from one generation to the next
I have a favourite beef grower at my local Farmer’s Market, his specialty is belted Galloway cattle which he dry ages. It is rich, tender and delicious. The cooler weather had caused high demand for his braising cuts so I was forced to buy “osso bucco.” Now I well know that beef osso bucco is just a fancy name for gravy beef, or shin. The pieces were enormous, 2 thick slices weighing close to one kilogram, so I decided to cut the meat from the bone so Monty, our pet bichon/poodle cross, could enjoy a bone, then I extracted the marrow from the second bone, chopped it finely and added it to the other ingredients. The house filled with delicious aromas while the meat was braising. After resting the cooked dish for 48 hours, we enjoyed it as pot pies. It was deeply flavoured, tender and rich enough that just a small amount was satisfying.
I feel I must comment about braising pans. Over my 40+ years of cooking, I have braised in plain and fancy dishes made of many different materials with varying results. In my opinion, a French cast iron braising pan produces a result far superior to any other. Expensive to buy, yet if well cared for, a cast iron lidded braising dish will outlive us all.
750g gravy beef, cut into 3cm dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small carrots, finely diced diced
1 large sick celery, peeled and finely diced
2 large Swiss brown mushrooms, finely diced
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 glass red wine, approx 120mls
2 tablespoon tomato paste concentrate
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1/2 litre stock,
2 strips lemon peel
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Heat half the oil in the braising pan on the stove top and sauté the vegetables. Heat a sauté pan , add the remaining oil and well brown the meat in small batches. Add the meat to the vegetables. Deglaze the browning pan with the red wine then add it to the braising dish along with the garlic cloves, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves, lemon peel and enough stock to cover the meat. Cut a piece of baking paper the size of the braising pan and lay the paper over the surface of the meat to protect the surface from drying out. Put the lid on the pan and put it into the centre of the oven and cook for 2 ½ hours, adding more stock it necessary. At the end of the cooking time you should have just a small amount of thick sauce around the meat.
Chill the dish overnight then lift off any fat that has pooled and set on the surface. Add pepper to taste, it should be salty enough, reheat and serve. This will serve 4-6, depending on appetite size.
Beef Pot Pie
1 Quanitiy of braised beef
4 medium potatoes
1 sweet potato
1 small wedge of pumpkin
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 170C
Grease small oven proof dishes for individual pies or a large dish and spoon the braise into each.
Peel and steam the potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato until cooked. Heat ½ cup milk, pour over the cooked vegetables and mash. Stir in the butter, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the mash over the meat, then bake 30 – 40 minutes until heated through and browned on the top.
Serve with a dollop of tomato relish, steamed green veg and a glass of red wine.