Spring is beginning to spring here in Devon and although there's less of a biting cold, there's still definitely a nip in the air here in between the two moors.
Whilst preparations and building works continue for opening the restaurant, we are continuing to explore Devon's amazing larder. One of the things that there are here a plenty are butchers shops. Something of a rarity locally, back in London. The butchers here a knowledgable, helpful and don't scowl at you when you ask them to do something out of the ordinary like cut a piece of steak to order. It's refreshing!
They can tell you the provenance, the breed and how the meat has been aged. The butcher at Darts Farm who I visited ealrier this week had built a wall ( it's all the rage these days don't you know?) from pink Himalayan salt. Obviously this absorbs any moisture and drys the meat to perfection.
This week my choice of cut was Beef Short Rib, fabulous to slow cook and coupled with a good porter style beer at this time of year makes the most delicious bowl of Carbonnade de Boeuf.
4 large Beef Short Ribs
2 tbsp of plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper and herbs ( we used a tsp of dried herbs de Provence)
A large knob of butter
6 banana shallots, chopped in half
2 large carrots, chopped roughly
3 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
1 large bottle of local porter style beer
A pint of good beef stock
4/5 sprigs of thyme
Salt and freshly milled pepper
Pat dry the short ribs and put to one side. In a bowl add the flour and seasonings and mix together. Dredge each of the short ribs through the seasoned flour and shake off any excess.
Leave the flour to one side for use later. Next, in a heavy-based sauté pan add some of the butter and gently sauté the short ribs until they are browned all over. Remove them and place them in a large casserole or in your slow cooker.
Prep the vegetables then add to the sauté pan and move around the pan gently until slightly browned too. Add them to the casserole/slow cooker.
If you're cooking your short ribs in the oven then preheat at gas mark 3 /170c
Add the remaining butter and flour to the pan and whisk to form a roux then start adding the beer and stock. The gravy will thicken up quickly, simply continue to let it down with the beer/stock mixture until you have the right consistency but allowing for further reduction during the slow cooking process.
Add the gravy to the casserole/slow cooker and stir through the meat and vegetables. Season, add the thyme and place the lid on firmly. If you're popping it in the oven then 4-6 hours ( depending on the size of the ribs) on gas mark 3 /170c. If you're slow cooking then adjust to medium and cook for 8 hours.
Once cooked, serve up the beef with either roast potatoes or some fluffy mustard and garlic mash and some wonderful seasonal vegetables.
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