When I first made this, it was so delicious, I woke up the next day, still longing for it. The flavour is rich and comforting, sweet and sour. Cutting the beef into thin strips means that it cooks to tender morsels in a short time. We purchased the beef from Long Island Larder. They were selling their produce at the Tagsa Saturday Market in Balivanich, but the’ll soon have a farm shop in Loch Skipport as well. The meat was delicious, excellent quality. Just a note, Tagsa will continue with their neighbour food project through the winter, but the fresh produce market is a summer/autumn thing.
Here’s the recipe.
- 5 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 500g beef, cut into thin strips
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 150g ready-to-eat prunes
- 1 medium butternut squash (pick one that feels very heavy for its size)
- 3 tbsp date syrup or brown sugar
- Juice of 2 limes (about 60ml)
- A large pinch of saffron, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
- In a medium casserole or large saucepan, heat about 2 tbsp oil over a medium heat, and fry the onion for around 5 minutes, so that it softens and becomes translucent.
- Add the beef and fry for another 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Add the salt, pepper, cinnamon, prunes and around 600ml water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for a further 20 minutes.
- Meantime, peel and chop the squash into large chunks, coat with olive oil and roast in a hot oven (200C) for around 15 minutes. You could also fry the squash in olive oil, until the outside is browned.
- Stir the date syrup, lime juice, saffron water into the stew, and then add the squash. Cover and simmer for a further 40 minutes.
- Serve with white rice, preferably saffron steamed rice.
Once again, I reached into the gastronomic lucky dip that is our freezer, that great storage zone for all things local and perishable. The day before yesterday I fished out a bag of locally produced beef mince. I used it to make polpette. This is probably not worth making with cheap mince, but they were great with what we had. I used the mixture to make polpette (small meat balls) the first night, and then formed the rest of the mixture into patties and had them as burgers in buns. The following recipe will serve six. I got it from ‘Italian Food’ by Elizabeth David.
- 450g good quality organic local mince
- 2 slices white bread
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves of garlic
- A small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- a little lemon rind
- plain flour
- olive oil
- Cut the crusts off the bread, and soak for fifteen minutes in milk
- Squeeze the excess milk from the bread, which should be really mushy.
- Add the garlic, parsley, tiny strips of a little bit of lemon peel, seasoning and spices and blend in a food processer. It is possible to do this by hand as well.
- Add the bread mixture to the mince, and beat in the egg, until everything is well mixed
- Next, flour a board and your hands. Form little slightly flat meat balls from the mixture, each just over an inch across, and coat with flour. Make a little dent in the top of each meat ball.Fry in hot oil. I think you can deep-fry these, but I just fried them in a pan. When they are done drain them on paper before serving.
I served these with pasta and tomato sauce. The book suggests serving them with a green salad. The next night, as I said, I made small burgers out of the mixture, possibly a culinary crime, but it was very tasty.
I so very nearly called this post ‘Prehistoric beef and beer stew’ but then thought at least one person might find that too funny to pass up for a joke.
This is one of the recipes from a book called ‘Prehistoric Cooking’ by Jacqui Wood. I picked this one because I was still experimenting with honey from last month’s article. My sister sent me the book, hopefully because she thought I would find it very interesting.
- 500g stewing steak
- 25g wholemeal flour
- 25g butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bunch of sorrel (grows wild, I have some cultivated in the garden)
- 50g honey
- 1 pint of ale
- Cut the meat into 2cm cubes, and dust with the flour
- Fry the meat in the butter until browned. Use a casserole dish with a well-fitting lid.
- Add salt, chopped sorrel, honey and beer.
- Put on the lid of the casserole and cook over a low heat for one and a half hours, until the beef is tender.
For authenticity, serve with wholemeal bread rather than potatoes. Carrots are a good side dish.
I kind of made this up, basing the flavours on a vegetarian recipe that I have. There may be edits as I try out tweaking the recipe. It was good enough the first time, though.
- Approx. 200g onion, chopped
- 200g pancetta (or streaky bacon) (optional)
- 2 tbsp olive oil or lard
- 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
- 1 tsp caraway, lightly crushed
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- freshly ground black pepper
- 300 to 400g beef, cut into cubes
- 300ml beef stock
- 300ml tub of sour cream
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 or 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (or use small salad potatoes, around 200g)
- Set the oven to 160℃
- In a large oven-safe casserole pan, fry the pancetta until crispy on the outside, and set aside.
- In the same pan, fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until golden yellow and soft
- Add the paprika and caraway seed, and stir into the onions, around 15 seconds.
- Add the meat and stir to brown the meat on all sides as well as coating it with paprika
- Add the stock, bacon, tomato puree, black pepper, salt to taste, and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and put the pan into the oven for around 2½ hours
- Add the peeled chopped potatoes, and check the seasoning, and then cook for another half an hour or so, until the potatoes are cooked. You can add other vegetables as well, such as carrots, or celeriac, if you wish. If the stew is not thick enough for your taste, simmer on the stove top with the lid off, to reduce it down.
- Stir in the sour cream, and garnish with chopped parsley to serve.
We had a really good bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape, and when I googled what we should eat with it, the answer was steak and kidney pie. I made this, and it was delicious. The basic recipe is in Maw Broon’s cookbook.
- 375g Bells ready-rolled puff pastry
- 2 sheep’s kidneys
- Approx 150g mushrooms, roughly chopped.
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 50g butter
- 450g steak
- A little water
- Milk or beaten egg to glaze
- Turn the oven to 220C
- Dice the steak into large chunks. Peel the kidneys of their membrane, and cut out the central fibrous tissue. Coat the meat in seasoned flour.
- Fry the onion gently in the butter until translucent, for around five minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, and continue to fry gently for another three to five minutes.
- Mix in the meat, and fill the pie dish with the mixture. The dish should be fairly full. Add a little water.
- I needed to fold the rolled pastry in half, and then gave it a gentle roll to ensure it was just a shade larger than my dish. Wet the edge of the pie dish and trim a strip of pastry, and press this onto the wetted edge of the pie dish. Cover the pie filling with the pastry, pierce a few holes to let steam out, and decorate as you wish.
- Glaze the pastry with egg or milk.
- Cook in a hot oven, 220C until the pastry is golden, and then turn the heat down to 180C and cook for a further hour and a half.
We had mashed potatoes and garlic cabbage with this.
We are eating the last of the beef we got from Dr Louise, from cattle grazed on Askernish Machair. I made this last week, so easy. It is from #CookforSyria, a recipe book that I bought two years ago. The website link also tells you a little bit more about the creation of CookforSyria, a celebration of Syrian food culture, and a fund-raiser for Unicef.
This dish is meant to be cooked in a single pot, as part of a barbecue, picnic or other al-fresco dining event.
- 500g beef, cubed
- 100g suet, beef fat or other cooking fat
- 2 aubergines, cubed
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 125ml of Arak (or Raki, or Ouzo)
- salt and pepper
- In the pot, cover the beef in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Any stock that is produced can be used for other dishes.
- Take the beef out of the water, and reserve the stock for another day. In the pan, fry the beef fat for a few minutes then add the chopped vegetables and the beef. Add a few spoonfuls of the stock from earlier.
- Cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, and then add the Arak, and simmer for a further five minutes.
- Serve with flat bread and/or rice.
I had no idea that Jhal Faraizi was designed to use up left-overs. In fact, this recipe is almost like stovies, but with more meat, and green Chillies. Madhur Jaffrey’s book Curry Easy gives a short history of the origins of the dish, which originated in Bengal. Some versions have a sauce, but this is more pared back, and quick and easy. I didn’t have any left-over potatoes or beef, so this version includes cooking from scratch.
- 4 medium floury potatoes
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil or other vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 fresh hot green chillies, chopped finely
- around 350g beef (could be left-overs) – diced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- Boil the potatoes whole, and then set aside to cool
- Poach the beef in some water and ginger, for around 20 minutes, then strain and remove the ginger. I kept the liquid back and used it as stock in another recipe.
- When the potatoes are cool, peel them and cut into small dice.
- Put the oil in a large frying pan, and heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle briefly.
- Add the onion, potatoes and chillies, then turn the heat down a bit, and stir, cooking until the onions are translucent, around five minutes.
- Add the meat, a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Stir and mix for a minute, and turn the heat down very low. Press the mixture down into the pan and then cook gently for around 15 minutes.
- We had this with poached eggs on top.
This is a Persian recipe, which we made with some locally raised beef. The co-op has some peaches ready for ripening at home, which are ideal for this recipe, which is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large white/yellow onion
- 450g beef, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 firm peaches
- 20g butter
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Tiny pinch of saffron
- chopped pistachio nuts
- Put the saffron in a small cup and add a tiny amount of boiling water, and set aside
- Heat the oil in a large flat casserole dish, and gently fry the onion until it is beginning to brown.
- Add the beef, turn up the heat a little, and fry until browned.
- Add the turmeric, cumin, white pepper, coriander, stir and add the tomato paste. Cook for another two minutes, stirring until the meat is well-coated.
- Add just enough boiling water to cover the meat, and bring back to the boil, then add the cinnamon and salt. Turn the heat down very low, and braise for a couple of hours, until the beef is very tender.
- Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to peel the peaches, halve them to remove the stones, and cut each half- peach into three segments.
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and fry the peach segments over a medium heat, until they are beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
- When the beef is tender, add lemon juice to taste, and add a teaspoon of saffron water.
- Arrange the peach segments over the stew, spoon over the sauce, cover and cook over a low heat for a further 5 minutes
- Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts, and serve with plain rice.
This is a truly delicious meal, I keep sneaking back for extra portions. It uses a surprisingly small amount of meat to make a meal for around eight people.
I derived the recipe from the astonishingly good book, Nightingales and Roses by Maryam Sinaiee. There are a couple of tweaks to match local circumstances and my store cupboard.
- 400g basmati rice
- 400g white cabbage – I used a whole sweetheart cabbage
- vegetable oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 200g mince
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 5 tbsp tomato puree OR 250ml passata
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 20g butter
- Put the rice in a large bowl, and cover with water, stirring to loosen any surface starch. Drain, and repeat this step three times, then leave the rice to soak in salted water for 30 minutes or more.
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Drain the soaked rice and add to the pan. Bring the water back to the boil, and cook uncovered until the rice grains are on the surface of the water. This takes about six minutes or so. The rice should feel cooked, but still with a little bite to it.
- Drain the cooked rice and rinse with cold water to separate the grains and stop them cooking.
- Chop the cabbage coarsely and saute it in 1 tbsp of oil over a medium to high heat, seasoned with the black pepper. After five minutes, as it starts to brown, remove from the pan.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan, and the chopped onions, fry for around 10 minutes until starting to brown.
- Add the mince, turmeric, and cumin, and fry until the mince is well browned.
- Add the tomato paste, salt and cabbage. If you are using tomato paste and not passata, then add 200ml boiling water. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. If the mixture is looking a little dry, or starting to catch, add another drop of water.
- Using the large pan, put a couple of tablespoons of oil at the bottom, and heat it. Then add alternating layers of rice and cabbage mixture, starting and ending with a rice layer. Wrap the pan lid in a tea towel and jam it firmly on top.
- Put the pan over a medium heat and cook until the outside of the pan is hot.
- Melt the butter in 2 tablespoons of boiling water, and pour this over the top of the rice mountain in the pan. Put the pan into an oven at Gas 3, 170C, and bake for 30 minutes.
- When the dish is done, it should be turned out onto a platter, and served with yoghurt, pickled vegetables, and a salad of herbs. At this time of year, not that many delicious herbs in the garden, so I skipped that bit.