How often do we go to nice restaurants and they have some kind of meat served with a “jus”. Sounds like something you’re only going to get at a pretty good restaurant – I mean a French sauce must take ages to make – right? Well, not exactly.
If you’re familiar with Uforic Food, you know that I love home cooking – flavourful casseroles, pastas and comfort food. Dishes that taste awesome, but that don’t have long, complicated processes or recipe lists. Well, that’s what I have tried to share because I love to share the kind of food I want to eat.
But, I do get cravings for meat and two veg, albeit it rather rarely. But, when I do embark on this kind of dish – I believe it needs to be served with a sauce. I hate dry food – it must be the partially French blood I have coursing through my veins.
Lamb with red wine jus
- 300gm piece of lamb backstrap (this is enough to servce two)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp of rosemary, finely chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Half a red onion, sliced
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1/2 a cup of beef stock
- 1 tsp of red current jelly
Place the lamb in a freezer bag and add the rest of the ingredients. Seal the bag and roll it around until the garlic and herbs coat the lamb.
Heat a heavy-based frypan over a high heat and add some olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add them lamb and cook for three minutes, before turning and cooking for a further three minutes, At this point add the chopped onions. Once the lamb is cooked (you might want to give it another minute on each side if you want your lamb medium to well done).
Place the cooked lamb on some foil, seal and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the wine to the pan and allow it to deglaze, scraping them brown bits left behind by the lamb. Add the remaining ingredients and turn the heat down – and cook until the sauce reduces to a syrup.
Once the sauce is reduced, take the lamb out of the foil and cut into largish pieces. Share between two plates and add the sauce on top.
I served this with creamy mashed potato (get my awesome recipe here) and some carrots, which I flavoured with some butter, honey and sesame seeds. It was a great meal and on the table in less than half an hour. Perfect.
As for a song – I have a soft spot for John Mayer – this is his track, City Love. I love acoustic guitar!
So, dear reader, in the comments section below, share with us what your favourite sauce is and why?
My mother’s maiden name – Le Raye – is a sure-fire clue that I have at least some French blood coursing through my veins.
As a nation that speaks such a beautiful language, has a deep appreciation for art, culture, wine … and, of course, food – I have always felt rather proud of this fact.
In saying that, French cooking is a tough business. There are often many steps in the process of re-creating this wonderful cuisine – so much technique and preciseness required. Non of this is really my strong point. I’m more slap and dash, trial and error – a slosh of this and a drop or two of that. I cook by building flavour as I go – adding a bit of this and that, having a taste and then adding something else wherever the dish falls short. I’m always thinking of the balance of the salty, sweet, sour and heat components of a dish and modifying as the cooking journey progresses.
So after finally watching the very famous movie, Julie and Julia – and of course as a tribute to my French heritage, I thought I’d give the famous Boeuff Bourguignon a go. Matt’s mum recommended a few recipes she had done in the past – and I had also seen it made on the French episode of Food Safari by Guillaume Brahimi. So, in typical Lisa style – a did a combination of all three. It was rich, had great depth and beautiful flavour. Very happy with my French crusade indeed! If you’ve never tried French cooking before, and even if you have, I promise this gem of a recipe will be a big hit and worth the effort.
- 1.5kg of chuck steak, cut into 2cm cubes
- 30gm of butter
- 2 tbs of oil
- 12 small onions, peeled but kept whole
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stick of celery, diced
- 3 rashers of middle bacon, diced
- 10 small button mushroom, remove stalks but leave whole
- 2tbs of brandy
- 2 cups of dry red wine
- 1 cup of port
- 1/2 a cup of beef stock
- 1/2 a cup of tomato puree
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 a cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of corn flour
Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy based casserole, which is suitable for the stove top.
Fry the meat in batches until it is browned. Set aside.
Fry the small, whole onions until they are becoming caramalised on the outside – set aside also.
Fry the bacon (use a little more butter and oil if required) until it is becoming browned, then add the carrot and celery. Add a pinch of salt and cook until softened – about five minutes.
Return beef and onions to the pan and then add the brandy over a high heat, to cook out the alcohol. You can flame it, if you like – just don’t burn down your kitchen!! 🙂
Add the wine and port and allow this to simmer for a few minutes before adding the whole baby mushrooms to the pan.
Cover and simmer over a low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Stir cornflour into the water and add to the pan, stirring as you go. Continue to stir as it comes back to the boil to avoid any lumps. It should thicken.
Serve with buttery mashed potatoes and some crusty bread to soak up the juices.
There you have it – an amalgamation of three recipes and I have to say, I was chuffed with how it turned out. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of whole onions – but it’s a major feature of the dish – so I went with it. It turns out that they tasted beautiful – they had taken up all the flavours of the sauce and had no sharp, oniony flavour about them.
I actually decided to turn mine off and the end of the 1.5 hour cooking process and once it cooled, popped it in the fridge overnight. I think this really improved the flavours as everything had a chance to meld. I re-heated it slowly on the stove and then once hot, completed the thickening process before serving.
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