Being fussy about the meat I eat and having been impressed by their attitude on a previous occasion (more on this when I actually have some of their beef to cook), I was planning to get out to The Beef Shop in Maddington to buy the roast for this meal. Unfortunately, fate and a truck load of rocks on the Narrows intervened and I only made it as far as Claytons Quality Meats in South Perth, which turned out to be a bit of a gem. They are a tiny little butcher with only two small cabinets on display but are very happy to break something up for you, an attitude I really appreciate. They also had a couple of more unusual meats like rabbit, so if you’re into that, go and say hello. They were very good about me swinging in and asking for something ridiculous right before they closed up, so I’m sure they’ll treat you well. Would you believe they actually had an even bigger version of what I bought in the cabinet? And ours was already a serious piece of cow.
Roast beef with a red wine reduction
Bread (Abhi’s sourdough)
The beef, spinach, and red wine reduction don’t really deserve recipes.
Salt and pepper the beef and brown it, fat side first, in your very biggest frying pan. You’ll probably want two sets of tongs and a spotter to pull this off if your roast is as big as ours. Place it in a baking tray and roast in a moderate oven for about an hour a kilo. I can count the number of times I’ve eaten roast beef on my fingers so I’m no whizz at this and asked the butcher’s advice – if you have a favourite family method, use that instead. Next time I’d favour a hotter oven for a short period of time so the finished product is a bit rarer. Rinse and drain the spinach and add it to the roasting tray in the last few minutes of cooking so it wilts in the juices.
Set the roast aside to rest for a few minutes before carving.
The red wine reduction was a bit of a lazy job – half a medium onion, finely chopped (shallots were not to be had), two bay leaves, two star anise, a couple of peppercorns, and a bottle of red wine, simmered until syrupy and thick. I stirred through a bit of pan juices in lieu of the more traditional knob of butter, so it wasn’t exactly restaurant quality, but it was delicious.
Strain the solids out and serve.
Recipe – Mushroom Barley
200g shiitake mushrooms
50g dried forest mushrooms
1 star anise
1 c barley
500ml beef stock (I used the Stock Merchant – a great brand which supports small farms and uses free-range, hormone free animals, and consequently isn’t cheap)
2 egg yolks
This is an interpretation of the Barley recipe from Pleyn Delit – I’ll spare you the original wording, but you can check it out here if you choose.
Place the beef stock, star anise and dried mushrooms in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to rehydrate for half an hour.
Cut the mushrooms into quarters, or otherwise into meaty chunks if they are small.
About an hour before you want to eat, bring the stock back up to the boil and add the barley. Turn down to a simmer and allow it to bubble away for half an hour or forty minutes. Check that there is still plenty of liquid (if not, top up with some water) and stir through the shiitake mushrooms. Continue to simmer until the barley has been cooking for around an hour total and check for tenderness. If the mixture is very soupy, pour off a little of the liquid (add it to the wine reduction if you don’t want to waste it).
Remove from the heat and quickly stir through the two egg yolks until the mixture is creamy.
TBP – Yes you can see my toes. DealWithItNerd.
Don’t panic, we cut that in half after TBP took the photo. It was still too big for me to finish though. I’m pretty sure eating vegetarian most of the time shrinks your stomach (NB probably not actual science).