Pulled Beef Brisket Chilli

For all the lovely folk that enjoyed the Beef Chilli at the Heartbeat party for the British Heart Foundation in Newent last night, here’s the recipe I used (based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe):

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 kg beef brisket, trimmed and scored
  • olive oil
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 400 ml beef stock
  • 4 bell peppers (red/yellow), sliced
  • 1 tin of black beans
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 red chillies, sliced
  • red wine vinegar (splash)

Method:

Mix the spices together with a little salt and pepper and rub it all over the beef. Drizzle with olive oil and seal in a hot pan until browned all over.

Browning beef brisket

Place the brisket in a large pot and add the tomatoes, stock, peppers and black beans.

Fry the onions and chillies for a few minutes and add them to the pot.

Bring it all to the boil, cover, and then simmer on a low heat for 4 to 5 hours until you can easily pull the beef apart using 2 forks.

Add a splash of red wine vinegar to balance the flavours.

beef brisket chilli

Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, fresh chillies, salad leaves, fresh coriander and basil. If you’re serving the beef in tortilla wraps, this should serve around 20 people.

 

 

French Onion Soup

For this year’s Food Revolution Day, Jamie Oliver shared ‘10 recipes to save your life‘ – learn how to master these dishes and you can successfully cook nutritious food for yourself and your family for the rest of your life.

As Ambassadors for the revolution, we’re all about inspiring others, sharing skills and knowledge, and helping people to build confidence in the kitchen.

My alternative to Jamie’s Minestrone Soup is the one and only French Onion Soup. It’s a fantastic example of how you can transform a humble ingredient by concentrating the flavour. You have a couple of options here: make a relatively quick and acceptable soup, or show it the love, give it the time and attention it deserves, and make a beautifully deep, complex and truly sensational bowl of joy.

brown onions

Ingredients:

  • 500g brown onions
  • 50g butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Splash of cognac or brandy (optional)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 litres beef stock
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 150g Gruyere cheese
  • ½ baguette

 

Method:

Finely slice the onions and sweat them in a pan on a very low heat with the butter, sugar and a little olive oil for about an hour until beautifully soft, caramelised and almost melting.

sweating onions

Increase the heat, add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few minutes before carefully flambéing with the cognac/brandy if using.

Stir in the flour and cook it out for two of minutes.

Add the wine and let it bubble away and reduce by a third.

Add the beef stock, season and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Serve the soup with Gruyere-topped croutons – they’re essential.

I like to make the croutons by frying garlic-rubbed slices of baguette in a pan with butter until golden, but you can just toast them or bake them in the oven to dry them out. Pop them onto the soup, grate Gruyere cheese over the top, and slide everything under the grill or into the oven until gorgeously molten.

Enjoy!

Onion Soup

Chilli con Jamie

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of cooking for a lovely group of school mums on their annual get-together in The Cotswolds.

A dear friend had asked if I’d like to cater for the event, and together we hatched a plan to use this as an opportunity to raise awareness for the Food Revolution and Elizabeth’s Footprint – [Natalia Spencer is walking the entire 6,000 mile coastline of the UK in aid of Bristol Children’s Hospital following the sudden and tragic loss of her beautiful 5-year-old daughter Elizabeth.] 

So, deep breath, what do you cook for fourteen…?

I needed something hearty, a little bit special, and above all something that wouldn’t be a logistical nightmare given Chipping Campden is a 40 minute drive from Cheltenham.

Delectable and transportable; it’s got to be a slow cooked chilli. It just so happens that I recently acquired a cast iron, 12 litre, Staub Cocotte (dutch oven)..

Let’s not reinvent the wheel here – I know a man who’s nailed this dish, so please do check out Jamie’s tried and tested recipe here: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/chilli-con-jamie/

The only tweaks I made were to scale up the quantities to make it go a bit further. I used 3kg of brisket, 5 cans of tomatoes, 750ml fresh coffee and 3 tins of kidney beans etc.

3kg beef brisket

Trimming up the beef takes a little time but once it’s all in the pot you can pretty much sit back and leave it alone for a few hours. If you’re interested, I chose to use a combination of Ancho and Pasilla chillies which were rehydrated in strong coffee.

Ancho and Pasilla chillies

I wrapped a couple of towels around my impractically heavy cast iron pot and carefully stowed my precious cargo in the passenger footwell.

Seeing a rainbow over Chipping Campden as I made my way down the quiet country lanes really made my day. I had to stop the car and take a moment to fully appreciate the world around me, basking in the horizontal early evening sunlight and cherishing every aspect of the quiet, rolling countryside. I wish I could have captured it for you Natalia.

I want to extend a huge, huge thank you to all you lovely ladies for donating a whopping £200 to Elizabeth’s Footprint – I’m so pleased you enjoyed your dinner :o)

Chilli con carne

Steak Tartare

This has become a birthday ritual for me.  Not that it’s my birthday; not for ages.  I’m hoping that the younglings will adopt it so that I can guarantee making it at least 3 times a year.

This dish is all about the beef. ALL ABOUT THE BEEF.  Like sushi, it needs to be excellent quality, from a reputable source and trimmed of any fat or sinew. I always use beautiful, delicate fillet, chilled and cut by hand as the texture is everything – you certainly don’t want to end up with a burger patty.  You can of course use rump or sirloin if you prefer more flavour and bite. I’d recommend about 150g per person.

Beautiful Fillet of beef

I think everyone that makes Tartare for themselves has their own style and particular way of preparing it.  Your biggest concern will be whether to incorporate the condiments or not.  I have to admit that it can look less appealing (and more like an uncooked burger) without.  Although I’d still eat it of course.

Once you have your beef diced to your liking, mix in chopped capers, shallot, flatleaf parsley, gherkin, Worcestershire sauce, Tobasco sauce, extra virgin olive oil and season it with salt and pepper (rough quantities below if it’s your first time). As I say, you can always serve these condiments on the side and let people mix them in to taste. Form it by hand or use a little mould/ring.

Finally, make a tiny well in the centre and adorn your creation with the freshest free range egg yolk you can lay your hands on.  Raw of course.

Close up of Steak Tartare

I seem to remember TV shows like ‘Mr Bean’ giving Tartare a bad reputation. Meat and egg, raw, are you mad? Trust me, you’ve not lived until you have eaten Steak Tartare.

steak tartare, chips and condiments

Here’s the solution if you’re like me and can’t decide on the condiment front – have it all.  Serve with a few chips, maybe some chives and Dijon mustard; whatever you like.  I’ve gently persuaded plenty of friends to try it, and all have fallen in love with this almost sensual dish.

steak tartare with raw egg

Ingredients: (per person)

  • 150g Steak
  • 1/2 tsp Capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 tbsp Flatleaf Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1 Gherkin, finely diced
  • Dash of Tobasco Sauce
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Flaky Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.

Short Rib of Beef

November Challenge time for Jamie’s Food Revolution Ambassadors.

Slow Cooking! We live in a fast food world, but this month we’re asking you to slow things down, try out and share your slow cooked food recipes with us.”

I’m forever searching out great cuts that lend themselves to slow cooking.  Not only is there something terribly satisfying about transforming hunks of meat into monumental dishes that make your guests smile from ear to ear, but they’re always fantastic value for money too.

I love picking up things that I haven’t cooked before, or that I’m not really sure how to deal with.  The internet provides us all with the confidence to go out on a limb as we’re spoilt for recipes and advice.

At this time of year it’s easy to go off anything that’s ‘quick cooked’.  When it’s cold and tempestuous outside, can a rare fillet steak really beat a daube de boeuf, belly pork or 6-hour shoulder of mutton?

So here we go.  Our local Waitrose have started stocking Short Rib of Beef (a great price and also on introductory special offer: £4.66/kg). Cooked it before?  No.  Know how to cook it?  No.  Perfect.

Short Rib of Beef First of all give them a good searing in a hot pan.

Short rib of beef

Once they’re nicely browned, set them aside and using the same pan, fry off some onion, celery, leek and garlic.

Frying onion, garlic, celery, leek and garlic

Combine everything in a roasting tray with some sprigs of thyme.

Short Rib of Beef

Add a tin of tomatoes, a large glass of red wine and about 300ml of beef stock.  Pop them in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees centigrade and cook (uncovered) for about 2 hours 30 minutes or so.

Whilst the anticipation builds, think about preparing some greens to accompany the short rib.  Cavalo Nero is a firm favourite in our household.

Fresh Cavelo Nero

A beautiful buttery mash potato is a perfect accompaniment to the dish…  Hey presto:

Beautiful Short Rib

Surprisingly straight forward, yet elegant and suitably satisfying.

Next time you see an ‘unusual’ cut, a whole tongue or some tripe, be brave!  Buy it, and then you’ll have no choice.  Treat it with respect and a dash of love and you’ll be overwhelmed by the results.