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Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

We don’t cook roast beef too often, because we’re lucky enough to have good friends who do! However we liked the look of this one as it all cooks in one pot and so thought we’d give it a go. It’s a very forgiving dish to cook – easy to get right and with loads of veg cooked in the same dish. Some greens on the side is all you need.

Wine Suggestion: A good, honest Bordeaux blend is what works here. For us it was the Chateau Monconseil Gazin from Blaye which always over-delivers in panache and lovely fruit for the value pricing.

Pot-roast beef – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 shallots, peeled
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 400g baby potatoes, halved
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1kg silverside or beef topside, extra fat removed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150ml red wine
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 1-2 tsp redcurrant jelly

Preheat the oven to 160C/Fan 140C/Gas 3.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish with a lid. Add the shallots, celery, carrots and potatoes. Cook over a high heat until everything is starting to brown, then remove from the dish with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Mix the mustard powder with salt and pepper, then use this to dust the beef. Add the beef to the casserole and brown on all sides, you can add a little more oil if needed.

Arrange the browned vegetables around the beef, then add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil and allow to bubble for a few minutes, then add the stock and bring to the boil again.

Cover the dish with the lid and place in the oven to 2 hours, turning the beef over halfway through. Remove the beef from the oven and check that it’s tender, then transfer the beef and vegetables to a warm platter and cover loosely with foil.

Knead the butter and flour together to make a paste, then whisk this into the cooking liquid, a little at a time, until thickened. Taste for seasoning, then stir in the redcurrant jelly, to taste. Serve the gravy with the meat and vegetables.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ One Pot Wonders by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials 2019.)

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We were initially attracted to this as it is marinated in Riesling, a favoured grape in our house, plus the unusual combination of three meats plus bacon. Classically country French in style, this has no airs or graces in appearance, but is jam packed full of flavour and richness. It serves loads of people and we’d suggest having a side of greens. Also, like many other long cooked stews this tastes great the following day and freezes well.

Wine Suggestion: Courtesy of a very generous friend who came to dinner, we were treated to a delightful comparison of two old bottles of Rene Rostaing’s Côte Rôtie: the La Landonne and Côte Blonde. Both an excellent match to the dish and lovely wines. The Côte Blond was the favoured bottle, but both showed very well. We’d recommend searching for a good Syrah if something of this calibre doesn’t come to hand. Thanks David for these bottles!

Alsatian beef, lamb and pork stew – serves 8-10

  • 750g boneless pork belly, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 750g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 750g chuck steak, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 250g carrots, sliced
  • 2 leeks, cut in half lengthways, washed and sliced
  • 500ml Sylvaner or Riesling white wine
  • 2 kg potatoes, sliced into 5mm thick rounds
  • 100g unsmoked bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 250ml beef stock
  • a handful of flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish

Place all of the meat (but not the bacon), onions, carrots and leeks in a large non-metallic bowl and pour over the wine. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

Heat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C.

Arrange a quarter of the sliced potatoes over the base of a very large casserole dish.

Drain the meat and veg in a colander over a bowl and reserve the liquid.

Scatter some veg over the potatoes, then add som bacon pieces and chunks of meat. Season with salt and black pepper, then add another layer of potato, more veg, bacon, meat and seasoning. Keep layering like this and finsih with a final layer of potatoes. Don’t be tempted to hold back on the salt as the dish needs liberal seasoning (about 2tsp in total).

Pour over the reserved marinade juices and beef stock, then cover the casserole with a tight lid and put in the oven.

Bake for about 3 hours or until the meat is tender. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Secret France, BBC Books, 2019.)

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This is a tasty weeknight option, and healthy too. We used just green peppers but a green and a red would look nice. Serve over brown rice.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a savoury wine balanced by youthful, juicy fruit like Martin Korrell’s Weisser Burgunder (Pinot Blanc). Joyfully frivolous and deep at the same time.

Black pepper beef stir-fry – serves 2 (generously)

  • 300g rump steak, trimmed of fat and sliced thinly, about 5mm
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 5cm piece of ginger, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

FOR THE MARINADE:

  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper

TO SERVE:

  • steamed brown basmati
  • 2 scallions, green part only, finely sliced

Combine all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl and season with a good pinch of sea salt. Add the steak and toss to coat in the marinade, then leave aside for a few minutes.

Put your wok over a high heat until smoking hot. Add a splash of vegetable oil followed by half the beef. Stir-fry quickly for 1-2 minute, then remove to a plate. Add another splash of oil if you need, then repeat with the rest of the meat.

Put the wok back over a high heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the peppers and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Mix the cornflour to a paste with 2 tbsp water.

Add the oyster and soy sauces, shaoxing wine and black pepper to the wok and stir. Return the beef to the wok with any pan juices, then stir in the cornflour paste and stir-fry for another minute or until the sauce is thickened and the beef warmed through.

Divide the rice between warm bowls, top with the stir-fry and scatter with the scallions.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight & Get Fit by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury, 2019.)

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This couldn’t be easier and it’s perfect for a Friday night. We used the curry paste from this recipe but you can use a good quality shop-bought version either. Serve with sticky rice and salad.

Wine Suggestion: we often turn to aromatic wines for Thai food and for this dish was no different as we chose the Korrell Slice of Paradise Riesling. A dry Riesling from the Nahe in Germany this is the youthful cuvée from the more regal Paradies vineyard Martin Korrell makes. Standing up to the earthy and rich peanuts and cutting through the rich coconut milk this is always a joy to drink, let alone pair with food. Light and refreshing, and yet powerful enough to work with meat and complex flavours – we love the versatility this lends.

Panang Beef Balls – serves 4

  • 500g beef mince
  • 60g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oi
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil or mint, to garnish

Roll the beef mince into small round balls, about 2.5 cm.

Roll the balls in flour and dust of the excess.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the meatballs until brown, keep tilting the pan so they brown evenly. Remove and set aside on kitchen paper.

Add the curry paste to the wok and stir-fry for a few minutes over a low heat.

Stir in the coconut milk, the fish sauce, peanut butter and sugar. Taste the sauce and add extra fish sauce or sugar if needed.

Put the beef balls back into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Garnish with chopped basil.

(Original recipe from Thai Cooking Class by Sami Anuntra Miller & Patricia Lake.)

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For our wedding anniversary this year we barbecued a whole rib of beef on the bone: consider it a super-rib eye steak. With the bone attached this is much harder to do completely on the barbecue (but not impossible). There is also an easier way if you finish the steak in the oven, which helps to to control the doneness while still getting the lovely barbecue char and flavours.

Wine Suggestion: Given the occasion we opened a bottle of Domaine de Chevalier Rouge 2009 from Pessac Leognan. A great vintage with fleshy fruit that at 12 years of age was singing very expressively. Super elegant and refined fruits, perfumed with that slight pencil edge that characterises the appellation and silky tannins that were both powerful and gentle in equal measure. Definitely powerful enough to stand next to the robust steak and then elevate the sum to another level. Well worth cellaring.

Rib of beef with wild mushroom butter – serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g mixed wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp Madeira
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp white truffle oil (optional)
  • 100g butter, diced and softened
  • 1 rib of beef on the bone

First, make the butter. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms with the shallots and garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes or until cooked through but not coloured.

Add the Madeira, cream and herbs to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste and stir in the truffle oil if using. Leave to cool completely.

Put the butter and cooled mushroom mixture into a food processor and purée until smooth. Scrape out onto a piece of non-stick baking paper, then roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends to secure. Chill for at least 2 hours, until hardened.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.

Take your steak out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes to come up to room temperature. Season at this stage too.

Cook over the direct heat on your barbecue for 8-10 minutes, turning to make sure all sides are well browned with a little charring.

Place the barbecued steak onto a preheated ovenproof pan, and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes and until done to your liking.

We used a meat thermometer to judge doneness and removed the steak at 55C. While we like our steaks on the rare side we find that medium-rare to medium works best when cooking a rib on the bone. This ensures all the juicy fats are rendered properly. If you’d like it a little rarer cook to 52C. Remember that the steak keeps on cooking while resting too.

When your steak is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and sit it on a rack set over a tray. Cut the butter into slices and arrange on top of the steak. Set aside to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving the steak from the bone and slicing. Serve with the buttery mushrooms spooned over.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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For many years we didn’t buy Polpo by Russell Norman. It has a fancy binding and was always wrapped in plastic in the bookshop, so there was no way to have a flick. We can’t remember now what made us take the plunge, but we’re so glad we did. We’ve cooked many of the recipes and recently took this book off the shelf again and cooked a few more, finishing with this steak dish. You probably don’t need Italian roast potatoes with rosemary as a side but we couldn’t resist.

Wine Suggestion: A kind birthday gift from our friends Nicola and Dave was a wine we knew nothing about, the Iuli Umberta and opening it to try with this dish was a revelation. From the Monferrato hills east of Turin, this Barbera is so full of energy and layered with subtle flavours and gentle spice; so easy and refreshing.

Flank steak with portobello mushrooms – serves 4

  • 800g flank steak, about 5cm thick
  • 4 handfuls of rocket leaves
  • 8 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 small handful of flat parsley leaves, chopped

Season the meat with plenty of salt and pepper.

We cooked ours on a hot barbecue but if you prefer you can oil a griddle pan and heat until hot, then grill the steak on both sides. 10-12 minutes in total should give you a medium-cooked steak. Leave it to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dress the rocket leaves in some good olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide the rocket between the serving plates or you can put it onto one large platter.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan with the garlic and most of the parsley. Add the mushrooms and fry until soft and glossy, then set aside. We like to season these a little too.

When the meat has rested, sliced it thinly. Lay the steak on top of the rocket, then scatter with the mushrooms and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and the rest of the parsley.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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You can’t beat a steak sandwich and this one is super spicy and extra tasty! It certainly brightened up an otherwise uneventful Saturday for us. 

Bulgogi cheese steak sandwich – serves 4

  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ pear, peeled and cubed
  • 2 sirloin steaks, trimmed of fat and very finely sliced (this is easier if you freeze for 20 minute before slicing)
  • 1 baguette, cut into 4
  • mild cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • sesame seeds

Mix the ginger, garlic, sugar, gochujang, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar together in a large bowl, then mash in the pear. Add the steak and leave to marinate for an hour. 

Halve the pieces of baguettte and add a layer of cheese. 

Heat a wok over a high heat. Add the beef and marinade, bring to a simmer and stir until the meat is cooked through. 

Spoon the meat into the baguettes and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds. 

(Original recipe from Lulu Grimes and Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, January 2016.)

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This will clear the sinuses and it’s delicious too. Nice and easy, tasty, and very handy for midweek.

Beef Phở – serves 2

  • 750ml strong beef stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 red chillies, sliced
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • a bunch of scallions, sliced
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 100g flat rice noodles
  • 200g fillet steak, thinly sliced
  • a handful of beansprouts
  • coriander leaves
  • lime wedges
  • hoisin sauce
  • sriracha sauce

Bring the stock, garlic, ginger, half the chilli, star anise, cinnamon and half the scallions to the boil for 15 minutes. Strain and discard the solids, then bring back to the boil. Season with the fish sauce.

Meanwhile, pour a kettle of boiling water over the noodles and leave to soak for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse.

Divide the noodles between warm bowls. Add the steak and beansprouts to the simmering stock and remove from the heat, they will cook in the residual heat. Spoon over the noodles and add the rest of the scallions, chilli, some coriander and lime wedges. Serve with hoisin and sriracha.

(Original recipe by Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, Christmas 2015.)

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Growing up in Northern Ireland Jules often had mince and potatoes for dinner. The “mince” was minced beef with carrot and onions in gravy and it was served with boiled potatoes. We saw this recipe recently in a book of ‘British Classics’ where it was served with dumplings. Dumplings definitely did not feature on Jules’ childhood dinner table, so we left these out and served it with champ. A huge hit with the 7 year old and much more economical than many of our other weekend recipes.

Wine Suggestion: Keep it simple and choose a Grenache & Syrah blend like a Côtes du Rhône or similar. Rich enough but generally easy drinking with lovely bramble and spice flavours. Our current “find” is Jean-Paul Daumen’s version which balances this ease with a good dollop of class.

Mince – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp veg oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 450ml beef stock
  • a pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for 15 minutes or until softened and lightly browned.

Add the beef mince and cook for another 5 minutes, until it starts to brown. Break the mince up with a wooden spoon as it browns.

Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, sugar and bay leaf. Season with salt and black pepper, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with a lid if it reduces too much but you want it to be nicely thickened.

Serve with green veg and potatoes.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ British Classics by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2018.)

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We ate this in those funny days between Christmas and New Year when you’re fed up eating but still feel you need to make the most of the time you have to cook. We’d had enough of leftovers and were craving spicy food, like this spicy beef stew, which is more like a soup, but with lots of sustenance. The recipe is from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo, probably our most used book this year. Serve with some sticky rice.

Spicy beef & vegetable stew – serves 4

  • 400g beef brisket
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 10 cloves of garlic, 6 left whole and 4 crushed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 150g shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • 3 tbsp gochugaru red pepper powder
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 10 scallions, halved lengthways, then cut into 6cm strips
  • cooked rice, to serve

Put the brisket into a large pot and cover with 3 litres of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and add the onion and 6 whole garlic cloves. Simmer for 2 hours with the lid off, remove any scum that comes to the top and add water as needed to ensure the beef is submerged.

Transfer the brisket to a plate and set aside to cool. Strain the stock through a sieve into a jug, and discard the flavouring ingredients. When the brisket is cool enough to handle, tear it into bite-sized pieces, discarding any fat.

In the same pan, heat the vegetable oil over a medium heat, then add the mushrooms and leek and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the beef, soy sauce, crushed garlic, sesame seed oil and gochugaru powder. Turn up the heat and fry for a couple of minutes until aromatic. Pour 1.3 litres of the beef stock into the pan (freeze the rest for another dish). Add the salt and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat a  bit and add the scallions. Simmer for 3 minutes, then serve in bowls with some rice if you like.

(Original recipe from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015.)

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We had to try this idea from Gill Meller’s book Gather in order to use some dulse flakes from Aran Islands Seaweed. The dulse flakes give a smoky umami flavour to the dish. It takes a while in the oven but it otherwise very simple and tastes even better if made in advance, as stews often do. We served with creamy mash, cabbage and turnip for a hearty Sunday lunch.

Wine Suggestion: A dish that needs a suitably rich red wine to match; one where the rich fruit has high levels of anthocyanins and phenols in a ripe framework. The Altosur Malbec from Tuppangato (the highest part of the Mendoza area) in Argentina came out of the rack and its blackberry, blueberry and plum flavours with brambly, rich tannins was an ample choice.

Beef shin with dulce – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 800g beef shin, sliced thickly
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • ½ a glass of red wine
  • 2-3 tsp powdered smoked dulse (we used dulse flakes, see note above)
  • 300ml chicken stock or water

Heat the oven to 120C/Gas 1.

Heat the oil in a heavy flameproof casserole. Season the beef shin well with salt and pepper, then brown on all sides until it takes on a really-good colour all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, celery and thyme and cook gently over a low heat until the onions are soft but not coloured. Return the meat the pan, then add the wine, dulse and stock or water and bring to a gentle simmer.

Cover the casserole with a lid and place in the oven for 4-5 hours, or until the meat falls apart easily. Season to taste and leave to rest for 25 minutes before serving with mash and other veg.

(Original recipe from Gather by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2016.)

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We cooked this for dinner on Halloween, you need a good eating pumpkin, like Crown Prince, rather than a carving pumpkin. The oxtail is a bit of a fiddle but it’s worth it and you can do all the fiddly bits well in advance. The result is fabulously rich and tasty.

Wine Suggestion: to cut through the richness you need a red with both a bit of acidity and tannins and a favourite of ours for this purpose is Chianti. Tonight the Pian del Ciampolo from Montevertine in the Chianti Classico region who have stepped outside the system but still use the classic grapes for the appellation. Young and joyful but with a serious backbone and a good match for the dish.

Oxtail stew with pumpkin and cinnamon – serves 6

  • 2kg oxtail pieces
  • 200g shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary
  • zest of ½ an orange, peeled into long strips
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 500g pumpkin, cut into 2.5 cm cubes (you could use butternut squash but try and get pumpkin if you can)
  • 300ml water

FOR THE GREMOLATA

  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
  • grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Heat a large heavy-based pan over a high heat, it needs to be big enough to hold the whole stew later, and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is smoking hot add some oxtail pieces and fry until well browned on all sides. You will need to do this in batches and don’t put too many in at once or they will start to stew rather than fry. Transfer the browned pieces to a colander so the excess fat can drain off.

If there is a lot of fat in the pan, tip some of it off, then add the shallots, carrots and garlic. Cook these over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Add the wine to the pan and scrape the base with a wooden spoon to get any crusty tasty bits off the bottom. Bring to the boil and simmer until almost evaporated, then add the tomatoes. Tie the thyme and rosemary sprigs together and add to the sauce, then add the orange zest, bay leaves, cinnamon, star anise, black pepper and some salt. Transfer the sauce to a deep baking dish or roasting tray big enough to take the oxtail in a single layer. Set the oxtail pieces on top. Put a sheet of baking parchment directly over the oxtail, then cover with a tight-fitting lid or a couple of layers of tinfoil, then bake for 2-3 hours or until the meat comes away easily from the bone.

Lift the oxtail out of the sauce and into a large bowl, then leave to cool slightly. When it’s cool enough to handle, pick all the meat from the bones and put into the heavy-based pan that you used to brown it in, discard the fatty bits and the bones. Add the sauce from the baking tray to the meat along with the pumpkin cubes and the 300ml of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Season to taste.

To make the gremolata, mix the parsley, lemon zest and garlic together. Transfer the stew to a serving bowl and sprinkle the gremolata on top.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi the Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2008.)

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Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo has been on our bookshelves for ages. We take it down occasionally and remind ourselves that we should really go and get some Korean ingredients. At last we have bought gochujang chilli paste, gochugaru red pepper powder and a big bottle of roasted sesame seed oil, so we can get cooking. This beef dish could not be simpler and the flavours are fab.

Wine Suggestion: as we’re pretty new to Korean flavours we had no idea what to match and just opened what our guests had brought along; the Olianas Cannonau (Grenache) from Sardinia. A lovely wine which was both subtle and elegant, and heady with spice and warm sunshine; very well balanced. Plus it was a delight with the Bulgogi stew.

Korean Beef & Vegetable Stew – bulgogi jeongol – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 quantity marinated beef, see below
  • 100g rice noodles
  • 1 litre good quality beef stock
  • 1 tbsp gochujang chill paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ an onion, finely sliced
  • ½ a red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • ½ a courgette, halved lengthways and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 large carrot, halved lengthways and sliced into thin strips
  • 50g enoki or shitake mushrooms
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

FOR THE MARINATED BEEF:

  • 450g beef sirloin, cut into very thin bite-size pieces
  • 1 Asian or 2 regular pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • ¼ onion, roughly chopped
  • 1cm piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2½ tbsp soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 1½ tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Start by marinading the beef. Put all of the ingredients, except the beef, into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Pour into a bowl then stir in the sliced beef. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Soak the noodles in a bowl of water according to the instructions on the pack, about 30 minutes.

Put the beef stock, gochujang paste, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and garlic into a pan and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, arrange the onion, red pepper, courgette, carrot, mushrooms, and most of the scallions in a pile around the edge of a large pot with a lid, and put the raw marinated bulgogi in the middle. Drain the noodles and tuck these in beside the beef.

When the beef stock has come to a rolling boil, put the vegetable pan over a high heat and pour in the hot stock. Cover and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is cooked through.

Just before serving, mix it all together in the pan and sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds and remaining scallions.

(Original recipe from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2015.)

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Feather Blade Braised in Port

Feather blade is such a good value cut of meat and delicious when cooked low and slow. A great dish for the colder months. Serve with potato, onion & horseradish potatoes and some greens. You can make this in advance and reheat before serving.

Wine suggestion: As this is cooked with Port we’d suggest a dry and full-bodied red wine from Portugal if you can find it. As we’d used Quinta de la Rosa’s Ruby Port for this idish it was approriate to drink their Tinto

Feather Blade Braised in Port – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 feather blade steaks (about 200g each)
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, bashed
  • 2 carrots, halved crossways
  • a bunch of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 star anise
  • 6 white peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 300ml port
  • 1.2 litres of beef stock
  • a little flour to thicken the sauce if you like

Preheat the oven to 140C/120 fan/gas 1.

Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof, casserole dish. Season the steaks with salt, then sear in the oil until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Do this in batches if you need so the pan isn’t overcrowded. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, carrots, leek, a small handful of the thyme, bay leaves, start anise and peppercorns and fry for 10-15 minutes or until lightly caramelised. Add the tomato purée and port and simmer for 15 minutes or until the port is reduced and syrupy. Add the beef stock and bing to a gentle simmer. Return the meat and any juices to the pan, then cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

Gently remove the steaks from the pan, then strain the sauce into a clean saucepan (discard the veg). Bring the sauce to a fast boil and reduced by about half. We thickened the sauce a little with some flour too but you don’t have to do this. Put the meat in the casserole dish to keep warm while you reduce the sauce. To serve, pour the reduced sauce over the meat in the casserole dish and cover with the lid. Bring to a simmer over a low heat, check the seasoning, then serve.

(Original recipe from Marcus Everyday by Marcus Wareing, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2019.)

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Steak Diane

Remember this!?!?

We’re not sure if we’ve definitely had it before but remember it on every restaurant menu when we were kids and it has ingredients we’d choose. However, we were probably opting for the Chicken Maryland or something just as classy! It tastes reminiscent of those old fashioned dishes you still get in French restaurants. Bring it back we say – it’s absolutely delicious and you get to flambé, which is always very exciting! We served this with a rib-eye steak cooked rare on the barbecue, but it’s up to you for cut and doneness. Some watercress or other greens work for a side too.

Wine Suggestion: It was a special occasion for us so we raided the our dwindling cellar and chose a classic Bordeaux, the Chateau Haut Bages Averous 2005. Even if this isn’t to hand we’d suggest a Cabernet dominant blend and you’ll be happy.

Sauce Diane – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 150g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 120ml brandy
  • 150ml white wine
  • 150ml beef stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • a good pinch of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Heat a large sauté pan and heat the olive oil and the butter until foaming. Add the shallot and mushroom and cook for a few minutes to soften.

Pour over the brandy, then light the pan with a match and allow the flames to subside. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Stir in the stock, cream, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened to a sauce consistency. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice.

(Original recipe from Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook, Gill Books, 2016.)

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Hanger Steak with Shallots

We adore this cut of beef but it’s not always easy to get in Irish butchers. Talk to your butcher in advance and tell them you want a piece of onglet or hanger steak – they should be able to order it for you, and it’s much cheaper than some other cuts.

We cut this across the grain and it’s meltingly tender so you can be brave and serve “blue” like we did here, but it also works well at your choice of doneness if you prefer.

Wine Suggestion: we think this combination of meltingly tender beef and the buttery shallots in red wine goes with Rhône reds – Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre et al; either as a blend or Syrah alone. Tonight we had one of those insider wines, a Côtes du Rhône labelled under Jean-Paul Daumen’s name. He’s the owner-winemaker at Domaine de la Vieille Julienne, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a superb domaine with an enviable reputation. The wines under his name are from a mix of vineyards from the estate and friends, all farmed organically and biodynamically by Jean-Paul and made with just as much care as his own domaine. The result … great value and a delicious pairing.

Hanger Steak with Shallots – L’onglet à l’échalote – serves 4

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 800g onglet/hanger steak (you will probably get 2 long pieces)
  • 250g shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 125ml red wine
  • 100ml beef stock
  • watercress, to garnish

As soon as you get home from the butchers put your steak into a dish and sprinkle generously with salt. Then put in the fridge until you need it but take it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to cook it.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Add a knob of the butter and when it starts to melt add your steak. You might have to cook it in batches depending on the size of your pan. A rough guide is to cook for about 2 minutes on each side for very rare steak or longer if you prefer it more well done. This is dependent on the size of the steak, so you should do the finger test on the meat and go with gut feel. Put the steak onto a warm plate, cover with foil and keep warm while it rests.

Melt half of the remaining butter in the same frying pan and add the shallots, thyme and bay leaf. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the red wine and the stock, turn the heat up to high and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Season with salt and lots of black pepper, throw away the herbs. Pour the meat juices from the resting plate into the sauce and whisk in the remaining butter to make a thick, glossy sauce.

Slice the steak across the grain into thick slices and serve on top of the shallots with some watercress on the side.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Secret France, BBC Books, 2019.)

To do the finger test for steak you compare the resistance of the cooking meat to pressing the ball of your palm with a finger from the other hand

  • Blue: an open palm, relaxed
  • Rare: thumb and your first, index finger touching
  • Medium Rare: thumb and second finger
  • Medium: thumb and third, ring finger
  • Well Done: thumb and fourth, little finger

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Chinese Meatball Stir-fry

This is a diet dish but is packed with flavour and you get a decent bowl full to really fill you up. The recipe is by Tom Kerridge and the ingredient list is long, but it’s easy to put together and other than the fresh veg you probably have most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Chinese Meatball Stir-fry – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 200g carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 300ml fresh beef stock
  • 120g Asian mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 80g mangetout
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce. Leave to cool.

Put the beef mince into a large bowl and add the cooled onions, Chinese five-spice, bicarbonate of soda and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands, then divide into 16 equally sized meatballs. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Put a large non-stick wok/frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a splash of vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, return the wok/frying pan to a high heat. Add the sesame oil, red onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes stirring continually. Add the peppers and cook for 4 minutes, add a dash of the beef stock at any point if things start to stick.

Add the mushrooms, meatballs and half of the beef stock to the pan, then add the hoisin and oyster sauces and the rice wine vinegar. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Mix the cornflour to a paste with 1 tbsp of the remaining beef stock and pout into the pan, along with the rest of the stock.

Add the mangetout and scallions and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the mangetout are just cooked and the meatballs heated through.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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Spiced Roast Beef with Red Wine Gravy

Fillet of beef is not a cut we usually go for but we thought we’d try it as it seems fittingly festive and a bit extravagant. This is a pricey cut but it melts in the mouth and cuts out so beautifully.

Wine Suggestion: This is the type of dish that deserves something extra special to accompany it so we dipped into our cellar to revisit the Chateau Capbern Gasquetton 2009 and while still very youthful was a great match. Other Cabernet Sauvignon wines and blends would be our first choice, but if you’re looking for something different we also think a good cru from Beaujolais, like Domaine Rochette’s Morgon, would go alongside this just as well.

Spiced roast beef with red wine gravy – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp mixed peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1.5kg fillet of beef
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain or English mustard
  • 3 red onions, skins left on, thickly sliced into rounds
  • a few thyme leaves, to serve (only if you have them)

FOR THE GRAVY

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½-2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 3-4 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 400ml red wine

Up to 2 days beforehand you can crush the peppercorns and seeds together using a pestle and mortar. Brush the beef all over with the mustard, then roll in the peppercorn mixture to coat. Cover and chill.

Remove the beef from the fridge 2 hours before you want to start cooking it to allow it to come to room temperature.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Heat the oil in a pan big enough to hold the beef and brown it all over, seasoning with salt.

Scatter the onions over the base of a roasting tin and set the beef on top. Roast for 20 minutes for rare, 25 minutes for medium, and 35 minutes for well-done. You need your instincts a bit here – we like our beef rare but our fillet was kind of fat rather than long and thin and so it took 30 minutes to get it cooked just how we like it. If you have a meat thermometer this is where it excels, and they aren’t expensive so are a very useful addition to any kitchen.

Lift the beef out of the tin and rest on a warm platter, covered with foil, for about 30 minutes.

Put the roasting tin onto the hob and stir in the oil, cornflour and crumbled stock cubes. Stir in the jelly, then gradually add the wine and 400ml boiling water, scraping the sticky bits from the bottom of the tin. Simmer for 15 minutes until reduced a bit. Season, then sieve into a clean pan to keep warm, discard the onions.

Slice the beef, scatter over some thyme leaves (if using) and serve with the gravy.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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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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