Recipes, Insight, Theory and Every Day Management for Students, Ships Cooks, and those with an interest in Marine Catering Operations.
Here we look at an alternative method of preparing braised beef, which guarantees tender succulent meat every time.
Braised Beef or Steak.
Braising is a slow moist method of cooking tougher joints and pieces of meat, this technique is both simple and efficient and produces a great end product from an otherwise inferior cut of meat, sauces are richer and the meat will be tender and succulent. I always braise my beef pie filling (Let me rephrase that, “this is” Steak Pie Filling, I always make extra so that I have some left over to make steak pies.) then thicken up the sauce to make it suitable for a pie. The technique I have used for this recipe moves away from anything you have most likely been taught by anyone else as this is a production technique used for efficacy of time and space when producing large volumes, Any chef will tell you that when braising steak to fry the meat in order to brown it, this is of course true, however if you need to produce braised steak for 300 or 500 portions that could take quite some time. I have worked in many big catering operations during my career and sometimes efficiency and time have to take precedent over style or the status quo, also with fast efficient and accurate Rational ovens at my disposal I am able to brown large quantities of steak simultaneously and without the use of additional fat.
Select any piece of topside or rump and remove as much of the fat and sinew as possible, the meat can be diced or cut to any size eg 15mm thick slices.
Season and brown the meat, browning can be done in a number of ways, in a hot pan, on a griddle or if you have a good hot oven, you can brown very efficiently as I show in these images here. The meat is placed on shallow lightly oiled gastronome trays and seasoned.
Pre heat the oven to 220°C and put the trays of beef in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until you feel the meat has reached a suitable degree of browning. When you take the meat out of the oven your meat will be browned and the tray will have meat juices which we will use in our sauce.
While the meat was browning prepare a suitable pot for the oven which has a lid. Take some beef stock a spoon full of Tomato Puree and good knob of butter, a splash of Worcestershire sauce salt and pepper, add your onions and bring to the boil. Taste for seasoning and flavor but do not correct the seasoning fully at this stage as we will be adding seasoned beef to the pot shortly. Using a normal technique I would fry my onions with the stake in a brat pan to brown and add flavour.
Adding Meat juices to the beef stock.
Transfer the browned meat to pot with your beef stock and ensure the meat is covered with stock and place in a slow oven at approximately 150ºC and cook until tender which will depend on the size of the cuts of meat, but 2.5 to 3 hours should be sufficient.At this stage we are cooking our beef in a beef flavored stock, with no thickening this is done so as to ensure the beef becomes tender and we can create and finish the sauce later, if we use a thickened sauce at this stage this may retard the tenderizing process and take much longer to become tender, especially if using a tougher joint of meat, such as silverside and some joints of topside, taking frozen meat from different ports you can never be quite sure of the quality.
Test you meat after 2 hours if tender remove from the oven and using a spider pick the meat out of the stock and place in a clean container and keep warm. Put the pot with the beef stock back on the stove bring to rolling simmer and correct the seasoning and consistency using a Roux, Beurre Manie or Cornstarch to create a rich thick sauce.
Meat in a clean tray.
Pour the corrected finished sauce all over the beef ensuring all the beef is coated in sauce, and serve garnished with chopped parsley.
Here is the whole process in pictures showing the frying the beef in a more customary manner in a brat pan.