Today marks the start of Great British Beef Week, an event which champions British beef.
Started by Ladies in Beef – a group of more than 150 farmers who aim to promote the British beef industry – it encourages people to eat beef as part of a balanced and healthy diet.
As a keeper of cattle, it’s true to say that I fervently believe that events like this are integral to helping support the farming industry and spread the word about the quality and versatility of British beef.
- Beef is a great source of protein
- It contains eight essential vitamins and minerals
- Beef is a wonderful source of iron – 70g of lean beef steak provides the same amount of iron as 1,700g of spinach
Here, we pride ourselves on having happy cows – they are grass-fed on pasture in the summer and in the winter they are fed on home-grown hay.
In today’s world, where farming on any scale is tough, it’s good to remind yourself why you do what you do. We keep cows to continue the tradition of farming, but more than anything else it is because we eat meat and we want to know the provenance of the meat we eat. We want to breed grass-fed cattle that have had a stress-free, content life and have been well cared for.
For us, it is important that we know this about all of the meat we eat. I’ve always been a meat eater and come from a line of farmers.
Let’s face it, humans have always been omnivores and meat helps to supply us with a rounded diet.
I get that this doesn’t sit easily with some people but that’s the joy of the human race – we are all different and we have the opportunity to make our own choices, and for me, it’s important that we respect that.
Although we have a constant supply of beef at hand we eat it as part of a varied diet together with other meats, vegetables, dairy and fish. And, if I’m buying other meats I try and always do so from my local butcher so I can see exactly which local farm the meat has come from. I want to respect my body by putting the best quality fuel I can into it – in terms of meat, fish and vegetables – but I also want to respect where that fuel has come from.
So, to mark Great British Beef Week, I will be cooking a different dish each day with our own beef and I’ll be writing about it and sharing recipes.
If you’ve got any questions about our beef or the recipes, just ask away. I’m aiming to use a range of different cuts to turn out both tried and tested dishes as well as a selection of new ones.
Today I’m turning to braising steak to make the French classic Beef bourguignonne.
The recipe I use involves three hours of cooking so I always make a large batch and freeze servings of it so on the evenings when we’ve had a long day at work I can defrost it quickly for a wonderfully rich and flavoursome supper.
I normally serve it with boulangere potatoes and garden peas…
- 900 g braising steak
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 450 ml red wine
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 350 g small/button onions
- 225 g smoked streaky bacon cubed
- 150 g chestnut mushrooms
- salt and peppe to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 140C
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large casserole dish and sear the beef until they are rich brown all over. You may need to do this in batches. As the meat browns remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon onto a plate.
Now add the sliced onions to the pan and cook until they start to brown.
Return the meat to the pan with the onions and sprinkle in the flour until it absorbs all the juices. Gradually add the wine, stirring all the time.
Add the garlic and herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Put the lid on the casserole dish and cook in the oven for two hours.
Just before the two hours is up, fry the button onions and cubed bacon in a frying pan until they start to brown. Add these and the sliced mushrooms to the casserole and cook for another hour.
I always serve beef bourguignon with boulangere potatoes and peas or a green salad.
This is my take on the French classic. I often make double the amount and freeze the rest. It keeps well and doesn't lose any of its intense flavour.