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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Beef Ulignano

Ulignano is the name of the little town that we stayed in during July for Pete's brother's wedding, in Italy. We stayed in a magnificent Villa with the entire clan and had the most enjoyable week spending time catching up with everyone. 

The day our moving boxes were transferred from Oxford to London, was the day I unpacked the entire kitchen and set to work! Having had to pack things up a week or so earlier, I was starting to itch for some real food again! Plus, we had bought a few new items which we were saving to use in our new kitchen, so I was excited to try out my new Le Creuset pot!! 

I have posted about the lemon drizzle cake that I made on one of the nights in Italy, and so thought I would post about a meal that Jane (Pete's eldest sister) made the night before the wedding, which I re-created on our first night in London. The "Recipe" may not be what Jane did exactly, as we were flying blind and I really can't remember exactly what went in, but trust me, this version is amazing!!!

525g Rump Steak
Red wine of your choosing!!
1 Large onion
8 Medium carrots
500g potatoes
2 x tins of canned tomato
2 Beef stock cubes
1 Packet fresh gnocchi
Salt and pepper

0. The best way to prepare this meal is to chop all your vegetables first, so that you can then just throw them in when needed. I like to have all ingredients about the same size so that they cook evenly and are easier to eat! For this dish, its quite a hearty meal and so I like the ingredients to all be nice and chunky, but still just one mouthful, its unsightly to keep half a piece of meat on one's fork!!!

Cut the steak into rough cubes, approximately 3cm x 3cm.

1. Lightly brown the onion in a tablespoon of oil in a heavy based pot, and then take off the heat and keep in a separate bowl. 

2. Sear the steak, browning all sides.

This isn't essential, but throwing 2 tablespoons of flour through the beef to give it a coating, will also help seal in the tenderness.

3. Add the red wine, however much you like, but certainly more than 1/2 a cup! (apologies for the rubbish photo, was pouring wine with one hand and photographing with the other, trying to keep the camera away from the steam....)

4. Add tomato, together with all chopped vegetables (including pre-cooked onion), stock cubes, salt & pepper, and stir to mix well.

5. Leave to cook for an hour or so, until the sauce has thickened and vegetables have softened. Stir every so often, but if it's on low enough heat, it should be fairly low maintenance.

6. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for about an hour. This method really helps to tenderise the meat so that it falls apart!

7. About half an hour from when you want to eat, turn the pot back on low and gently reheat the casserole, being careful not to burn the bottom.

8. In a separate bowl of boiling water, throw the gnocchi in and when it has floated to the top, spoon it out and transfer it to the beef concoction!

9. Stir the gnocchi well through casserole and serve immediately.

This recipe should really serve 4, but for us, it stretches out to a sizeable dinner each and lunch the next day only, at a stretch! Its just too good.... 

I've never been much of a stew/casserole liker in the past, but this one has well and truly changed my mind! Looking forward to having this over the cold winter that is fast approaching!!

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