Thursday, January 30, 2014

Red Wine Sauce

Been rather busy this month with little opportunity to cook at home. My second post this month/year is a sauce recipe. This is a great sauce to go with your meats for your home cooked meals. It can keep a while in a fridge too. It does require some time but its rather simple to do. 
Beef Tenderloin with Mash and Red Wine Sauce
Makes about 2-3 cups of sauce.
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh Italian parsely
1 litre beef stock (Store bought is fine)
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 cup port
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
Butter/cooking oil for frying
Salt to taste

Ingredients for the Roux
1.5 tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. In a large saucepan, heat cooking oil/butter over medium heat. When oil/butter is hot enough, add the carrots, onions and celery. Fry until the vegetables start to soften and the onions start to become translucent, about 3-5 minutes. then add in the tomato paste and fry for another 3-5 minutes, mixing well. (This is to remove the tartness from the tomato paste)

2. At this point, add the wine and port. Mix well and allow to simmer over low heat until the liquid is reduced by about a third.

3. Then add the stock, thyme, peppercorns and parsley. Mix well and allow to simmer very gently over low heat for about 30 - 45 minutes. Then strain and discard the solids. Then allow the liquid to simmer over medium for about 45 minutes. until reduced by half.
(Note: the further you reduce, the more intense the flavour will be and you will get a fuller texture but do note, if you use store bought stock, there is most probably salt in it, so taste as you reduce.)

4. During the reduction, you can start with the roux. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, when its fully melted and starts to froth, add in the flour and stir well. with a wooden spoon or whisk, keep stirring gently. You should get a thick paste. When the raw taste of the flour is cooked out, you have what is call white roux. We want a brown roux for this sauce so you want to cook it further, stirring frequently until the paste becomes brown with a nutty flavour.

5. Add the roux to the pot of reducing sauce and mix well. Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes and it should be ready to serve. Season with salt to taste, although I am of the opinion that salt is not required if the store bought stock has salt in it.

Goes great with beef and pork. Especially if you are serving roast beef.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mashed Potatoes

Happy New year people. Work has been a little busier, so took a backseat for few weeks. Hence my first post for 2014 appears only now.  Today's post is for a mash potato recipe.
I think the key to the mash potato picking the right potatoes. I was taught that using the waxy potatoes will help in making the mash lighter and less starchy and gooey.

Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients for 6-8 servings
500 grams of waxy potatoes - washed and peeled.
125 grams of unsalted butter - cut in 1-2 cm chunks and removed from the fridge to allow to rise to room temperature
1/2 cup of milk
Handful of chives for garnish.
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the potatoes. There are 2 ways to do so, boil them in water until soft enough for a fork to pierce through, or wrap in foil and bake in an oven at 160 degrees for about 45 mins.

2. When the potatoes are cook enough to handle, mash the potatoes either a traditional hand masher or a potato ricer. (I learnt the hard way that you do not want to put them in a food processor or blender)

3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the potatoes and butter. Then add milk gradually for better control over the texture.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chives. Serve with your favourite protein.
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