Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Long, Slow and Comforting

This is another of my childhood favourites and just wonderful for a cold autumn evening. We've had the fire lit for the first time and, now that the nights are really drawing in early, our thoughts turn to hearty stews, braises and casseroles. Karl's thoughts are mainly of pie, but that's not a seasonal thing, just a Karl thing! It does take a long time to cook, but there's very little preparation involved, so you can get on with whatever while it does its thang in the oven.

Try to get thinly-sliced 'sandwich'-type steaks, as you need to beat them out very flat. I have managed to do this with braising steak, by slicing it horizontally myself before proceeding with the usual method, but it's a bit of a faff, to be honest. You can also use half-and-half beef stock and red wine as the liquid (which is how my Mum does it), but I did it this way when I had no beef stock available, and we decided that we preferred it this way. You need some fairly plain starch to soak up the delicious gravy - I prefer baked potatoes as they cook, without intervention, alongside the casserole in the oven. I also need, need to have a substantial helping of green vegetables with this dish; broccoli tonight, but Savoy cabbage is also excellent.

Paupiettes of Beef

4 thin steaks (see above)
4 rashers unsmoked back bacon
mixed dried herbs
1 large onion, sliced
1 tbsp flour
300ml red wine

Beat the steaks out thinly. Lay one rasher of bacon on top of each steak and season with pepper. Sprinkle mixed dried herbs over each, then roll up tightly and secure with cocktail sticks. Heat some oil in a large casserole and fry the steak rolls until browned. Set aside, then gently fry the onion until soft. Add the flour and cook for a minute or so, stirring well. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil, scraping up any nice crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the steak rolls to he pan, cover and cook in the oven at 160°c for 1 1/2 hours.

Best served with another glass of red wine and a comfortable chair to collapse into afterwards!

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