If you like a bit of a project make Richard Turner's beef rendang this weekend - one of his favourite recipes, he tells me, from his brilliant new book PRIME.
The basic beef broth while amazing is a bit of a project in itself but Richard says you can use ready made beef stock or a beef stock cube if you haven't time. I'd be seriously tempted to double the recipe though and invite more friends.
Richard writes: "A caramelized curry dish from West Sumatra in Indonesia, reckoned to be one of the most delicious beef dishes on the planet by a CNN poll.Originally used as a method of preserving excess quantities of meat, this dish has spread throughout Asia due to the migrating culture of its originators, the Minangkabau."
1kg (2lb 4oz) chuck steak
50g (1¾oz) beef dripping
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
50g (1¾oz) desiccated coconut, toasted
500ml (18fl oz) coconut water (the kind sold fresh for drinking)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon kecap manis or light soy sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves
250ml (9fl oz) Basic Beef Broth (see below)
juice of 1 lime
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For the spice paste
100g (3½oz) shallots, peeled
1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled
50g (1¾oz) fresh root galangal, peeled
50g (1¾oz) fresh root ginger, peeled
3 red chillies
3 lemon grass stalks
50ml (2fl oz) water
For the coconut rice
300g (10½oz) basmati rice
700ml (1¼ pints) coconut water (the kind sold fresh for drinking)
First make the spice paste. Roughly chop the shallots, garlic, galangal, ginger, chillies and lemon grass, then place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse, adding the water to make a fine paste. Set aside.
Cut the beef into 4cm (1½ inch) chunks. Heat a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and add half the dripping. Add the beef, in batches if necessary, and cook on all sides until browned, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining dripping and the spice paste and fry for 2 minutes, then add the cinnamon, cloves and star anise and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Return the browned beef to the pan, along with the toasted desiccated coconut. Stir well, then add the coconut water, tamarind paste, fish and soy sauces, lime leaves and beef broth and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 1½ hours, or until the meat is tender.
To make the coconut rice, place the rice and coconut water in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, remove the lid from the beef and cook for a further 15 minutes, until just thickened. Add the lime juice, season with salt and pepper and serve with the coconut rice.
What to drink: Tricky one. It's not the easiest dish for wine but I'd be tempted to go for a lush ripe grenache or garnacha or a GSM (grenache, syrah, mourvèdre) blend
Basic Beef Broth
Makes about 6 litres 10 ½ pints (so you'll obviously need a VERY large pan FB)
Richard writes: "I was taught to use three basic stocks as the base for sauces – veal, chicken and fish – but I’ve always had a nagging doubt: if making a sauce for pork or beef, why would you use any other stock than that made from the bonesof the meat you are cooking? This is my basic broth (call it stock if itpleases you), and the foundation of many of the recipes in the book. I’ve shoehorned in as many sources of umami as I can and consequently it’s not a subtle stock, but then beef can take it."
1kg (2lb 4oz) beef bones
1 small beef shank
2 onions, peeled and halved
2 large carrots, split
2 celery sticks
2 large dried shiitake mushrooms
2 dried porcini mushrooms (20g/¾oz)
1 garlic bulb, broken into cloves but not peeled
1 faggot of herbs (thyme, bay, rosemary and parsley)
1 spice bag (20 fennel seeds, 20 black peppercorns, 1 star anise)
250ml (9fl oz) Madeira
250ml (9fl oz) soy sauce
5 litres (9 pints) water
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6 and lightly roast the bones, beef shank and oxtail for about 30 minutes. Put the onions cut side down into a dry pan over a high heat and leave until very dark brown, almost burnt.
Place all the ingredients in a very large pan and bring to a gentle simmer. If you don’t have a pan large enough to hold the full quantity, it can be divided between 2 pans.
Skim off any scum that rises to the surface and cook for 6 hours, skimming every 30 minutes or so. The trick here is to simmer at a bare roll and skim any impuritiesregularly for a clean, clear master broth.
Without moving the pan, turn off the heat and gently ladle the broth out of the pan through a very fine sieve, taking care not to disturb the base too much.
Cool and reserve until needed. Once chilled, this broth can be frozen in 500ml (18fl oz) or 1 litre (1¾ pint) batches.
Extracted from PRIME: The Beef Cookbook by Richard H Turner published by Mitchell Beazley at £25. Photograph © Paul Winch-Furness