Friday, July 26, 2019

On the MENU This Week. Daube of Beef with Prunes

It is amazing how television chefs often trigger a memory of a dish you cooked long ago. This happened this week to Lynne who went searching for her recipe and thankfully found it. We had this for dinner this week and it made enough for two nights and there was still some for our once a week queen of the vacuum and ironing for her lunch. It produces a rich, unctuous dark beef stew with lots of flavour

It is a dish you start in the morning, cook in the late afternoon/early evening and it braises and is ready to serve for dinner. There are some different ingredients from a normal beef stew recipe and they make all the difference. Do try and use very good beef stock. The recipe comes from the South of France. Use good robust red wine, you can drink the rest with the meal. We used Nymphomaine 2014 from La Vierge in the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Serves 6, so great for a dinner party

A kilo of lean stewing beef or deboned shin of beef , cut into 3 cm cubes – 100g streaky bacon cut into 2 cm slices – half a bottle of good red wine – 75 g butter or olive oil – 450 g peeled and sliced carrots – 450 g of finely sliced onions – 2 sticks of celery, finely sliced – 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped – 2 tablespoons of flour or corn flour - a 10 cm strip of orange peel – a bouquet garni or 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves and 2 teaspoons of chopped rosemary leaves - 500 ml good beef stock – 2 rounded tablespoons of tomato puree – 10 prunes

Put the cut up beef and bacon into the red wine in a mixing bowl and marinate for 3 to 4 hours. This helps to tenderise the cheaper cuts of beef. If you want to add the marrow bones from the centre of the shin of beef to this, it will add so much richness. Just remove before serving 

Drain the meat from the wine, but keep the wine. Set your oven to 150ºC. In a heavy casserole with a lid, fry the meat in half the butter or oil until nicely browned on all sides. Remove it and set aside, then put in the onions with the rest of the butter or oil and some salt and fry till soft and just beginning to take on colour. Add the garlic and the rest of the vegetables and fry for 5 minutes until softening. Add the flour and stir through well to cook it a little. Then stir in the tomato purée. Add back the meat, the wine, the stock, the orange peel and the herbs. Add a teaspoon of salt and several good grindings of black pepper. Put on the lid and cook for two and a half hours. Check once an hour to see that the liquid has not cooked away. Add water if it is becoming too thick. With half an hour to go, add the prunes. At this stage you can add baby potatoes as well. Before serving remove the bouquet garni

This is traditionally served with creamy mashed potatoes. Or with ribbon noodles. And fresh broccoli or beans. Warn your guests to look out for stones in the prunes if they have not been de-pipped

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