Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas is over for another year, and the one we had was low key, austere almost. This year was just me and my parents for a couple of days so rather than stuffing the fridge full of various meats and then racing against time to get them poached / simmered / stewed / roasted and in our faces, we went for one centrepiece. Given we were to have one blow-out meal, it was a risk that we ordered online from a company we'd never used before but it paid off.

East London Steak Co. has a sleek, easy-to-use website and within a few clicks the Christmas beef was ordered. Customer service was great; originally I couldn't find the correct date for delivery and one tweet later I was told I would be emailed when my date became available. The meat arrived at my parents' place, neatly packaged with a Christmas card from the team and a calling card bearing the meat's provenance.

For our roasted bone marrow starter, we amalgamated two recipes; St John's famous parsley & caper salad accompanied the bone marrow shafts, but these were also smothered with caramelised shallots, an idea taken from the Hawksmoor At Home cookbook, my dad's Christmas present from me. The sweet onions worked beautifully with the sharp and herby salad, with the wibbly wobbly marrow smeared over a little bread.

What of the beef? The 1.5kg rib joint (around £30) was from a breed called Dexter and it was a beautiful deep ruby red. Well laced with fat, it was simply seared on both sides and cooked for an hour at 180 degrees then rested for 20 minutes in a warm place. The meat came out medium rare and was gorgeously beefy and well flavoured. The fat was divine. I am devastated I'm not around for the beef sandwich leftovers.

The gravy though was perhaps the best I've made so far. Again inspired from the Hawksmoor cookbook, it was sweet with onions and Madeira and enriched with some leftover bone marrow. By the end of the meal I was grabbing roasted potatoes, squashing them flat for more surface soakable area and dunking then straight into the gravy jug.

Madiera Gravy

Enough for 4

1 onion
6 fat cloves of garlic
1 carrot
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp plain flour
200ml Madeira
300ml beef stock / water
1 bone marrow shaft
Salt & pepper

Place your joint of beef on top of the onions, halved (but not peeled). Scatter the garlic cloves around and break the carrot in half and throw this in. Add a splash of water and roast your meat as you please.

When the meat is done, pour the fat out of the pan leaving about 1 tbsp. There should be some nice dark meat juices in there. Scatter the plain flour and stir well over a low heat. Add the Madeira bit by bit, stirring and amalgamating as you go. When all of it is added, add the water / stock and bring to the simmer. Add the bay leaves and simmer for a good 10 - 15 minutes. If it becomes too thick add a little water. Add the bone marrow and stir into the gravy - ours was already roasted so it slipped in easily but you can also put it in raw. Simmer for a further 10 minutes until it is as thick as you please, then taste, season with salt and pepper and serve.


Amy said...

That beef looks bloody gorgeous and I'll definitely be pinching that gravy recipe. We're a turkey on Christmas day family traditionally but a piece of beef like that would make me reconsider. Food envy!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Gorgeous! We had the ELSCo Dexter wing rib - absolutely divine meat!

Gin and Crumpets said...

That looks like a perfect Christmas lunch. Hawksmoor at Home is even higher on my list of desirable books than before.

Shu Han said...

looks like you had a delicious christmas! love the bone marrow shaft in your madiera gravy, I can imagine how rich and savoury it is, wouldn't mind dunking potatoes in it myself. we did turkey, but I'll be keeping this recipe in mind for any future roast beefs.

Camilla@Carluccios said...

Got the Hawksmoor At Home book for Christmas. Can't wait to try it out, especially after your pics!

Tesco Value Chef said...

Just spent a happy half hour drooling over the East London Steaks website, we'll definitely be test-driving that soon!

Hollow Legs said...

Amy - The gravy recipe is something special. Perhaps a Christmas eve beef ;)

Foodycat - Lovely isn't it? I'll be a regular from now on.

G&C - The book is really great; almost couldn't bear to give it away

Shu Han - It was quite rich, yes but it's Christmas after all! Do give it a go.

Camilla - lucky thing - it's a fantastic book.

Tesco Value Chef - Really well laid out, isn't it? And great unusual cuts.

The Greedy Fork said...

I was rather pleased with the turkey gravy I made this year. Had all the juices and the flavour of the cranberry and herb butter I'd rubbed underneath the skin.

miss south said...

Just looking at that gravy made me made me shudder with delight. I don't just need Hawksmoor at Home. I need someone to take me to Hawksmoor...

Ino said...

Brilliant Christmas menu! I ordered some steaks from East London Steak Co. for my friends as a present and they said they were the best steaks they'd ever had. I should get some for myself...

Dan said...

Frigging awesome Christmas meaty dinner with not a turkey in sight. Got to add my approval for the Hawksmoor at home book, it's tres uber.