Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Lunch

Nigella must really love garlic-roasted potatoes. They appear at least 3 times in this book, off the top of my head, and I'm sure there are more references to them scattered throughout. They also reappear in Feast, and probably in many of her New York Times and Delicious Magazine columns. I've made one of the How-to-Eat-versions already - for a dinner party in which the garlic potatoes accompany a butterflied, marinated leg of lamb.

308. Fillet of Beef with Red Wine, Anchovies, Garlic and Thyme (Dinner)
309. Garlic roast potatoes (Feeding Babies and Small Children)

These dishes aren't intended to be paired together, but following on from that dinner party, I thought meat and roast potatoes would make a good combination. (Indeed, garlic roast potatoes with anything makes a good combination). I started off by making the potatoes - chucking potato chunks and whole unpeeled garlic cloves into a baking dish, covering with oil and then shunting in a 200C oven for 45 minutes. While they were cooking, I did the beef.

The fillet of beef sounds very fancy on the page, but is more homely and simple on the plate. (And no less lovely for that). What you do is cook some aromatics - shallots, garlic, anchovies and thyme - in olive oil and butter, and then remove them from the pan. In the fragrant oil you sear a fillet of beef, and pour brandy and red wine over, letting it bubble up. Then you return the aromatic garlic-thyme mush to the pan, cover it, and let the beef cook on either side for about 10 minutes. In this way the beef is "braising, frying and steaming all at the same time; as it cooks it breathes in flavour".

Once the beef's done and it's resting, you deglaze the pan with a bit of water and butter, before adding the beef juices that have seeped out of the beef. Slice up the meat, pour the sauce over, and it's done!

meat and potatoes

Meat - the sauce turned out a bit chunkier than I'd serve to company, so if you're planning this for a dinner party, don't be lazy like I was. Pull out your processor and get the shallots minced fine.

I served it with some designer lettuce for a lovely lunch.


It's quite obvious why Nigella loves garlic roasted potatoes so much - they're delicious! I improved on them from last time, cutting them slightly larger so that they wouldn't be so tooth-breakingly hard.

The beef and sauce had a really deep flavour, thanks to all those anchovies and the red wine. The flavours really complimented the beef well, and infused into the meat itself because of the cooking process. It was quick to make as well. I highly recommend this dish, this combination of dishes, for a casual-yet-special family lunch, for a dinner party, for any occasion!

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