So my final dish in this three course dinner feast is a melt-in-the-mouth beef dish with a twist on the usual mashed potatoes. I was thinking that since tomorrow’s Father’s day this menu would make an excellent surprise lunch for Dad. So if you’ve got time, duck over to the markets and pick up the ingredients to make his day special.
This one’s a slow-cooker but the great thing about it is that it can be precooked and simply heated when your guests arrive. Simply pop it into the oven for half an hour to warm through. Braising-cuts are generally inexpensive and are succulent when meltingly-tender (one of my favourite Jamie Oliver phrases) and falling of the bone. Rather than regular mashed potato, make use of the other fantastic root vegetables out there, and try this carrot puree instead. Once again, special thanks to Rosemarie Cruz for the photography and to Grapeshot Magazine for publishing it in the fifth issue.
900g MSA approved gravy beef
750 mL Cabernet Sauvignon wine
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped finely
250mL beef stock
400g carrots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp thickened cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
Marinate the roast beef. Combine the beef, wine, garlic, herbs and stock in a glass bowl. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight for 8 hours.
The day of the party place the beef and marinade in a large stainless steel pot with a tight-fitting lid. Reserve the foil to cover the beef later. Cut a square piece of baking paper, scrunch it up and place it into the pot above the beef. This technique is known as cartouche. It allows the beef to cook both in its own juices, as well as much faster. Place the lid on and cook the beef on a low flame for 3-4 hours, or until the beef is tender and easily pulls apart.
Remove the beef from the pot and place on a plate. Discard the herbs. Cover with the reserved foil to keep warm. Heat the sauce on a medium heat till it is thickened and is the consistency of pouring cream. Stir the pot so that it doesn’t burn.
Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the carrots and cook till they are softened. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in a heatproof blender, with the cream, till smooth. Alternatively you can mash it all together with a potato masher. It won’t be as smooth but it will still taste great. Season with salt and pepper.
When ready to serve slice the beef into four portions. Place a spoonful of carrot puree on each plate and sit a piece of beef on top. Drizzle with the sauce and serve.
Enjoy a fine evening with some fine food and company.
My top 5 tips for throwing the perfect dinner party:
Plan ahead: Make a list of all the things you need and buy them at least 2-3 days before the party.
Cutlery and Crockery: You don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy plates. Borrow a set from mum or check out your local op-shop. You can get antique cutlery for a very good price.
Fresh is Best: Use the best quality ingredients that you can afford. Trust me on this, the food will taste great.
Spend time with your guests: Do as much of the prep beforehand so that you can actually get to talk to your guests. You can also ask them to help you set the table or dress the salad while you wait.
Have Fun: It’s okay if there are a few dilemmas in the kitchen. Just remember to keep laugh them off. A stressed host makes for stressed guests.
Writer’s note: A version of this article was first published in Grapeshot Magazine Issue 5|Volume 5| Memories.
Keep Smiling and Happy Cooking,
Brendon D’Souza a.k.a. The Smiling Chef 🙂