Willow Creek Beef Casserole in rich tomato sauce

Willow Creek Beef Casserole in rich tomato sauce

Shin of Beef, usually cut into thick slices with a bone in the centre filled with delicious marrow. There is lots of meat filled with connective tissue which needs long and slow cooking. The Italians use it for one of their iconic Osso Bucco. You’ll find it in the Belgian Boeuf Flamande – cooked with beer. I saw some lovely looking beef shin in our local Woolworths and thought I would take it home and make a dish out of it as winter kicks out and we move into spring. So the birth of Willow Creek Beef Casserole.

Willow Creek Beef Casserole in rich tomato sauce

What you’ll need
1.5 – 2kg beef shin cut into thick slices
3 large onions – thinly sliced
Willow Creek Nuy Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Willow Creek Garlic Infused Olive Oil
Willow Creek Jalapeno Infused Olive Oil
3 carrots – cut into small blocks
3 sticks celery – sliced
1 x 800g whole peeled tomatoes [Italian]
3 sprigs of thyme
good ½ tsp dried chili flakes – leave out if you use the Jalapeno Oil
250ml Beef stock, I use Nomu Fond
2 Tbs tomato paste, [I always use Italian]
buerre manié – equal amounts by weight of soft butter and flour, kneaded together
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you’ll do
Set the oven with its shelf in the middle at 180C.

In a large oven proof casserole flood the base thinly with Willow Creek Olive Oil, I like the Gourmet Squeeze and especially the Nuy Valley. Now, season that oil with Willow Creek Garlic Infused Olive oil.  You could also season with some Jalapeno infused oil, in which case leave out the dried chili flakes.

Now you can either brown the beef slices, or simply add them raw at the appropriate time. It takes time and I am not sure that the browning adds that much to the flavour.

In the medium heat oil, braise the onion until soft and transparent. Add the carrot and celery and stir fry for a while to heat them through. Now add the tomatoes, I usually mush them up in my hand to break the tomatoes up a bit. Or use 2 x 400g chopped tomatoes in tomato juice.  Add the thyme, the chilis, the beef stock and the tomato paste. Bring gently to the boil. Whether browned or not season the beef on both sides with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place them into the casserole and spoon some of the sauce over the top. Cover with a piece of kitchen paper against the surface of the meat. Leave for one hour at 180C, then drop the temperature to 160C. Allow to cook gently for at least three hours. Check each hour and add more stock if you feel the sauce is getting thick.

When the meat is tender, it may take longer, taste the sauce and reseason if necessary.

Serve this with a rice pilaf, a green salad and a loaf of focaccia.

Pilaf of Basmati Rice & Shimeji Mushrooms

This is the Pilaf recipe I use for a number of different dishes. Often without the mushrooms. I sometimes stir finely chopped parsley at the last moment.

Pilaf of Basmati Rice & Shimeji Mushrooms

The recipe is quite descriptive, and if you follow all the steps, you will have perfectly cooked rice. And I am using Spekko Basmati as my go to at the moment, it is very long grained and beautifully textured.

This is a great pilaf which I usually make in a stainless-steel saucepan with a tight fitting lid. The mushrooms are not an essential part of the dish.

What you’ll need
340g Basmati rice
100g unsalted butter
1 onion – chopped very finely
1 clove of garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
600ml water
150g Shimeji Mushrooms
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What you’ll do
Place the rice in a bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water.  Stir momentarily with a fork and leave to stand for ten minutes.  Pour into a sieve, drain and rinse under cold water.

Melt HALF the butter in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.  Add the onion and the whole garlic clove and let them sweat gently until the onion is transparent.  Add the rice to the pan, turning it over several times so that each grain is covered in the hot butter.  Add the thyme, two very good pinches of sea salt and 600ml cold water.  Bring quickly to the boil, stirring only a little, and reduce the heat to the lowest, cover and cook for 11 minutes. I usually put a heat reducing plates under the pot. Remove the pilaf from the heat after the 11 minutes.  Gently fork in the rest of the butter and stir it through the rice.  Cover and leave the rice to stand for ten minutes.

Serves 6

Penhill Saw Edge Peak 2014

Ideally a wine from the Nuy Valley should accompany this dish. We spent a fabulous mid week break in Pepper Tree Cottage on Penhill Farm recently. A bottle of their Saw Edge Peak, now vintage 2015, is a blend of all five of the Bordeaux standards and a perfect glass on its own as well as with full flavoured dishes like this one. Complex layered wine with bright fruit and all the wonderful aromas and flavours one would expect from a masterful blend like this one. Sappy juicy black berries, blackcurrants with cashmere clad tannins. Lovely long ending.

To read more about the Penhill Estate and its Wines – CLICK HERE

Read more about Willow Creek Olive Estate – CLICK HERE

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