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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cookbook Challenge: Week 37, Hearty

Beef Provencale

Recipe: Beef Provencale
From: Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course

The theme for this week's Cookbook Challenge is hearty, and to paraphrase Ange: almost everything I'm cooking at the moment could be classified as hearty. It's this damned weather - why oh why when Alastair and I left Wellington didn't we move to a tropical country? Or Queensland? (Oh yeah, because it's Queensland.)

For the theme this week I made beef provencale - well sort of. Normally when I make a beef stew I don't follow a recipe. I just throw in whatever vegetables I have (normally carrots and celery) along with copious amounts of onion and garlic, plus whatever spices and seasoning I feel like.

Beef Provencale

For this beef provencale I read the recipe, and then.... well let's just say I used it for inspiration purposes only. Marinating the meat? Didn't do that. Followed the instructions for cooking? Didn't do that. Used the same ingredients? Yep, didn't do that either.

Anyway, it's a beef stew. As long as it's cooked low and slow, it all turns out edible and delicious. I did add the anchovies, capers and vinegar near the end of the cooking, which gave it an interesting salty, sour element. And I made a large pot of garlic mashed potatoes to eat with the stew - definite hearty winter fare.

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here.

Beef Provencale

Beef Provencale

From: Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cookery Course

Serves 8

1.3kg lean stewing beef (I used gravy beef)

2 tablespoons olive oil
300ml dry white or red wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme, sage or annual marjoram
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
110g carrots, peeled thinly sliced
110g onions, peeled thinly sliced
Two sticks of celery, thinly sliced

450g bacon, cut into 1cm lardons
1 x 400g tin tomatoes, chopped
150ml homemade stock (I only had chicken, though the book says beef)
175g sliced mushrooms
10 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, mashed

Cut the beef into chunks about 3-4cm. Mix the marinade ingredients together and add the meat. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

When ready to cook, remove the meat to a plate. Reserve the vegetables and the marinade.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and then brown the marinated meat in batches.

In a large pot or casserole, add the fried bacon, browned meat, tinned tomatoes, reserved marinated liquid and vegetables, and stock. Bring to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Allow the meat to simmer on a gentle heat until the meat is tender - about 1.5-2 hours.

When the meat is tender, liquidise the anchovies, capers, parsley, wine vinegar and garlic. Add to the casserole with the sliced mushrooms. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. If necessary, thicken the sauce by whisking in a little roux (cornflour mixed into water).

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with mashed potatoes.

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