Sometimes I feel my culinary repertoire is a bit limited. Every other dish I blog about is a lump of red meat, cooked for hours, in a thick sauce on a bed of mashed spuds. This creation is no exception, however along the way I learnt how to produce a clear stock (wow, gasp!).
As you can see this dish is booze heavy (well it was made during the ‘it’s the season to be jolly la,la,la,la, ha,la,la,la’). So you will need:
- A couple of pounds of skirt stewing beef
- a punnet of mushrooms
- a couple of onions
- a bunch of parsley
- a large (and I mean large) dash of JD
- A bottle of stout
- bay leaves
- home made beef stock
(For the dumplings you’ll need about 1 part of beef suet to 2 parts self-raising flour, with a bit of water to combine).
Now first off, the stock. Get some old beef bones (not too old, not green or anything) and put in a Dutch oven with some chopped veg, herbs and liquid (water, wine, port, sherry – anything really – not scotch or anything silly though):
Let that simmer away for a few hours. Meanwhile grab your skirt and cut into four big chunks:
Put them in a tub and cover with JD and stout. Leave to marinate for the same amount of time as you are bubbling the stock:
Once the stock is prepared sieve it into a jug; pretty cloudy, no?
Well let’s pass it through a paper towel and get rid of the nastiness:
It’s going to look much better now, right?
Wrong! It looks like I poured it through a bucket with a big hole in the bottom. Drastic action required; Get an egg. Separate and pour the egg white into the stock in a pan over a medium heat:
As the stock simmers the egg coagulates and something amazing happens:
The egg white draws out all the impurities and leaves a lovely clear stock!
I saw Raymond Blanc do this (you know, the French guy on TV who is always so happy and jolly you know he isn’t really).
Now what to do with this stock? Oh yes, ruin it by sticking it in a pot roast thing. Get your Dutch oven out again and fry off the meat:
Now fry up the onion and mushroom and add back the meat. Pour in some wine and stock and the marinade. Pop in the oven for a couple of hours at about 150 centigrade. Make the dumplings and pop them into the creation:
Cook for another twenty minutes. Then get out of the oven and add more red wine (after all, as my great, great Aunty’s dog said, ‘You can never have too much red wine’):
Continue to cook until any remaining booze has been drunk (sic) and then serve up:
But what is that skirt beef like? Let’s have a look inside:
Well it looks alright, but to be honest it was as tough as old boots – beef cheeks are miles better!