The Last(est) Supper of 2018

Featuring my favorite meat – beef – and some usual vegetables. I found a dish online, paleron de boeuf aux olives. Basically a beef stew with olives. That translation does not give credit in any way to the tastes and aromas of this dish. Most stews have their origins with the host countries’ peasants who have to cook frugally with the most meager of ingredients.

This dish on the other hand, can’t be said to be frugal nor meager. I used sirloin steaks instead of the oyster steaks suggested in the original recipe. My bar does not stock Pernon so it was very flat Champagne. This is a decadent dish but can be made with what’s at hand and is a great winter warmer utilizing the Christmas leftovers.

My Way

For my version I heated a large Dutch pan with 1 1/2 pints of hot water, bringing to the boil. Adding 5 crushed cloves of garlic, a large dollop of French mustard, 3 cloves, large (2tbs) Majoram, 4 Bayleaves and two beef stock cubes. Whilst the pan was warming I was preparing the meat and veg. For the veg, its a whole fennel thinly sliced, a sweet potato, potato, courgette, parsnip, 2 stalks celery, 2 onions (whole). Mostly coarsely chopped for the veg. The meat was sliced into cubes, and as the pan boils the meat goes in first, followed by the veg, and stirred. I allowed the heat rebuild to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer. Periodically give everything a good stir. But otherwise leave well alone – this dish takes time.

About an hour in I added the champagne and a punnet of whole white mushrooms, edamame beans, black olives and more stock reduced from a joint I had roasted. (Cornflour is ok if a thickener is needed).

Cooking time is a minimum 31/2 hours. 5 is better and for the best make the day before, as with all stews, the older the dish, the better the taste.

Use the stock from a roasted beef joint

On the side

Gazing into the fridge I noticed a whole white cabbage. I love cabbage but can never serve it as good as my mother, aunt or grandmother. Whether I go for the wonderful savoy or the mundane white – its ok but not fantastic. I enjoy sauerkraut so having a sharp taste on my plate isn’t an issue.

I tried something completely new for me, a creamy, sharp cabbage. I halved and quartered the cabbage using only a half. Removing the rooty centre I sliced the cabbage thinly. In a large saucepan I warmed sufficient water to cover, added a chicken stock cube, salt, & pepper. I allowed the cabbage to simmer for 15 minutes or so. Tender, but not mushy. Still a hint of crisp. The Italians have a word for it. So go google it. Then you’ll learn how to prepare your veg properly!

Next I drained the liquid, and returned the cabbage to the same pan adding about 250mg of low fat Fromage Frais, Dijon mustard, thinly chopped coriander and black pepper. Thoroughly mixing – I mean treat it as a work out; get seriously mixing. Before serving immediately with the sweet, luscious stew.

Au Revoir 2018… Bonjour et Bienvenue 2019

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