Mango Menus' Meaty Mains
Slow-Cooked Short Ribs in Merlot
Here is a good Sunday night stew to warm the cockles of your heart. Comfort food at its best. Some NZ short ribs of beef (from Mie Mie Fresh) slow cooked in a young & fruity red wine with root vegetables, soaked up with some warm crusty bread. Perfect family dish for a cold wintery evening, as you can remove the bones and purée a portion of it into soup for young children.
What you need:
1.5 kg short ribs of beef (email firstname.lastname@example.org; currently selling these at $185/kg)
1 knob of butter
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
Small pinch of cinnamon
Tablespoon of fresh/dried thyme
Tablespoon of tomato purée
1 jerusalem artichoke/sweet potato or 2 parsnips
Half a bottle of Merlot (or Pinot Noir, Sangiovese or anything young & fruity!)
1 pint of beef stock - homemade or if bought, we prefer Bovril
White crusty bread
Handful of parsley
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Roughly trim the fat from the ribs and chop them in between each bone. Heat a large pan (big Le Creuset casserole one is ideal) and brown them for a few minutes. No need to add butter/oil to the pain - there is no doubt still a bit of fat on them. Then set the meat aside and season with salt, pepper and the tiniest ever pinch of cinnamon. Do not go overboard on the cinnamon or the whole thing ends up tasting of apple pie.
Without cleaning the pan, cook the onions and garlic until soft, adding a little knob of butter if required. Then return the meat to the pan along with the peeled and chopped root vegetables, tomato purée, thyme, wine and stock. Ensure all the contents are well covered with liquid, so add more hot water if required, then bring to the boil. Once boiling, transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours with the lid on, or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.
If there is a fatty layer on top when it is done, you can remove this by laying a sheet of kitchen paper on top and letting it absorb the fat. Repeat this until the shine has gone. We used 5 sheets.
Heat some white crusty bread in the oven and dip hunks of it into the juices. Put your feet up and pour yourself a glass of what remains of the Merlot....
Bloody Fillet Teriyaki Style
A teriyaki beef fillet is a welcome change to an English roast with herbs & mustard, or, have I lived in Asia too long?! Anyway, here is a quick and easy family dish, simply accompanied by some rice and stir-fried vegetables. Just don't murder the meat as it's not a cheap cut, although you may prefer it more cooked than in this photo - my husband is a Scottish carnivore so likes it to moo on the plate. The sweetness of the teriyaki appeals to kids, as just proven by my 1 and 2 year olds, so just cut off the more well done bits and mix with the rice and veg for them.
Make a teriyaki marinade with by mixing the ingredients below and steeping the beef in it for a few hours, remember to turn it occassionally.
Preheat the oven to 200c. Heat a pan until it smokes then add a little peanut oil. Sear the beef on all side to keep the juices in. Keep the rest of marinade for later. Then place on a tray/shallow dish in the oven for 15-20 minutes per 500g for bloody as in this photo.
Once cooked, let it rest for 10 minutes, covered with tin foil or a tea towel. Cook your rice and stirfry the vegetables during this time.
Once ready to serve, heat the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and pour over the meat, rice & vegetables.
Serves 2 adults and 2 small children.
What you need:
500g beef fillet. The above was from the Three Butchers.
1 dessert spoon of peanut oil
1 cup of mirin
1 cup of soy sauce
1 dessertspoon of sake
1 inch cube of ginger, peeled and grated
2 dessert spoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 cup of white rice
Rainbow vegetable stir fry of courgette, carrot (both ribboned using a vegetable peeler) and a quarter of a red cabbage, stir fried in sesame oil and garlic.
Rack of Lamb in a Herby Crust
My husband returned today from a 10 day business trip (well one that managed to span two weekends in Europe anyway...) and I can tell you now that if I served any dish with the word "superfood" in the title, he may well be back on that plane. I therefore went for a classic rack of lamb adapting a Gordon Ramsay recipe and used a NZ grassfed French cut rack from MM Fresh.
What you need:
Rack of lamb to serve 2 people. This one weighed 390g and is from the NZ supplier MM Fresh.
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 slices of white bread
100g of Parmesan
1 small bunch of coriander
1 small bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
2 rosemary sprigs (leave the thick wooden stem)
2 tablespoons of Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Criss cross the fat on your lamb rack then sear it for a few minutes on each side. Then place in the oven on a medium shelf for 10-15 minutes. Ensure the lamb remains springy to the touch.
To make the crust, place the bread, Parmesan and herbs in the blender until they resemble fine crumbs. Then fold in the olive oil which helps it cake together and stick.
Remove the lamb from the oven and cake it with the crust then fry it in the pan for a few minute until golden.
Accompany with tomatoes roasted on the vine and string sweet potato fries.
Serves 2 adults
Green Peppercorn and Porcini Sauce for Steak
I had once, in HK, the privilege of a private dinner cooked in my neighbour's flat by Francois Latapie, Director of Operations for NYC's Bistro Bagatelle. He prepared a simple yet flawless and unforgettable dinner including steak au poivre. The next day most of those present rushed out to hunt down the elusive green peppercorn, the key ingredient in any self-respecting pepper sauce. While I can't claim to have matched his finesse, I have had about 7 stabs at it since then and frankly this was the only one worth writing about!
It's relatively simple to make and can be prepared ahead of time & reheated so you don't have to worry about buggering up your steak cooking times, and it is gluten-free. We poured it over grass-fed ribeye steaks and sauteed potatoes...
What you need:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoons green peppercorns (sold at Great Food Hall)
1 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1/2 cup beef stock
1/8 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoons Brandy/Cognac/Mushroom
1 teaspoon onion salt
3 teaspoons corn starch
Serve with steak, sauteed potatoes and French beans.
Place your porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup boiling water. Allow them soften to while you prepare the rest.
Put your green peppercorns on a chopping board, and using the back of your spoon, smash them. It's quite a satisfying activity, a bit like popping bubblewrap!
Melt your butter in a pan, then add the green peppercorns and cracked black pepper, stirring for around 30 seconds.
Add the wine, Brandy and beef stock and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove your porcini mushroom from the water they are in, and pour that water into the pan too. Chop your porcini finely then add them.
Add your cream and allow the sauce to simmer gently for another 5 minutes.
Place your onion salt with the corn starch into a bowl and add 3-4 teaspoons of water until the corn starch is mixed through properly. Then whisk it into the pan.
Salt to taste. Pour immediately over steak or let it sit until you need it. Or wait until it cool and refrigerate for a couple of days.
Serves 2-3 adults
Lamb Pot Pie
This is a simple lamb stew to which I applied a puff pastry lid for the last 45 minutes of cooking to create a pot pie. Normally it's best to use the fattier lamb shoulder for such a dish, but you can use large chunks of a topside mini roast to create a lower fat alternative.
What you need:
2 tablespoons plain flour
Salt & pepper
500g lamb topside mini roast or shoulder, available at MM Fresh.
1 onion, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into pieces twice the size of your lamb cubes
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped as above
2 carrots (ensure your volume of vegetables matches that of your lamb or adjust the ratio according to your preferences for meat & veg), as above
1 pint of beef or lamb stock
2 tablespoons Marsala wine (or port/red wine)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
10g fresh parley, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 180c.
Grind a little salt and pepper into the flour. Cut your lamb into large cubes then toss it in the flour.
Melt your butter in a large casserole dish and cook the onion for around 5 minutes until soft. Add the lamb and brown the meat.
Once the meat is browned, add the stock, Marsala, potatoes and vegetables. Ensure the liquid covers everything. If it doesn't, add a little water.
Add the rosemary and bring to the boil. Season, then transfer to the oven with a lid on for 1 hour.
Remove the pan from the oven, and take off the lid. Paint the edges of the casserole pan with beaten egg, and apply a large puff pastry sheet on top and fold down the edges. Paint the sheet with egg ensuring there are no puddles, or it might sink/break. Bake again at 180c for around 45 minutes until the top is puffed up and golden.
There never seems to be enough pastry to go around, so I used a another sheet of puff pastry and cut circles out of it (or you could just cut squares for zero wastage) and placed them on a greased baking tray, also painting them with egg. I baked these for around 20 minutes until puffed up and golden. These were a real hit with the kids!
When you serve your pie, scatter with fresh parsley on top.
Serves a family of 4.
Thai Coconut Chicken
This is a super quick and easy week night dinner, whereby you marinate chicken pieces in coconut milk and Thai spices for a few hours/all day then fry it at the last minute. Can't go wrong unless you overcook your chicken. So my amateur advice is to cook your chicken in large pieces to begin with and cut open one when you think it's done. If not, return to pan and repeat cutting activity until the pink colour has JUST gone, no longer, else it will be overcooked.
What you need:
2 chicken breasts (1 per adult)
1 tin coconut milk
1 chilli (optional, perhaps not for small children)
1 cube of ginger, peeled and grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 lemongrass, finely chopped
zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons of fish sauce (do not omit, this is an important part of the flavour)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Brown rice and vegetables to serve
Pour your coconut milk, lime zest, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, ginger and fish sauce into a bowl and immerse your chicken breasts into it. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours/all day until required.
Before you start to cook, put your rice on, as this will take the longest. Prep your vegetables too.
When the rice is 5-10 minutes away from being ready, slice your chicken breasts into 1 inch thick slices and heat your coconut oil in a pan.
Take your chicken pieces from the marinade, and start frying them in the oil. At the same time, pour the marinade into a separate saucepan and turn up to high. Also, start your vegetables off now, by either sauteeing or steaming them.
Fry the chicken breast pieces for a few minutes each side until just done. Ensure the marinade comes to the boil, as bear in mind, it has raw chicken juices in it.
With any luck, your chicken should be done about the same time as the veg is.
Place the rice, chicken and vegetables onto a plate and pour on the marinade sauce.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.
Serves 2 adults
Yard Long Beans with Kimchi and Pork
Yard long beans are so named for a reason, although you could just use French beans if you prefer. This dish is a quick lunch or supper dish where you can omit the kimchi and szechuan chilli for the kids if required. The ground pork is from Jett Foods where you can enjoy 15% off your first order if you quote Mango Menus.
What you need:
1 tbls coconut oil
500g yard long or French beans
500g ground pork
2 tbls soy sauce or tamari
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tbs kimchi (omit for children)
1 tsp szechuan chilli in oil (omit for children)
1.5 tsp sugar
Chop your bean until each is half the length of a pencil.
Place your pork in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of rice wine and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
Heat up the coconut oil in a frying pan or wok and cook your beans for 4-5 minutes until tender and slightly browned.
Remove the beans from the pan, add a drop of sesame oil then fry your pork mince. Once browned, add the kimchi and stir until fragrant. Add the beans back along with a teaspoon of szechuan chillis in oil, another tablespoon of rice wine and soy sauce, and the sugar.
Stir for a minute or two then serve with brown rice and freshly chopped coriander on top.
Serves 2 adults
Garam Masala Lamb Burgers
This is a quick weeknight supper or weekend lunch using lamb mince or the remains of a leg/shoulder of lamb. The recipe was adapted from Delia Smith's lamb rissoles to which we added some curry spices before frying in ghee. We used grassfed lamb from MM Fresh Food.
With my extremely English father in town, I decided last night (at the last minute) to attempt the patriotic Beef Wellington. It was a resounding success which I can attribute to a few things:
1. Watching TWO Gordon Ramsay videos TWICE on YouTube about how to do it. Forget your opinion of him. He knows what he is doing.
2. Great piece of fillet beef (half tenderloin from MM Fresh Food).
3. Useful and reassuring whatsapps from my foodie friends while I cooked it and the occasional gulp of wine.
4. DON'T WING IT - USE A FRIGGIN' MEAT THERMOMETER (5% off these at Peek Concepts with the code MANGO16.)
The whole process felt like such a journey & education, that I wrote a short post on it that you can read here...