Beef Skirt in Red Wine Sauce
Skirt is one of those old-fashioned cuts that you don’t see in the supermarket any more. It comes in a slab of densely-fibred muscle which is surprisingly lean but needs plenty of long, slow cooking. Apart from the superb flavour, the best reason for choosing a cut like this is that for about £10 including the veg and the little bottle of wine, you can generously feed 4 people organic beef. I make this in the slow cooker, if you don’t have one I heartily recommend them - but otherwise you would need to give this a good 10 hours with a tight lid in a slow oven, around 140 centigrade, 120 fan.
1 tsp olive oil
1 piece beef skirt, about 750-800g
1 mini bottle red wine
1 onion, diced
Half a teaspoon black onion seeds
A couple of stalks of thyme
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1 red pepper, diced
1 beef stock cube
2tsp balsamic vinegar
Heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Seal the piece of beef on both sides until nicely browned. Using a couple of wooden spoons or tongs, remove it to the slow cooker.
Add the diced onion and red pepper to the frying pan and cook over a medium heat until softened. Add the black onion seeds and the red wine, bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Pour all this over the beef. Add everything except the butter, flour and balsamic vinegar. Stir in half a pint of water and leave it to cook for anything between 18 and 24 hours. This part of the recipe takes about 15 minutes and I usually do it before going to bed so that the dish is perfect for next day’s dinner.
About half an hour before you want to eat, remove the piece of beef to a plate. Melt the butter and add the flour to it, then add this paste to the sauce and liquidise with a soup whizzer. Add the balsamic vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a very sharp knife, cut the beef into 8 pieces and carefully put these back in the sauce.
We like to eat this with creamy mashed potatoes and some wilted cavolonero – perfect cold-weather comfort food.
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