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2) Wintered Beef

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Article Originally Submitted 2003

In “Days of Yore” when meat was not kept in such refrigerated conditions as now, Spices were used to disguise the taste of the more “mature” joints.

One of my hobbies is Historical re-enactment, of the English Civil War period, 1642-1649. At that stage in English Culinary History, Chilli had not yet been widely introduced to Europe from South America, and so Pepper was the main Spice. Team that with Cloves, and Garlic, and you have some good strong tastes to “disguise” your gamy beef with.

However, this combination tastes incredible with Fresh Meat as well, so I share the recipe with you now.
Next Month, I will write up “Summered Beef” for you

  • 1 large topside of Beef (I think this is a “Round Roast” in the US) that the Butcher has rolled, with Fat included.
  • Whole Cloves
  • About ½ a bulb of Garlic
  • Whole Black Peppercorns
  • Bottle of Good (I like New World Shiraz) Red Wine

Take the Joint, untie it, and remove the fat. If it has not been sliced to roll it, do so, so that you have 4 exposed surfaces of meat, the Inside, and the Outside.

Fold a Large piece of Aluminium Foil (preferably “Turkey” size) in two, place ¼ of the Beef fat in the middle, with Some Peppercorns and a couple of bits of Squashed Garlic (Cut the Root end off, smash them with the Flat of a Knife to break them, remove the Skin) on it.

Push Cloves into the base of the meat at around 1 inch intervals all over, inside and out.

Put the joint on top of the Fat on the foil, and then finish pushing Cloves into the rest of the joint.

Throw Peppercorns inside the joint, and a few Crushed Garlic cloves, Put ¼ of the Beef fat on the inside, making sure that there is Pepper and Garlic on either side of it.

Close up the joint (You are not retying it, so this can be awkward), throw more Peppercorns at the outside, and place a couple more Garlic Cloves on top, then cover that with the remainder of the fat. Pull the foil around it to make an envelope, but before sealing the package, make the foil into a bowl, so you can chuck at least ½ the bottle of red over the meat. Preferably make sure you get it on the inside as well, by opening up the joint slightly.

Seal tightly, (If paranoid, do another layer of foil) then roast, at GM3, (170C, 325F) for about an hour and a half (allow for the size of your joint, roasting times are usually indicated on the labels).

Remove from the Oven, and allow to cook under its own steam until cool, and then refrigerate overnight

Next day, carefully unwrap and pour the juices into a saucepan.

Remove what is left of the fat slabs and discard (or keep to cook other things with), pick as many Cloves as possible out of the Beef and then slice it quite thick onto a Platter.

Add some of the Peppercorns, Cloves and Garlic from the meat to the juices. Add some more red wine (about a glassful) to extend the Stock, and then boil for about 10-15 minutes, to really get the Spices going. Add a little butter, and some Beurre Marie (Equal parts Softened Butter and Flour mixed) to the Sauce to thicken it when the Sauce has reduced by about 1/3. (To make this more LC, sprinkle in Xantham Gum instead of the Beurre Marie. You still want to add some straight butter though…)

Pour the Sauce over the meat and Serve Immediately!

This Roasting technique gives a rare, yet very tender and flavourful piece of Beef. To make it less rare, increase cooking time as per the label instructions, but still keep the heat low, I would guess 2 and a half hours for Medium, and 3 and a half for well done, but as I like my cow so that a good vet can get it back on its feet again in ½ an hour, I haven’t tried this!

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