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Posts Tagged ‘Beef’

Spring Lamb Meatballs with Broad Beans & Courgettes

Totally different flavours going on in this meatball recipe from Honey & Co at Home,  but deliciously tasty. Such a good use for broad beans and anything full of dill is always a hit with us.

Wine Suggestion: try to find a fresh Mediterranean inspired white with a bit of zip. Tonight a Carricante from Gulfi on the southern slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily; a mineral undertone, hints of herbs, fresh grapefruit and almonds. We could almost taste the sunshine.

Spring lamb meatballs with broad beans and courgettes – serves 4

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g lamb mince
  • 250g beef mince
  • 1 tbsp of ground fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • about 10g of dill, chopped
  • about 10g of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder

FOR THE COOKING LIQUID:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek,  trimmed and roughly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 200g broad beans (we used frozen broad beans)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • about 10g of dill, chopped
  • about 10g of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

Mix all of the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Hands are good for this but you might want to wear gloves to avoid yellow nails. Shape into ping-ball sized meatballs, you should get 12-14. Put the meatballs on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil for the cooking liquid in a large pot and sweat the leeks, garlic and courgettes for 5-6 minutes, then sprinkle with salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broad beans, bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Tip in the seared meatballs with any juices from the tray. Add 500ml of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low, add the chopped herbs and cover the pan. Simmer for 40 minutes, then serve.

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. At Home by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Pavillion, 2018.)

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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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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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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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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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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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Epic rib-eye steak

New Year’s eve is a night we treasure to eat nice food and open a good bottle of wine; just the two of us (the third still flakes out around 7pm). This year we are glad that Jamie Oliver is back on song with his new book “5 Ingredients”. This was delicious, luxurious and yes –  very few ingredients.

Wine suggestion: from our cellar came a bottle of the Chateau Rayas “Pignan” 2005 which while 12 years old was beautifully youthful, smooth, complex and deep. A 100% grenache from a very particular vineyard this is a remarkable wine that we’re glad to have shared together to begin 2018.

Epic Rib-Eye Steak – serves 4

  • 600g piece of rib-eye steak (ideally about 5 cm thick), fat removed
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 350g mixed mushrooms, tear up any larger ones into bite size chunks
  • 1 x 660g jar of white beans
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Rub the steak all over with a little olive oil, a pinch of salt and some black pepper, then sear on all sides for 10 minutes in total. You’re looking for a nice dark brown on the outside and medium rare in the middle – of course keep cooking if you prefer it more cooked than this. When done, remove to a warm plate and cover with tin foil.

Turn the heat under the pan down to medium. Add the rosemary leaves and crisp up for 30 seconds, then add the garlic and mushrooms with a splash of oil if needed and cook for 8 minutes or until golden.

Pour in the beans and their juice, add the red wine vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes, then season to taste. Sit the steak on top and pour over any juices from the plate. Slice the steak at the table and serve with with a drizzle of your best olive oil.

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

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Chilli with Amazing Smoked Paprika Butter

The base recipe for this chilli is nothing unusual but it becomes much more special with the addition of a delicious smoked paprika butter stirred through at the end. It’s definitely our chilli of the moment! Serve with your choice of the usual chilli accompaniments – baked potatoes/rice, grated cheese, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips….

Wine Suggestion: choice one – a nice, clean lager like Peroni or the Harviestoun Schiehallion, or choice two – a juicy red wine like the Cline Lodi Zinfandel with brambly fruit and soft, spicy tannins.

Chilli minced beef with smoked paprika butter – serves 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or garlic oil (if you have it)
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1kg beef mince
  • 200ml red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins of kidney beans
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (or substitute 2 tsp chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • 500ml strong beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • large handful of chopped coriander, plus extra to serve
  • lime wedges, to serve

FOR THE SMOKED PAPRIKA BUTTER

  • 75g soft butter
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime and juice of ½ lime
  • ½ tsp of sea salt

Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil and cook the onions, celery and garlic over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until softened. Turn up the heat, stir in the mince and fry until browned, breaking it up as you go with a wooden spoon.

Add the red wine and scrape any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil and allow the wine to reduce by half.

Stir in the beans, tomatoes, chilli, cumin, stock, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Season with a teaspoon of sea salt and some black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and cook for at least an hour, stirring now and then. You can add a cup of water if it starts to become too thick. Likewise, if it’s not thick enough, you can simmer without the lid for the last 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the smoked paprika butter by beating the butter together with the smoked paprika, lime zest, lime juice and salt.

Remove the herb sprigs form the chilli then stir through the coriander and the flavoured butter, then allow to sit for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve with coriander and lime wedges over the top.

(Original recipe from Marcus at Home by Marcus Waring, HarperCollins, 2016.)

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Beef Bourguignon Pie whole

Beef Bourguignon Pie whole

One of Jules’ classic dishes that combines Beef Bourguignon with a mash potato top. Old-fashioned in many ways but a great crowd pleaser and you can prep it all in advance. Some veg on the side is all you need for a hearty dinner.

A red Burgundy is not necessary for cooking, rather look for a juicy and easy red. Make sure it is decent though as it will still contribute to the flavours and quality of the dish. Having trialled relatively expensive Burgundy (to really find out!) in dishes like this though, we think it makes the dish unnecessarily expensive without adding anything extra over a decent, juicy, but cheaper red.

Wine Suggestion: If tempted to drink a red Burgundy with this dish, and want to impress, pick a fulsome appellation from the Cote d’Or if you can. Even if you pick a Bourgogne rouge make sure it has class and character as very easy, commercial examples are just a bit bland for the dish. This time we chose a northern Rhône, the J-M Gerin Côte Rôtie Champin de Seigneur which rivals good Burgundy for price but also matches it for aromatic thrill and velvety, earthy core with the same medium weight and great freshness.

Beef Bourguignon Cottage Pie – serves 6

FOR THE BOURGUIGNON BASE:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil/veg oil
  • 200g pack bacon lardons
  • 900g braising steak, cut into 3cm chunks
  • 225g button mushrooms
  • 225g button onions or small shallots, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 600ml red wine
  • 400g tin beef consommé or 400ml of beef stock
  • 1 to 2 tbsp cornflour, loosened with 1-2 tbsp red wine or water

FOR THE MASH TOPPING:

  • 1.5 kg floury potatoes e.g. Maris Piper
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 100ml milk

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the bacon lardons over a high heat until well browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Season the beef, then fry in the bacon fat until coloured. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the cornflour and bacon, and bring to a simmer. Partly cover the pan with a lid and cook for 2-2½ hours or until the beef is tender.

When the beef is cooked, tip the contents of the pan into a colander set over another pan to catch the sauce. Tip the contents of the colander into a large pie or casserole dish along with the reserved bacon. Boil the sauce and season to taste. Thicken with the loosened cornflour until you have a sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Spoon enough of the sauce over the beef to barely cover and loosen it (don’t be tempted to add too much), then stir. You can freeze or refrigerate the sauce and offer it on the side when you serve the pie.

Boil the potatoes until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and replace the lid, then give the pan a good shake to break them up a bit. Add the butter and milk gradually as you mash, then season well.

Spoon the potatoes over the meat and use a knife or spoon to mark a pattern over the top. You can cool the pie at this stage and freeze if you like before baking as below.

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Bake the pie for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until golden. Increase the heat to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 for the final 10 minutes to get it nicely browned on top.

(Original recipe by Gary Rhodes for BBC Good Food Magazine, November 2005.)

Beef Bourguignon Pie

Beef Bourguignon Pie

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Chilli con carne

Oh yes, another chilli recipe. This one is interesting though as it uses braising steak instead of mince. We loved it!

Wine Suggestion: A juicy red with a bit of spice is our choice for this dish especially those with a good dollop of Grenache in them. First choice might be a good Cotes du Rhone, but venturing a bit from the tried and trusted we found a Spanish Garnacha made by Bodegas Monfil. An inexpensive wine from the Cariñena region is Spain with bags of flavour but also open, round and juicy; perfect for a Chilli!

Chilli Con Carne – serves 4

  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 400g braising steak, trimmed and cut into very small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • ½-1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 small square 85% cocoa dark chocolate (optional)
  • tin red kidney beans, drained
  • sour cream, to serve
  • chopped coriander, to serve
  • cooked brown rice, to serve

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a casserole dish over a low heat. Fry the celery and onions over a gentle heat until softened and translucent.

Add the garlic & chilli and fry until the garlic is cooked, then add the cumin and paprika and cook stirring for another 30 seconds. Remove this mixture from the pan and set aside. Add another tbsp of oil to the pan, turn up the heat, and quickly fry the meat in batches to brown it.

Return the onions to the pan and add the tin of tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes up with the back of a spoon. Crumble the stock cube into the tomato tin, fill with water and tip into the pan. Add the chilli flakes and simmer gently for 2 hours, or until thick and glossy, stirring now and then.

Add the chocolate and stir in, then stir in the kidney beans and heat through.

Serve with brown rice, coriander & sour cream.

(Original recipe by Victoria Moore in BBC Olive Magazine, April 2013.)

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Daube of Beef

Daube of Beef

This dish was traditionally cooked in a glazed clay pot. However these have successfully been replaced by cast-iron casseroles, like our favourite oval shaped one from le Creuset. It keeps the heat stable which makes it perfect for the long and slow cooking required for this dish. Very like our Chianti Beef recipe but with a few French touches.

Wine Suggestion: with a nod to the French origins of this dish we’d suggest a good Gigondas from the Rhone to match. With rich brambly fruit, good spicy tannins and a touch of elegant leathery development the Grapillon d’Or Gigondas was immensely enjoyed last time we cooked this, but other GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) blends from around the world would work well too.

Daube of Beef – serves 6

  • 1.2kg shin of beef, cut into large pieces
  • 4 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned
  • oil for frying
  • 200g smoked bacon lardons
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced thickly on a diagonal
  • 4 carrots, sliced thickly on a diagonal
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 750ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 cloves, ground
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 strips of orange peel
  • flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Heat the oven to 150ºC/Fan 130ºC/Gas 2.

Toss the beef in the seasoned flour (we shake them together in a large freezer bag).

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick frying pan and brown the beef in batches before transferring with a slotted spoon to a large casserole dish with a lid. Add the bacon to the frying pan and cook until brown and crispy, then scoop out and add to the casserole with the beef. Cook the onions until golden and caramelised then add these to the beef. Finally fry the carrot and celery until just starting to colour. Add the garlic and cook for a minute then add to the beef. Add a splash of wine to the frying pan to deglaze, stirring to scrape any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan, then tip into the casserole. Add the rest of the wine to the casserole and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tomato purée, cloves, bay leaves and orange peel.

Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 2½ hours or until the meat is very tender – leave the lid off for a while at the end if you want the sauce to thicken to bit. Scatter with the parsley to finish.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in BBC Olive Magazine, September, 2012).

 

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Thai-styled stir-fried minced beef

A tasty mid-week supper full of zip, flavour and freshness. This is low in calories and a very easy way to perk up minced beef.

Thai-style stir-fried minced beef – serves 4

  • 100g broccoli florets, cut very small
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • bunch of scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3cm piece of fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander stalks, plus a handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 400g minced beef
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • steamed rice, to serve

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the broccoli florets for 1 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, coriander stalks, and chilli, and fry for a couple of minutes or until starting to colour.

Add the beef and continue to fry over a  high heat until it is well browned.

Add the broccoli, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime and sugar. Mix well and continue to cook for another couple of minutes or until the broccoli is hot. Stir in the coriander leaves and serve immediately with some steamed rice.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

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Beef shin braised in Chianti

Take a shin of beef and braise it for hours in a bottle of Chianti until it can be carved with a spoon … what’s not to like!

Wine Suggestion: the obvious choice is Chianti but given the richness and depth in the food make sure it is one with a bit of depth; younger, or more basic Chianti is just too light. We tried one by Tenuta Sant’Alfonso which comes from a specific vineyard with clay-rich soils which was opulent and fuller structured. It had licorice, dark cherry and mocha flavours which was a great match.

Tuscan slow-cooked shin of beef with Chianti – serves 6

  • 1kg beef shin, off the bone
  • olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely sliced
  • 6 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 750ml Chianti or other robust red wine
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 150ml beef stock

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Season the meat, then brown in a large casserole with a little olive oil.

Remove the meat and cook the onions, celery, carrot and garlic until softened, adding a bit more oil if needed.

Pour in the wine and bring to the boil before adding the tomato purée, bay leaves & beef stock.

Return the beef to the pan and bring to a simmer.

Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 4 hours or until the meat falls apart.

When ready, pull the meat into chunks and stir through the sauces.

Serve with mash or fresh pappardelle pasta.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, September 2015.)

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Bœuf à la Gardiane

 

Another classic from Elizabeth David, this stew originates in the Gard region of France and is very simple but full of flavour. Elizabeth suggests serving it with rice (a la Camargue) but it also worked well with roast potatoes and rosemary. There won’t be a lot of sauce as it is almost all absorbed by the meat as it cooks but this part of the charm; intensely flavoured, tender beef.

Wine suggestion: This dish would go well with any of the local red wines of the Gard and surrounding southern-French regions (Rhone, Languedoc, etc). Any combination of Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah will work, particularly if they come from older, lower yielding vines and a sensitive hand in the winery. We drank a VdP La Clape from Domaine de Boède, Le Pavillon which is a great value combination of Cinsault and Syrah and which stood up to the flavours and adding it’s own character.

Bœuf à la gardiane – serves 4-5

  • 1kg top rump of beef, cut into small neat cubes approximately 2.5cm square
  • butter and olive oil
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • 1 large glass of full-bodied red wine
  • bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, a little strip of orange peel and a whole garlic clove crushed with the back of a knife but left whole (tie together with thread)
  • 175g stoned black olives

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy based casserole dish and brown the beef in batches.

Warm the brandy in a soup ladle, pour over the meat, then carefully set alight. Shake the pan carefully until the flames go out.

Add the red wine and bubble for 30 seconds before seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Add the bouquet garni, turn the heat down as low as possible and cover the pan with at least two layers of greaseproof paper or foil and the lid.

Cook as gently as possible for about 3½ hours. Ten minutes before the end, remove the bouquet garni and add the olives.

Season to taste and serve.

(Original recipe from At Elizabeth David’s Table: Her very best everyday recipes, compiled by Jill Norman, Penguin, 2010.)

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Chianti Beef

 

The technique used to cook the meat is quite clever as the amount of beef is small and is only quickly, flash fried which keeps the juiciness, adds the caramelisation flavours and gives great depth to the whole dish. It’s an expensive cut but the quantity required is so small that it won’t break the bank. It’s hard to believe a dish with so much flavour takes such a short time to prepare.

Wine Suggestion: we drank one of our favourite Tuscan wines: the Selvapiana Chianti Rufina which is refined and elegant and complements the beef fillet and provides a foil to the rustic black pepper background in this dish.

Rigatoni, tomato, beef and red wine – serves 4

  • 320g rigatoni
  • 200g beef fillet
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 600g top quality tinned tomatoes
  • 350ml Chianti wine
  • 1tbsp ground black pepper
  • 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Trim the beef fillet and cut across into 5mm slices. Cut the slices into 1cm strips.

Heat the butter in a thick-bottomed pan, add the garlic and fry gently until brown. Add the tomatoes and season. Cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes, then add half the red wine. Continue to cook on quite a high heat, adding more wine as the sauce reduces. Cook for 15 minutes in total, using up all the wine, then stir in the pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan until very hot. Add the beef pieces and fry very briefly, just to brown each piece on both sides. Stir the beef into the sauce with any juices from the pan.

Cook the rigatoni in boiling salted until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce.

Serve with the Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy: Simple Recipes from the London River Cafe by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Random House, 2006.)

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Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon

Delicious meatballs with a real summery feel. Use fresh broad beans if you can get them but frozen will work just as well. You can prepare this dish in advance and just reheat before serving.

Wine Suggestion: The trick with this dish is to make sure the wine is medium bodied so a lighter red with ripe (not dry) tannins would work a treat. An easy and uncomplicated shiraz cabernet blend from Australia or a nice Pinot Noir would work a treat. Alternately a medium bodied white like a good Verdicchio is a great option too. We drank the Umani Ronchi Casal di Serra Verdicchio which matched the dish perfectly with good depth of fruit and a great minerality which  allowed the food and wine to shine equally.

Beef Meatballs with Broad Beans & Lemon – serves 4

  • 4½ tbsp olive oil
  • 350g broad beans, fresh or frozen
  • 4 whole thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 spring onions, cut at an angle into 2cm lengths
  • 2½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • salt and black pepper

MEATBALLS:

  • 300g minced beef
  • 150g minced lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 120g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp each chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint, dill and coriander; plus ½ tbsp extra of each to finish
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp baharat spice mix (apparently you can buy this or you can use the recipe below*)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp capers, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten

Put all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl. Add ¾ tsp of salt and lots of black pepper and mix well with your hands. Form into ping-pong sized balls (you should get about 20).

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a very large frying pan with a lid. Sear half the meatballs over a medium heat, turning until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove, add another ½ tbsp olive oil to the pan and cook the other batch of meatballs. Remove from the pan and wipe clean.

While the meatballs are cooking, put the broad beans into a pot of salted boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Remove the skins from half the broad beans.

Heat the rest of the olive oil in the pan you seared the meatballs in. Add the thyme, garlic and spring onion and sauté over a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the unshelled broad beans, 1½ tbsp of the lemon juice, 80ml of the stock, ¼ tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. The beans should be almost covered with liquid. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.

Return the meatballs to the pan. Add the rest of the stock, cover the pan and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the sauce is very runny you can remove the lid and reduce a bit. The meatballs will soak up a lot of the juice so make sure you have plenty of sauce left. You can leave the meatballs off the heat now until ready to serve.

Just before serving, reheat the meatballs and add a little water, if needed, to get enough sauce. Add the rest of the herbs and tablespoon of lemon juice, the shelled broad beans and stir very gently.

Serve with basmati rice.

*Baharat Spice Mix – 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 small cinnamon stick – roughly chopped, ½ tsp whole cloves, ½ tsp ground allspice, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1tsp cardamom pods, ½ a whole nutmeg grated. Blend all the spices in a grinder or pestle and mortar until you have a fine powder. Store in an airtight jar.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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Stir-fried Beef with black bean and chilli

This comes from a new discovery: Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop. We’ve been looking for a Chinese cookbook for some time and this comes up trumps. This beef dish tasted authentic and delicious.

Don’t be tempted to substitute the Laoganma black bean sauce with the more common black bean sauce, widely available in supermarkets, which is something completely different. Laoganma black bean sauce is a relish made from fermented black beans and dried chillies in oil. You can find it in any good Asian supermarket (where you will also find the Shaoxing wine and potato flour).

Stir-fried beef with black bean and chilli – serves 2

  • 300g lean beef steak, cut into 1cm thick strips
  • ¼ red pepper
  • ¼ green pepper
  • about 40g coriander
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2½ tbsp Laoganma black bean sauce
  • salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the marinade: 

  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1½ tsp potato flour

Stir the marinade ingredients with 2 tsp water, add to the meat and set aside.

Cut the peppers into strips similar in size to the beef and coarsely chop the coriander.

Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over a high heat. When the pan is smoking hot, add the beef and stir-fry until the strips begin to separate out. Tip in the peppers and keep stir-frying until the beef is almost cooked.

Add the black bean sauce and stir, then add some salt to taste. When everything is hot and fragrant, stir in the coriander.

Take off the heat and add the sesame oil before serving with some plain white rice.

(Original recipe from Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

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Easy Chunky Chilli

This recipe uses a couple of cheat ingredients (kidney beans in chilli sauce and chipotle paste) with great results – very little effort but tonnes of flavour!

Wine Suggestion: We’d go for something juicy, fruity and red. Perhaps a Spanish Garnacha or a lighter Zinfandel where the tannins aren’t too high and dry and won’t conflict with the heat in the chilli.

Easy Chunky Chilli – to serve 4

  • olive oil
  • 400g diced stewing beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp chipotle paste (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 400g can kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lime, zested and cut into wedges
  • handful of coriander leaves
  • rice, to serve

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pan and cook the beef pieces until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened. Add the garlic, cumin and chipotle paste and cook for one minute.

Sieve the kidney beans but reserve the sauce. Add this sauce, along with the tomatoes and a can full of water, to the pan. Stir well and return the meat to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then cook covered for about 2 hours or until the beef is tender (you can also bake in the oven for 3 hours at 160C/140C fan/gas 3).

Add the kidney beans and lime zest, season and warm through. Serve with the coriander leaves, lime wedges and rice.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is a doddle to whip up after work and it’s not a bad chilli for very little effort. Serve in warmed tortillas with some rocket and sour cream or in a baked potato.

Cheat’s Chilli – to serve 4

  • 500g minced beef
  • 350g jar of tomato and chilli sauce (we use our own tomato sauce which we always have a supply of in the freezer)
  • 400g tin of red kidney beans

Fry the mince in a non-stick pan until well browned. Pour in the sauce, then fill the empty jar about a third full of water and rinse out into the pan. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain and rinse the beans before adding to the meat and heat through for about 5 minutes or until the beans are hot and the sauce is thick.

 

 

 

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An easy version of Peposo which works a treat and reheats perfectly. The peppercorns are very much the star of the show rather than the seasoning.

Wine Suggestion:  Regional foods are generally complemented by the wines of the same region so go for a good Tuscan wine that will be able to stand up to this rich stew. We had a Morisfarms Mandriolo from the Maremma.

Hunter’s Stew – to serve 4-6

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg stewing steak, in big chunks
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250ml red wine
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 1 whole tube of tomato purée

In a large saucepan, with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil and brown the beef well.

Season with plenty of salt, then add the onions, garlic, and peppercorns and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and reduced.

Add the remaining ingredients, cover with a lid and cook very gently for about 2 hours, stirring regularly.

Check the seasoning after 90 minutes and add a bit of water if necessary. If it is too liquid you can remove the lid for the last 20-30 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before serving with potatoes or polenta.

(Original recipe by Domini Kemp in THE IRISH TIMES Magazine, September 21, 2013.)

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