There have been times when I have toyed with the idea of becoming a Vegetarian . . . I do love my vegetables . . . but, I also love some good beef once in a while. And nothing beats a tasty roasted chicken, a succulent piece of lamb . . . or a lovely pork chop now and again. I could never kill an animal to eat it. I'll be the first to confess that. I like to find my meat at the shop or the butchers . . . without eyes, or anything of the like, in a tidy package . . . so I don't have to think about it having once been cute . . .
It's what works for me. I do try to buy responsibly sourced, free range and organic protein whenever and wherever I can. I know it costs more . . . but I feel better about it and to be perfectly honest, we don't eat much red meat, it's only ever a rate treat. We eat mostly chicken or fish and that is only a couple of times a week. The rest of the time we do veg.
The other week I pick up some really nice free range organic Hereford Stewing Beef at a very good price. Hereford is known for being juicy, flavourful and tender. If there's one thing my Todd really loves, it's a good beef stew . . . him being the meat and potato man that he is and all. (Another reason I can't possibly go totally veg.)
I decided to make a Beef Daube with it. A daube is a southern French Stew, traditionally cooked for several hours in an earthenware dish. Normally they would never include parsnips in their daube, but I had a bag that needed to be used up and . . . since this is THE English Kitchen . . . and parsnips are a really English ingredient, I threw them in towards the end of the baking time.
Delicious . . . truly delicious.
We had this with creamy mashed potatoes. Todd was a happy man. It more than made up for the Pasta torture of the other night. ☺
*Daube of Beef*
This stew is delicious on the day, but if you can possibly wait, leave it to ripen overnight and it will taste even better the next day!
3 1/2 pounds of good quality stewing beef, cut into large chunks
2 ounces seasoned flour
3 TBS olive oil
8 ounces of bacon lardons
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp dried thyme
1 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 strips of dried orange peel *
3 TBS tomato puree
1 bottle of good red wine
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into fingers
salt and black pepper
Toss the beef with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 TBS of the oil in a large pan. Add the meat and brown well, doing it in batches if necessary. Don't let it burn. Scoop into a large casserole dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*F.
Heat the last TBS of the oil in the pan you browned the meat in. Add the bacon, onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring from time to time until it all begins to colour. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the red wine and bring it up to the boil. Add the herbs, the orange peel and the tomato puree. Pour this over the meat in the casserole dish. Cover and cook in the heated oven for about 2 hours, until the meat is very tender. Check it from time to time and give it a stir, making sure it doesn't go dry. Once the meat is tender, stir in the parsnips and continue to cook for another 40 to 50 minutes, uncovered, until the parsnips are tender. Tast and adjust the seasonings as desired.
*Note - I make my own dried orange peel. Whenever we have oranges I cut the peel off in large strips, avoiding as much white pith on the peels as possible. I string them up on a string and hang them in the laundry room until they are quite dry and leathery in texture. Then I store them in a clean, airtight jar. They will keep quite a while and add a wonderful flavour to stews and tagines.