Saturday, 10 January 2015
Sephardic Supper - Ottoman Style Braised Meat with Cannellini Beans
This recipe is from the most beautiful cookery book I possess - and cookery books are often a work of art these days anyway really, but this one really is beautiful. It's that beautiful that I don't want it splattered with ANYTHING. If you saw the state of some of my 'go to' cookery books, with little notes and the evidence of messy cooking, well, in one way it's quite reassuring of a wonderful collection of recipes, but when I cook anything from this book, it's positioned at the other end of the room from the cooker, for fear that it being any nearer will result in it being in line of a random splatter or mucky fingerprint.
So, I maybe should tell you the name of this cookery book seeing as I have bigged it up in such a way. It's called 'Stella's Sephardic Table' and I spotted it in a book shop a few years ago just before Christmas. It was a revelation - not only was my ego interested as the cover bore my name, but its gold lettering and its origins on the Greek island of Rhodes, coupled with visions of antique maps, and elaborate scroll like writing had me hooked. I wanted it from Christmas, but it was too late to do much about it, so I asked for it for my birthday instead and lo and behold, I was very, very fortunate. (Thank you Phill! xx)
I should probably also say that this is the biggest cookbook I have ever owned. Big and beautiful.
Anyway, I shall cut to the chase. Seeing as the days are getting colder and I am a big fan of a one pot wonder, I was really tempted by this wonderful recipe which hints at warm, exotic origins and can blip away doing its thing whilst I am doing my thing. I sometimes think I should rename this blog 'One Pot Wonder' because there are so many of them on this blog, but I would find it hard to find anything more satisfying to sit down to after a cold day outside.
Ottoman Style Braised Meat with Cannellini Beans, adapted from 'Stella's Sephardic Table' by Stella Cohen
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad and three others
2 tbsp. olive oil
1kg of braising steak cubed or other stewing cut, cubed or cut into bitesize pieces
1 marrow bone (probably optional, available from butchers, Waitrose or Ocado, which is where I got mine)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 leek, washed, white part only, sliced
1 celery stalk (and leafy top, if you like) sliced finely
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of parsley
500ml chicken stock
Two tins of cannellini beans
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan over a medium high heat. Add the beef and cook in batches. I put the marrow bone in to and kept it in the pan to leech its wonderful bone marrow into the pan as the beef browned. When the beef is browned, remove to a plate.
Now add the onion, the leek, the celery, bay leaf and parsley sprigs to the pan. Cook until everything is softened and picking up the beef residue from the pan. Return the browned beef to the pan. Add half the stock and bring to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently for an hour or so, or until the meat is tender. Keep checking and add hot water if necessary.
Stir in the beans, the tomatoes, sugar, thyme sprigs, red pepper flakes and pepper. Pour in the remaining stock and bring to the boil once again, cover and reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, but keep checking.
Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the salt and lemon juice and discard the herbs. It might be that you want to thicken the sauce and if that is so, remove the lid and increase the heat so that the sauce reduces. When it is at the consistency, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve in huge bowls!