Hubby suggested we have a "proper" beef curry - and I liked that idea. I liked it a lot more when I saw that the only day I could commit that kind of time in the cooking, was Sunday. I was looking for an excuse to not do a roast dinner for once!
Much as I love roast dinners, I was ready for a break - and making a curry was the perfect answer.
Having used Brisket of beef in two or three recipes just lately, I knew that Brisket would not only be the perfect cut of beef for the curry, but had the depth of flavour that would be required to stand up against the spice. There then ensued a lengthy discussion about how much Brisket to buy, to make a princely curry with enough beef in large chunks. We generally reckon that 400g of something is enough to make a dinner for three of us, however we were after a "princely" curry and 400g just didn't feel like enough. I was swithering between 500g, 600g and 700g - but hubby beat that by suggesting 800g! In the end, commonsense won and we opted for 650g - which turned out to be the perfect amount.
As usual, Brisket doesn't need a lot of trimming but I popped the trimmed bits of fat into a small roasting tray and cooked them alongside the curry, so that the fat would render down. I'm collecting the liquid fat in a container which I keep in the fridge, so that the next time I'm cooking roast potatoes, I'll have some lovely dripping to use. The dogs love the beefy crunchies that are left, too.
I cooked the Brisket for 2 hours in the oven - after flash frying to brown the meat - and then for another half an hour, once I'd added the baby corn. The pieces were as tender as could be, without an ounce of fat in evidence. The long slow cooking definitely agrees with the curry spices, too, allowing them time to amalgamate and the sauce time to thicken beautifully.
I ate the leftovers today, two days later - and I can confirm that the curry definitely improves over time. So, if you've two days where it can sit in your fridge - it won't do it any harm!
BEEF & BABY CORN CURRY (Serves 3-4)
A knob of butter
a tablespoon of olive oil (or vegetable oil, if you prefer)
2 onions, sliced
650g beef Brisket, trimmed of all fat and cut into cubes
sea salt & black pepper
3 cloves garlic, grated
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
a red chilli, chopped fine
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced finely
1 tsp dried Sage
2 tsp Garam Masala
4 tsp Madras curry powder
1 tsp ground Cumin
half a tsp ground Coriander
half a tsp finely ground Black Pepper
2 tomatoes, diced finely
400g tin of cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes, but cherries have a better flavour)
1 beef Oxo cube
1 tbsp tomato puree
8 baby sweet corn, broken into thirds
a large bunch of fresh coriander, chopped fine.
1. Heat the butter and oil in a deep sided frying pan and cook the onion, on a medium heat, until it is turning golden brown. It is good if some of the smaller pieces of onion are a darker brown, as this all adds to the flavour. Remove from the pan and set aside to keep warm.
2. Turn the heat up high and once the pan is hot, sizzle the meat in order to brown it. It is good to obtain some caramelisation on some pieces - you definitely don't want it to braise, so brown in two batches rather than overfill the pan. Season the meat just before it is finished. Place the meat into the casserole dish and put to keep warm.
3. Pre-heat your oven, to 160deg C.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and replace the onions into the pan - it is worth doing it this way around, as the meat takes on some of the onion flavour and the meat juices are amalgamated into the onions - and add the garlic, ginger, chilli, potatoes and sage and allow to cook through. It is important not to burn the garlic, but to have everything beginning to soften.
5. Reducing the heat again, add the Garam Masala, curry powder, Cumin, Coriander and Black pepper. Stir through and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
6. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir through and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes. They should be small enough that they are beginning to soften.
7. Add the tinned tomatoes, crumble over the Oxo cube and add enough water (I used the tomato tin) to achieve a good wet saucy mixture. Add the tomato puree and give everything a good stir.
8. Decant the sauce into the casserole dish and stir so that the meat is well covered and everything is combined.
9. Cover and place into the oven for 2 hours.
10. When the 2 hours are up, remove from the oven and give a good stir. Add the baby corn and make sure they are below the sauce level. If the sauce is looking a little thin, put back into the oven uncovered. Otherwise, cover and replace in the oven for another 30 minutes.
11. Just before serving, stir through three quarters of the chopped coriander - and save a quarter for sprinkling over.
Serve with white rice and a good dollop of thick plain yoghurt.