This gigantic hunk of beef left loads of change in my purse so it was patently obvious that braising steak is a mega cheap cut – but all I know about cheap meat is that you have to be careful how you cook it, or you end up with a meal that’s tough as old boots. So how to cook it? The other day, alas, not even Wikipedia could help me work out this Kitchen Bitch, what with its blackout whatnot.
So I had a bit of a burble around the rest of the internet and discovered that most recipes which call for braising steak require slow cooking. Now I’m a slow cook at the best of times – I love to linger in the kitchen over a glass of red and maybe a cheeky episode of EastEnders on BBC iPlayer while I cook, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that slow cooking aint about that. No, it seems to mean being sufficiently organised so as to allow about three days for your dinner to cook.
But just as I was beginning to conclude that cheap cuts of meat = false economy, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pull together my very own variation on beef bourguignon. Without the bourguignon. So basically just a slow-cooked stew of sorts.
I diced a red onion, chopped a few cloves of garlic, and threw them in my beloved Le Creuset casserole dish with a good old glug of olive oil. Next, I cut my bruiser of a piece of braising steak into hefty chunks and coated it in a few tablespoons of well seasoned flour. In a separate pan I gently browned the steak in a little more oil, and then added it to the Le Creuset.
This was an inopportune moment to discover that I didn’t have any stock cubes in the cupboard: I had planned to add a litre or so of stock to the beef but, determined not to be outwitted by a bit of steak, I improvised with half a sachet of fajita seasoning mix. As you do. Then I threw in a glass of wine leftover from last night – reluctantly, I might add, as I was looking forward to a little tipple later once I’d got the kids to bed, but needs must. Finally, I put the stew in the oven and forgot about it for a couple of hours, until the amazing smells wafting from my kitchen alerted me to the fact that dinner was ready. And all before midday! Serve with nothing but a smug glow…
Anyway, the verdict? Delish. And though I still don’t really know what braising steak is, I do know that cooking it for hours is not a bad idea.
Love, Feisty Mama x