I’m both happy and desperately sad that this recipe is only just reaching my blog now – over a year since its beginning. It is by far my favourite curry; it is so simple, yet absolutely rammed full of richness and flavour. Indeed, the spice list for this particular concoction may be a little shorter than that of other curries, but the quality brought to the dish by the beef is unrivalled. Not only is beef a far more pleasing ingredient to cook with than chicken breast, the most overrated cut of meat there is, the fat found in braising beef has the happy effect of thickening and enriching the sauce. When served with my recently posted mango chutney this is one recipe not to be missed, assuming you’re not a vegetarian.
While we’re milling around the subject of assumption, I thought you might all like to have a little whistle-stop update about my garden. Our cherry tree is reasonably close to bearing fruit, as is our strawberry plant. The apple tree is preparing itself for the growing of a preposterous amount of fruit, considering its size, and our runner beans are poking their green heads through the soil as we speak. Our three chickens are still thriving, though their eggs are far from cracking (my apologies). Indeed, perhaps they would best be described as three old spinsters desperately clinging to their primary function.
In other news, the Olympic torch stopped for the night in our town – today it leaves for north Wales before going on to England and then Scotland. I’m sure you’ll hear more from me regarding the travels of the least reliable eternal flame in existence, since Katherine’s dad is to be a torchbearer sometime in July (I think). How very exciting!
Anyway, back to the curry! One would assume that the beef is the one and only star of the show in this particular dish, that is not so. There is another extremely prominent flavour in the shape of seven or eight cardamom pods which succeed in accompanying the beef in immaculate fashion. Indeed, this really is a recipe which favours the cardamom lovers among you. If you’re not such a fan the pods may be omitted, but the curry will certainly be missing a rather special ingredient. Though, I can’t see how anyone could detest cardamom – please let me know if you don’t like it so I can castigate you severely.
Slow-Cooked Beef Curry
• 600g braising beef, cut into chunks
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 1 red pepper, finely sliced
• 1 green pepper, finely sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
• 2 fresh chillies
• A large knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped
• 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp chilli flakes
• 7-8 cardamom pods crushed
• 2 tins of peeled plum tomatoes
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• 1 beef stock cube
• Enough water to nearly cover the beef
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Fresh coriander to serve
1. Begin by mildly heating any non-stick saute pans which you have and frying the onions, cumin, chilli flakes, garlic, ginger, and cardamom in a generous amount of oil. After 5 minutes add the beef and cook until browned. Tip in the tomatoes, tomato puree, stock cube, water, peppers and fresh chillies. Cover and cook for an hour.
2. After an hour remove the lid and reduce slowly for a further 1-2 hours, depending on time constraints or urges. Once reduced right down, though far from dry, season to taste and serve with fresh coriander and rice.
Cost: As you all know, I am a big fan of the cheaper cuts of meat – they are simply perfect for dishes like this since they respond particularly well to a lengthy cooking process. Happily, and somewhat obviously, cheap cuts of meat are cheap, which makes this dish cheap. Indeed, dinner enough for six should set one back a trifling £7.20 – a mere £1.20 per portion!