Sunday, November 12, 2006

Beef Burgundy

In all of my recipes the quantities are extremely flexible and subject to what happens to be in the fridge and pantry. I sometimes use precise measurements such as a "slurp", or a "smidgin" or a "grating". Use your imagination, if it doesn't work I feed next door's pooch and order in Pizza (and only eat one slice:-)

Every recipe is a base, add what you like that you think will work. For example, I often add copious quantities of mushrooms, or carrot, or celery to this one, depending on what's in the larder.

Ingredients

1kg (2 ½ lb) Stewing steak - any cheap cut of beef. Of course, the cheaper the cut, the longer you cook it.
125 gm (1/4 lb) Bacon.
One medium onion.
2 cloves garlic.
1 or 2 tablespoons plain flour (or 1 teaspoon guar gum).
Black pepper.
Nutmeg.
Salt.
Olive oil
One bottle of red wine.

Chop the bacon roughly, slice the onion into rings and crush the garlic.

Saute the bacon, onion and garlic over moderate heat in a tablespoon of the oil in a heavy skillet until the onion is transparent, then set it aside temporarily. If you are trying to lose weight and the fat worries you, drain it on kitchen paper.

Remove as much fat and gristle as possible from the beef. Roughly cut it into chunks, about 2 cm (3/4") cubes. Add a little more oil to the skillet and quickly fry the beef over high heat in small batches until browned and sealed, but not cooked. Set the meat aside in a casserole dish that has an appropriate cover.

Return the bacon, onion and garlic to the skillet and mix in a tablespoon of flour. Stir while cooking lightly, brown but do not burn. Guar gum can be used as a carb-free thickener – but needs practice to get the quantity and method right, about a level teaspoon in this recipe. I prefer flour in this recipe, as the flavour seems better and the tablespoon is spread across six serves. Flour also seems to combine better with the wine.

Add a large glass of red wine and stir while cooking until the sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more wine or water until the consistency is thick but pourable and not gluey. If it's too thin, add a little flour to a little water, stir the lumps out, and add it to the sauce. Add freshly ground black pepper, a good grating of nutmeg and a little salt to taste.

Add the sauce to the meat in the casserole dish, cover and place in a slow (170c, 340F) oven for an hour (or longer if a cheap cut was used). Check and stir, cook for another half-hour, then turn the oven off but leave it in for another half-hour.

The cook is entitled to drink some of the remaining wine while awaiting completion of the cooking process. Of course, you may drink the rest at dinner.

Serve as it is, or with brown or basmati rice if you can handle the carbs. Serves 4 - 8, depending on serve size and accompaniments. I turn it into lots of small breakfasts, by freezing small individual serves.

Nutrition count based on six serves using flour for thickener:

Calories 474
Protein 28 gm
Total fat 36 gm
Sat 14 gm
Mono 17 gm
Poly 3 gm
Carbohydrates 6 gm
Fibre 0.7 gm
Cholesterol 106 mg

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