Yes – back to beef again. Once discovered, never given up lightly! And yes for the first time in years I have purchased cider…
See my last post which talks about my love affair with beef… And hopefully none of you saw me the first term of university 1984 when I was introduced to Merrydown cider… I most certainly tested my love for it quite emphatically! Hence a long time since I have purchased any…
This is a recipe which you can make in two stages OR if you are just too shattered to do much more than shove a load of things in a slow cooker/casserole, in just one stage.
2 lbs chuck steak (Chuck steak comes from the neck/top of the shoulder/back of the animal, which clearly uses these areas a lot so the steak is muscular. Lots of tendons and things so you need to cook it for a fair while to break it all down. It tastes wonderful.)
1/2 lb streaky bacon. Get it unsmoked or smoked – I prefer unsmoked. And I do try to get it with the rind still on – the dogs like it!
3 or 4 small onions, peeled. (I didn’t have any this time so I used a red onion and cut it into quarters – you can use any colour – red tends to be sweeter though.)
2 oz onion sliced.
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 sprigs thyme. I grow my own.
Bay leaf – I love these so I always add at least two.
1 oz flour (you use this for soaking up the juices and for thickening) so plain flour is fine.
3/4 pint of cider. I use sweet or dry. Whatever I feel like because you can be sure you will drink what doesn’t go in the casserole! If it is good beef, it will stand up to any overpowering taste but the cider, regardless of type, always ends up just as a background taste.
1/4 lb dark flat mushrooms.
Dripping (I use olive oil)
How to make it:
Miss Reeve says: ‘Like brown stew – Place in casserole and cook.’ She adds a second stage ‘fry onions, bacon finely chopped, and sauteed mushrooms. Add and cook for a further hour – 3 hours in all’. That’s it for instructions!
So – I have broken it down.
1. Lay out your ingredients and switch your oven on to about 200 F if a fan assisted oven, a little higher if not. OR if you are going for minimal effort, switch on your slow cooker – to low.
Version 1 – bung the whole lot in the slow cooker in the morning and it will be sumptuously ready when you come home from work. If you need it more quickly, put your slow cooker onto high for about an hour and then turn it to low. That is it. You can stop reading here if you are of a mind to do things the easy way! Because it’ll be ready in the slow cooker after a few hours. All you have to do is eat it now.
Version 2 – take a bit more time to make it….
2. Heat a tiny bit of olive oil in a pan (don’t use dripping unless you have saved some from previous joints – that which they call dripping in the shops is awful). Add your little onions and gently brown them. Add your garlic.
3. Then, add about a tablespoon of flour. Stir it. It will begin to thicken the juices from the pan.
4. Add your thyme, your bay leaf and a bit of salt and pepper. Then add the cider. Taste it first of course!
5. Leave it to heat up a bit. Whilst that is happening, you can either prepare the next stage (fry your onions, the bacon and mushrooms and then save them in the frig for 2 hours whilst the meat is in the oven) OR you can have a bit of the cider and put your feet up and read a book/do the ironing/ponder life…
6. Put it in the oven. Turn it down after 20 mins to about 150F if fan assisted, probably about 160 if not. It needs to cook slowly for about 2 hours.
7. After that, take it out, add the bacon, onions and mushrooms and cook for a further hour.
Serve it with mashed potato and veggies of your choice. And cider of course. Cheers…