I feel as if I am perhaps eating too much meat this month, but the cold, snow and ice of the past weeks make this feel appropriate somehow.
Lamb and chicken tagines, casseroles and even a stuffed cabbage with some mashed potato, couscous or other grains to soak up the juices.
A risotto made with garlicky Toulouse sausauges, pushed out of their skins then lightly browned and set aside on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat whilst you brown an onion, then add the rice + warm chicken stock; finish off with salt + pepper and some finely sliced green cabbage added towards the end of cooking + freshly grated Parmesan. A wonderfully simple, warming dish which does rely on good quality sausages!
We also recently ate some amazing venison sausages from Cowdray Park farm shop, part of the polo club estate near Petworth; they rear and butcher their own meat and also run a very good cafe.
Sunday’s braised Aberdeen Angus sliced leg (made the day before) was not a particularly liquid stew, but one where the meat was coated in a thick, glossy gravy.
This is what I used:
just under a kilo of sliced leg (you could use feather steak although this is a bit drier)
1 tbsp of plain flour for dredging
1 tsp of ground chilli
1 tbsp of Colman’s mustard powder
pepper + salt
2 onions, cut in eights
4 garlic cloves, halved lenghtways green shoot removed
1 tbsp tomato puree
4 bayleaves, dried is fine
couple of bushy sprigs of fresh thyme
2 glasses of good red wine
This what you do:
Put the meat in a plastic bag with the flour, chilli, mustard poweder, pepper + salt.
Seal it and shake until all the meat is covered.
Warm a small pat of butter and a little oil in large a non-stick frying pan.
Lower in the meat, in batches if necessary, and brown gently.
Remove to a casserole dish and add the onions, garlic + bayleaves to the frying pan.
Brown over low heat in about 10 minutes, then add the thyme, tomato puree + wine.
Bring to a simmer and pour over the meat in the casserole.
Braise over low heat, with barely a bubble breaking on the suruface, for about 2 hours.
Cool + chill till needed; this actually improves the eating quality of the dish.
Scrape off any fat that has formed the surface + gently reheat when ready to eat.
Whilst the casserole is reheating, add 2 tbsp of mustard: one smooth Dijon and 1 wholegrain.
Not essential, but I like to add roughly chopped parsley just before serving; it gives a fresh note and adds useful amounts of vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.
Serve with mashed potatoes or 1/2 celeriac/butternut squash 1/2 potato. made with a glug of hot milk, pepper + salt + freshly grated nutmeg + small pat of butter.
Any green winter veg is delish with this!
Go on, tuck in…..