Tuesday, April 1, 2025

Monday, July 31, 2017

Beef brisket in red wine with pink peppercorns

1 piece of brisket
1 medium carrot, chopped and
6 carrots with tops or about 10 chanteney carrots, left whole, trimmed and scrubbed
2 small red onions
1 large stick of celery, chopped
1 rasher smoked streaky bacon, chopped
About 6 chestnut mushrooms, quartered
1 heaped teaspoon of pink pepper corns
a squeeze of tomato puree
1 bottle of red wine - something robust and fruity
a splash of brandy if you have any knocking about
oil for frying
butter for frying
potato or corn flour to thicken the sauce
salt and black pepper to season (and possibly a drop or two of Maple Syrup)

Pressure cooker and an oven proof casserole dish that’s also ok on the stove top

Quarter the red onions, leaving the base root part on, peel the quarters and trim the stringy bits of root.
Season the brisket with plenty of pepper and a little salt (the bacon will add more salt) and brown well, all over, in a little oil in the pressure cooker.
Remove the beef and put the onions, chopped carrot, celery and bacon in the pressure cooker. Add a little more oil if necessary and when the veg start to brown. If you have some brandy add a generous splash heat it up and then set fire to it.
Put the beef back and add about 3 quarters of the bottle of wine (put the rest in a glass and drink it as you cook). Add a squeeze of tomato puree. Bring to the boil and stir well to mix in any residue from the frying that may be stuck to the bottom of the cooker. Let it boil for about 5 minutes to reduce the wine a bit.
Put the lid on the pressure cooker, bring up to full pressure and cook for about 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to about 180 - 200.
In the oven proof casserole melt a good size knob of butter and gently fry the whole carrots and the mushrooms. When they start to brown add a heaped teaspoon of the flour and cook for another couple of minutes stirring well with a wooden spoon.
Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and reduce the pressure quickly. Add the liquid from the cooker to the casserole stirring well then add the rest of the beef and vegetables.
Add the pink peppercorns and adjust the seasoning. Depending on what wine you've used and whether or not you added the brandy you may feel that it needs to be slightly sweeter - in this case add a very little Maple Syrup.
Put a lid on the casserole and put in the oven for about half an hour.
To serve remove the beef from the sauce and slice it up or just pull it apart, put it on a plate and add carrots and pour over the sauce.
Serve with mashed potatoes to soak up the gravy or, as you’ve got the oven on anyway, roast potatoes.

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Perfumed Garden radio show from Cowbell Radio

Broadcast October 21st 2015 and featuring music from Mercury Rev, Richard Dawson, Vetiver, Jeffrey Lewis, Beach House, Dan Mangan, Natural Information Society & Bitchin Bajas, Kogumaza, Washed Out, Cavern of Anti-Matter, Four Tet and more ...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pressure Cooker Beef in Red Wine with a Boulangère Potato Top

I love my pressure cooker. It saves time and means you can make all those brilliant long cook stews and casseroles in a fraction of the time and it makes the best stocks and soups.
This is slightly more complicated that my usual "bung it all in the pan and pressure it for 15 minutes", but it's well worth it.

2lb stewing steak
2 smallish red onions
Half a Dozen small carrots
1 large stick of celery
4 medium potatoes thinly sliced
2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
Half a bottle of red wine
Half a pint of good meat stock
3 bay leaves
2 large sprigs of thyme
some rape seed oil or similar for frying.
A knob of butter
A rounded teaspoon of potato flour

Scrub and trim the carrots. Cut the tops off the onion(s) but leave the bottoms on removing any root strands. Cut them into 4 wedges (8 if you’re using one large one) and remove the outer peel.
Chop the celery and finely dice the bacon.
Dry the the steak on kitchen towel and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a heavy bottomed oven proof casserole, over a medium heat,  brown the steak in batches so there’s only a single layer in the dish. Take your time doing this - you will probably get liquid coming out of the meat keep going until it has all evaporated and the meat is really well browned. Transfer the meat to your pressure cooker as it’s done. When it’s all well browned pour half a bottle of red wine over it and add the stock. Add the bay and thyme and bring to the boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by about a quarter. Put the lid with its weight on the pressure cooker and bring up to pressure and then turn down so it is hissing contentedly and leave it like this for about ten minutes.
In the mean time brown the vegetables (except the potatoes) with the bacon in the casserole dish, adding some more of the oil and scraping the meat residue from the pan as you go. When they are browned add a splash of wine to the pan and stir well to de-glaze it.
Take the pressure cooker off the heat and reduce the pressure quickly by running it under a cold tap (be careful when you’re moving it not to dislodge the weight).
Heat the oven to about 200C
Put the browned vegetables, bacon and deglazing liquid in the pressure cooker with the meat.
Put the potatoes in the steamer basket that came with your pressure cooker and put that on top of the meat and vegetables. Replace the lid of the cooker, bring it back up to pressure and cook for 10 minutes.
While that’s doing melt the butter in the casserole and add the potato flour and cook gently for a minute or two.
Reduce the pressure in the cooker as before. Carefully remove the basket with the potatoes in. Put the meat and veg in the casserole dish and give it a good stir. Take the potatoes out of the basket and put them on top of the meat and put the whole lot in the oven for about 20 minutes or half an hour until the potatoes start to brown...