Stews and Casseroles become very popular as we go into the autumn but sometimes can look a little ordinary at a fancy dinner party. So I thought I show you a couple of “chef’s secrets” to make your casserole look much more fit for a king.
This process does involve some advanced planning (you need to cook the beef the day before you serve it) but the beauty of all casserole dishes is once they are ready, serving them is a breeze.
The Blade comes from the shoulder area which is called chuck/blade in the UK and Chuck in the US. Cut into individual steaks for braising they are called feather blade steaks, but you can ask you butcher to keep the blade in one piece to create the “fillet steak appearance”. The glutinous fibre that you can see in the steaks slowly melts when you cook it adding even more beef flavour to the dish.
1kg Blade of beef
3 medium onions peeled
2 peeled carrots
250ml red wine
1 head garlic
500ml beef stock
2 Tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1 dessertspoon olive oil
- Brown the blade of beef in a heavy large saucepan or oven casserole dish on a high temperature using the olive oil. Season the meat during this process.
- Roughly chop the onions, carrots and add them and continue to cook until the blade is sealed and brown.
- Now add the red wine, herbs, garlic and beef stock and bring the liquid to a low simmer and cover.
- You can either casserole in the oven at 190 C gas mark 5 or simmer on the stove until tender which will take 2.5-3hours. From time to time, you may need to top up the stock with a little water.
- Once the blade of beef is very tender gently remove from the stock allowing it to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Lay a sheet cling-film 40cm (16”) long out on a clean work surface, and then lay another sheet on top in an overlapping fashion to make the width 40cm (16”) also.
- Place the warm blade at the one edge and roll up the cling in a Swiss roll fashion. Now take the two ends of the cling film and roll the wrapped blade backwards and forwards to help shape into a uniform sausage-fashion, tightening the ends as you roll.
- Once you have a uniform cylindrical shape wrap with one more layer of cling film and tie off the ends.
- Now add the tomato puree to the stock and reduce until you have a sauce consistency, you can thicken with a little cornflour if you wish, then strain into a clean large saucepan.
Allow the blade to cool completely before slicing the blade into 4 thick steaks.
Root Vegetables & Fondant Potatoes
Make the 4 fondant potatoes by peeling 4 large baking potatoes, and then cut them into circles using a large pastry cutter. Remember to make the circle wide enough to sit the blade steak on it. Trim the circles so they have a flat top & bottom and are about 4cm (1.5”) thick. Cook the fondant potatoes
in stock and butter until they are brown and tender.
Cut Carrots, Parsnip, Swede, Celeriac and Sweet potato into even sized pieces. I blanch the vegetables in boiling salted water then roast then in a little butter and finish with a teaspoon of honey to give them a nice sheen and keep them warm.
Gently reheat the blade steaks in the sauce.
Use 4 large warm pasta bowls or plates and place a “steak” in the centre and coat generously with the sauce. Next arrange the roasted root vegetables and then place the fondant potato on top. Serve the remaining root vegetables & sauce at the table.