BATCH COOKING – BEEF
The last time I visited the butcher’s shop where I grew up, I bought 2Kg of lean stewing beef for about £12.00. Now, that’s a lot of beef but I’ll get about 16 portions of food out of it at 75p a head for meat which is pretty good value.
I opted to batch cook two winter warmers, Beef Goulash and Beef Daube, both recipes are in the recipe section.
For the beef goulash, I started the dish on the hob in a large nonstick frying pan. I dry fried the meat in batches and softened the onion before throwing it into my slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients (except the peppers) and left it to bubble away all day. About an hour before dinner I added the peppers. I served it with some rice and broccoli on the side and a dollop of yoghurt. As I plated up the goulash l used old margarine tubs and large yoghurt pots to portion out the whole pot ready to freeze.
Mark and date the pots clearly and keep a list of what goes in the freezer to help keep track.
I then started on the beef daube, a classic Provençale stew. This recipe is from the Economy Gastronomy cook book where the principal is to cook one big dish and then to use the leftovers to cook a different dish. Check out the beef tagliatelli recipe at the end, it’s delicious.
In the frying pan, I dry fried the gammon, onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Added the bottle of red and left to reduce for 10 minutes. I poured the contents of the pan into a large roasting tin. Then lay the seasoned beef on top (no need to brown the beef) and cover with the beef stock. Put in the oven with the lid on (or covered tightly I tin foil) at 160°C for 1.5 hours. Take the dish out of the oven and test the beef by taking a piece of beef (blow on it to cool slightly first so as not to burn your fingers) between your thumb and finger. If it’s beginning to give a little, then it’s passed the tough stage of cooking. Put back in the oven with the lid off to reduce the sauce for 30-60 minutes. If not, put back in the oven with the lid on for another 30 minutes. Check again. This is lovely served with mashed potato and greens or a jacket spud and veg.
Portion up the leftovers for another day, or you could try this:
BEEF AND MUSHROOM TAGLIATELLE
For a taste explosion use some of the leftover daube of beef to make a lovely pasta dish, beef and mushroom tagliatelle (serves 2).
Add two portions of the beef to a large saucepan to start gently warming through. Add 300g sliced mushrooms and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime put your pasta on to cook. In a bowl make a tomato salad by chopping up 2-3 large tomatoes into small dice. Add chopped basil and parsley and 1 tsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of red wine vinegar. Season to taste.
Divide the tagliatelle and top with the beef and mushrooms and then the tomato salad. It tastes amazingly beefy, zingy and fresh at all the same time. A winner in my house.
So next time you have a spare morning why not get ahead of the game!