CHEF TONY SAYS: With this recipe it’s worth knowing a good butcher. When I say good I don’t mean the one that gives the best price, I mean the one who knows his stuff. A lot of butchers nowadays buy boxed meat and sell the end result on to you but a good butcher knows his cuts.
A good way to find out the quality of the butcher is by asking for bones. A box seller butcher won’t have any but a good butcher will be able to provide you with what you want. I was recently recommended Wildbloods of Norden, a family-run business and award-winning sausage maker who, after a quick conversation, knew what I wanted – both the marrow bones and blade steak where available here, so no need for me to go elsewhere.
Red Wine Braised Blade of Beef and Shallots, with a Herb New Potato Cake and Baby Vegetables
2 x 8oz blade of beef
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 onions roughly chopped
Bottle of medium or full bodied red wine
8 shallots peeled but left whole
3 x 2 cm cuts of marrow bone
5 sprigs each rosemary and thyme
2 x stock cubes, beef,chicken or veg
8/9 new potatoes
Small bunch flat leaf parsley
Small bunch chives
Knob of butter
8 baby carrots
4 baby turnips
Pre-heat oven to 160c.
In a oven-proof pan, or a cast iron casserole pot, heat up two tablespoons of olive oil until it’s almost smoking. Season the blade of beef with salt and pepper and sear till brown on both sides. Add the cut marrow bone and brown all sides. Remove beef once browned and add the whole shallots and brown. Once brown, remove from pot and save until later. Add in the rough chopped carrots, onions, rosemary and thyme and sweat down till softened.
Once the onions are coloured and soft put the blade of beef back in the pot and pour in the bottle of wine reserving one glass for yourself (go on, treat yourself). Add in the stock cubes and a little water to cover all the contents of the pot. You could use ready made stock if you have some. Remember to leave the shallots out of the pan until later.
Place pan in oven for approx three hours. After one hour check for seasoning and return to oven.
While the beef is cooking, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the new potatoes and cook until ready. A pointed knife should go in easily and the potato should slide off. Drain the potatoes, place in a bowl and add a knob of butter. Crush with a fork or rolling pin and add the chopped parsley and chives, salt and pepper and check for seasoning. Form into two cakes by using a ring and pressing firmly. This could be done the day before and finished on the day.
At about the two hour mark place the potato cakes on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Place in the oven and add the reserved shallots to the pot
Start the vegetables – bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the turnips and cook for 19-20 mins depending on size. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl of cold water. Add the baby carrots to the boiling water. Using a clean green scourer rub the turnips. Remove the skin leaving a perfectly round peeled turnip. You could peel before you cook with a peeler but you will get sharp edges, it all depends on how you want to present the dish. Slice the turnips into circles. Once carrots are cooked repeat as per the turnips, but without cutting. Add your sprouts to the water and cook for 12-15 mins until tender but not over-cooked. Remove from the pan into cold water and cut in half. Return the veg pan to the heat to warm up the vegetables for serving. Again this step could be done the day before.
At about two and a half hours, remove the blade from the pot and the cooked shallots. Place on a warm plate and remove the bones. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve into another pan and reduce the liquid by half. The sauce will thicken due to the marrow from the bones but, if the sauce needs it, use the back of a ladle and push some of the carrot and onion though the sieve until the desired consistency is achieved
Once the potato cake is browned and warmed through, add the vegetables back into the vegetable pan and place the potato cake in the centre of the plate. Place the blade steak on top with the shallots, pour the gravy on top, drain the vegetables and place pan back on heat with a small knob of butter. Add drained veg to the pan, toss through butter, season with salt and pepper and serve.
Next week: Chef Tony cooks Pork and Apple Wellington with Curly Kale
PROPER FOOD FOR PROPER APPETITES
Each week, discover recipes to nourish the soul, all compiled and concocted by Chef Tony, a gastronome with 15 years’ of experience cooking across the North West. Chef Tony has worked in some of the region’s best kitchens, including the award-winning Nutters in Rochdale and The Lowry at Salford Quays.