BEEF

 

They all zot down, in two long ranks,

Along a teäble board o’ planks,

Wi’ uncle at the top.

An’ there, in platters, big and brown,

Were red fat beacon, an’ a roun’

O’ beef with gravy that would drown

A little rwoasten pig;

Wi’ beans and teäties vull a sack,

An’ cabbage that would meäke a stack,

An’ puddens brown, a-speckled black

Wi’ figs, so big’s my wig.

From Harvest Hwome by William Barnes (1801-1886) in Dorset dialect.

 

 

CHILLI CON CARNE  (for 6)

There are many varieties of this dish, which is said to go back to 1519 when the Aztecs were about to enter into battle with the invading Spaniards and prepared a dish of tomatoes, chillis and salt, expecting to be able to add the flesh of the Spaniards as the meat element after the battle.

It freezes well. If cooking dried beans from scratch rather than using cooked tinned ones, about 250gr dried beans will be needed. Add some herbs and an onion studded with cloves to the bean cooking water to give them a good flavour.

500gr (two 400gr tins) cooked red kidney beans

900-1100gr lean minced beef (minced steak)

2 onions, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped

1 green pepper, deseeded and fairly finely chopped

3-4 red chilli peppers, deseeded and chopped

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon tomato puree

olive oil, salt

Soften one of the chopped onions and two of the chopped garlic cloves in some olive oil. Stir in the cumin and cook for another minute or so. Then add the minced meat and brown it thoroughly. Liquidise the remaining onion with the chilis, the red pepper, remaining garlic clove and a little water. Add this mixture, together with the chopped green pepper and some salt, to the meat. Simmer covered for 2 hours, adding more water if it gets too dry (it should be moist but not too soupy). Finally add the tomato puree, kidney beans and sugar. Cook for a further 10 minutes and serve.

 

OXTAIL IN MUSTARD SAUCE  (for 2)

1 oxtail, in segments

1 onion, peeled and chopped

6-8 white mushrooms, sliced

1 heaped tablespoon flour

1-2 tablespoons light cooking oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 dessertspoon tomato puree

1 tablespoon French mustard

approximately 500ml stock

2 tablespoons soured cream

salt, pepper

Brown the oxtail in the oil and remove to a fresh saucepan. Add the onion to the oil and soften without drowning. Put the onion in with the oxtail, and add the tomato puree, salt, pepper and just enough stock to cover. Simmer gently, covered, for 4 hours. (Up to this stage it can be done in advance and reheated.) Remove the oxtail from the liquid and keep warm. Skim the fat from the top of the liquid with kitchen towels. Cook the mushrooms in the butter until their liquid has evaporated. Stir the flour into the mushrooms, and then slowly stir in the oxtail liquid to make a thin sauce (add extra water if necessary). Whisk in the mustard, add the oxtail, heat through and stir in the sour cream. Serve with boiled potatoes.

 

 

1. Sirloin; 2. Rump; 3. Aitchbone. 4.Buttock; 5. Mouse-round; 6. Veiny piece; 7. thick flank;

8. Thin flank; 9. Leg; 10. Fore rib (5 ribs); 11. Middle rib (4 ribs); 12. Chuck rib (3 ribs); 13. Leg of mutton piece; 14. Brisket; 15. clod; 16. Neck; 17. Shin; 18. Cheek.

(From Mrs Beeton's Household Management 1893)