equally good match.

Beef Bourguignon – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 750g cubed braising or stewing steak
  • 3 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 9 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved
  • 125g lardons/cubed pancetta
  • 75cl bottle red wine
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 250g button mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/Fan 160C.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole with a lid. Toss the meat in the flour then cook in batches until well browned. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add shallots, garlic and lardons/pancetta and cook for 5 minutes until golden brown. Return all the meat to the pot, pour in the wine and bring to the boil. Stir in the thyme, tomato purée and some seasoning.

Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Add the mushrooms, cover, and return to the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the meat is tender.

(Original recipe by Ainsley Harriott in BBC Good Food Magazine, November 2001.)

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Ultimate Bolognese

We don’t keep much food in the freezer – peas, broad beans and ice cubes mainly. But at this time of year we like to cook bigger quantities of bolognese, chilli & casseroles so there’s always something warming available for the end of the week, when ingredients are running low. This version by Barney Desmazery is not traditional but absolutely flavour-packed and we loved finishing the pasta in the sauce which really brings it all together.

Wine Suggestion: Bolognese and other tomato based ragú worked really well with Sangiovese. Whether you choose a favourite Brunello, like we did, a Chianti, or a non-Italian version the acidity and tannins help with the richness and flavours.

Pasta Bolognese – serves 8 

  • 400g beef mince
  • 400g Italian sausages, skinned and crumbled
  • 200g smoked pancetta
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • small bunch fresh basil, small leaves picked and reserved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • handful dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½  tsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100g Parmesan, grated, rind removed and reserved
  • pasta, to serve

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and crumble in the mince and sausage meat. Cook the mince for a good 30 minutes – it will release a lot of liquid which will evaporate and eventually it will fry in its own fat. If the pan looks a bit dry, drizzle in more olive oil. Towards the end, keep stirring the mince until it starts to crisp and brown.

Heat the oven to 140C/120C/Gas 2.

While the mince is browning, heat another splash of oil in a casserole dish and fry the pancetta for about 5 minutes or until it starts to brown and release its fat, then add the vegetables and herbs and finely crumble over the dried porcini. Cook gently for 5 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Sprinkle over the sugar, then stir in the tomato purée and splash in the fish sauce and vinegar. Simmer down until thickened, then stir through the meat and pour in the milk and tomatoes. Rinse out the tomato tins with the wine and stir into the pan. Season, then nestle in the Parmesan rind. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

When cooked, tip as many portions of the Bolognese as you need into a sauté pan. Cook the pasta until very al dente, then add to the bolognese sauce with a bit of the water and finish cooking in the sauce for 2 minutes. Stir through the Parmesan and a drizzle more olive oil.

Serve the pasta bolognese in bowls with basil and Parmesan.

(Original recipe by Barney Desmazery in BBC Good Food Magazine, September 2017.)

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Italian seared beef

So this is a bit of a treat and yet has very few ingredients and takes very little time to prepare. Hail to that.

Wine Suggestion: fresher and bit more rustic than Bordeaux is Bergerac, into the Dordogne River to the east. The best vineyards are in the Pecharmant AC and have Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot as the dominant varieties. We found some unoaked wines on our last trip from Domaine des Costes, Cuvée Tradition which, while simple, had a joy and juiciness that perfectly complemented the beef, pesto and rocket.

Italian Seared Beef – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan until golden
  • 250g rump steak
  • 2 heaped teaspoons pesto
  • 40g rocket
  • 15g Parmesan cheese

Put a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Cut the fat of the steak, finely chop the fat and put into the hot pan to crisp up. Cut the sinew off the rump and season with salt and black pepper. Put the steak between two sheets of greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin until it is an even thickness of about 1 cm. Scoop out the crispy fat and set aside, then sear the steak in the hot pan for 1 minute per side or until golden but still pink in the middle (as per photo). Remove the steak to a board to rest.

Spread the pesto over a serving plate. Thinly slice the steak at an angle and scatter over the plate. Pile the rocket on top, then scatter over the pine nuts and crispy fat (you don’t have to eat the fat if you would rather not –  we’ll have it!). Mix the resting juices with a tbsp of good olive oil and drizzle over. Shave the Parmesan over to serve.

(Original recipe from 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2017.)

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Chianti-baked Meatballs

These smell delicious even before they go into the oven. Serve with top-quality pasta like our favourite, Martelli from Panzano in Tuscany, or potatoes roasted with rosemary.

Wine Suggestion: naturally this goes with Chianti, but feel free to adventure a bit further if you like as a good Brunello with a bit of age will make this feel a bit special despite the humble ingredients. Don’t use your best wine in the sauce though; we used a nice, but inexpensive Bordeaux which had good fruit and tannin.

Chianti-baked Meatballs – serves 4

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 50g black olives, stoned and chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped parsley

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250ml Chianti (or other red wine)
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • a large handful of basil, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl – the easiest way is to use clean hands. When everything is mixed together really well, wet your hands and roll into small or large meatballs (aim for 12 large meatballs or 20 small ones).

Gently toss the meatballs in 2tbsp of olive oil in an ovenproof shallow casserole or roasting tray. Try to find one that is just big enough to fit the meatballs but not so they are squashed together.

Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, then pour over the wine and turn the meatballs over to make sure they are coated. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar and basil, then cook for another 20-25 minutes or until bubbling and thickened.

Serve with pasta or roast potatoes with rosemary.

(Original recipe by Jo Pratt in BBC Olive Magazine, March 2007.)

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Mustardy Beef

Another successful dish from Jamie Oliver’s ‘5 Ingredients’. Such a clever book with lots of simple dishes and bags of flavour. We served with creamy chive mash and buttered cabbage.

Wine Suggestion: We quite like to have richer, Southern French reds with casseroles, sometimes from the Rhône but this time we opened a Mas Amiel Pur Schist from Rousillon; another find hiding in the corner of the cellar. Rich, warm and at the same time elegant and sophisticated.

Meltin’ Mustardy Beef – serves 6

  • 900g beef shin (get your butcher to remove the bone but take it with you for extra flavour), diced into 5 cm chunks
  • 500g carrots, cut into 5 cm chunks
  • 2 onions, peeled, quartered and broken into petals
  • 120ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard

Heat your oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.

Put a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Toss the beef with lots of black pepper and a good pinch of salt, then dry fry in the hot pan with the bone for about 8 minutes or until nicely browned.

Heat a shallow casserole pan over a high heat. Add the carrots with a tbsp of olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the onions and continue to cook until starting to soften and colour a bit. Add the browned meat, then stir in the Worcestershire sauce and mustard plus 800ml of boiling water from the kettle.

Cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 4 hours or until super tender. Loosen with a splash of water if necessary. Season to taste and serve with mash and greens.

(Original recipe from ‘5 Ingredients’ by Jamie Oliver, Penguin, 2017.)

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