Fiesta Friday *4.
Hip, Hip Horray –
at last, it’s FRIDAY!
Beef Carbonnade. Comforting, homely. A no fuss, healthy treat.
Dress up with Dauphinoise potatoes or herby roasties for a dinner party.
Make a big batch and portion into freezer bags. Take them out one at a time in the rush of the morning for an instant supper, served with quickly cooked rice and a bagged salad – who needs ready meals?!
A little advance planning required for this Easy Peasy Supper… it takes almost no time to make, and doesn’t require any ingredients that are demanding to use or difficult to source. Allow a decent amount of time for it to cook, though. Also, the flavours will fully develop if you make the stew in advance, allowing to cool and then rest in the fridge over night – which I see as an added bonus!
Use Shin of beef rather than stewing steak for best flavour and texture.
The recipe is based on Nigella Lawson’s Carbonnade A La Flamande. See her website for details http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/carbonnade-a-la-flamande
This recipe apparently serves 8. When I make it, it didn’t go quite that far – either evidence that it’s very good, or that they were very hungry people.
I served with Dauphinoise potatoes. They gently cook in the oven as the beef heats up. Their rich creamyness compliments the beef perfectly, as does the colour and texture.
1 Table spoon olive oil
250 grams thickly sliced bacon, sliced into strips (not too thin)
4 onions (chopped)
2 teaspoons ground allspice
dried thyme, sage, rosemary or oregano – or a combination
1.5 kilograms shin of beef (in approx. 4-5 cm cubes. Don’t let the butcher cut it into tiny bits!)
50 grams plain flour – wheat free if that suits you better
625 ml beef stock (I use a good quality instant, which is quite salty, so I don’t add extra salt)
4 large carrots, cut into evenly sized cubes
4 teaspoons whole grain mustard if desired
3 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar (I used quince jelly)
625 ml dark Belgian beer (or other dark ale). If you don’t have ale, use red wine
4 bay leaves
1 pinch of black pepper
A large handful of mushrooms, quartered
* * *
Preheat the oven to 150ºC/gas mark 2.
Gently heat the oil in a large, heavy based casserole dish.
Fry lardons of bacon for 5 – 10 minutes, until they’re a bit crispy.
Add the onion and turn the heat down. Gently soften for 10 – 15 minutes.
Add spice, herbs and beef. Brown the outside, shifting with a spatula to stop it burning.
Add the flour and shake the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients. I always crush the bay slightly to release the flavour.
Cover and gently cook in the oven for 3 hours until tender. Enjoy the smell as it cooks, but best if you let it cool and then refrigerate for a day or two before eating. reheat gently but thoroughly before serving.
I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but do appreciate it occasionally. I agree with the importance of the origin of what we eat, and think that’s all the more important for meat, due to ethical concerns.
I sympathise many of the points put across by vegetarians and vegans, but do think that well-managed meat production can be a bonus to life and the countryside, both for us humans, and the other animals that we share it with.
Everyone knows that meat, beans & nuts are especially good sources of protein. Protein is derived from the Greek Protos, or ‘first’. Whereas vitamins are mainly responsible for ensuring that the body functions well, proteins are needed to build and replace cells and tissue: muscle, hair, bone, nails and skin are all made up of proteins. Blood contains proteins which help to carry oxygen around the body. Proteins are needed to make enzymes, responsible for food digestion; and neurotransmitters, which (as the name indicates) help send messages from the nerves – enabling us to see, hear, think and move.
Although some proteins can be made by the body, there are 10 essential amino acids which have to come from food, and can’t be stored by the body. So a regular consumption is needed to stay healthy.
When we do eat meat, it’s always unprocessed, and I think it’s important to know that it is from an ethical source – what was pure and good for the animal is going to be good for us.
I’d love to hear about your food choices, and the reasons behind them…
Now I’m off to see what other goodies people have brought to Fiesta Friday.
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