Baffin Island Beef
Today’s recipe has no particular association with Baffin Island in terms of ingredients but I have given it the name ‘Baffin Island Beef’ because I created it here on Baffin Island and I couldn’t think of anything else to call it. My whole aim here was to make a beef dish in which the meat is first marinated and braised and then served with a sauce made from the same liquid in the marinade and braising medium.
I have used Sauerbraten as my starting point but I am not trying to duplicate that dish, rather, I have departed from the basic idea in several particulars. First, I am using blade steak rather than a large pot-roast sized cut as this rather defeats the point of even a lengthy marinade (sauerbraten is usually left for 3 days) as a marinade can only penetrate so far in to meat. Secondly, in Sauerbraten, vegetables braised with the meat are strained from the cooking medium towards the end and the remaining liquid is thickened to a rich gravy with gingersnap cookies (and sometimes a little flour). Here, I plan to achieve a result that is not quite as sour and sweet as Sauerbraten (I use wine, not vinegar, no cookies and only a little sugar) and I am using a lot of vegetable in order to puree them down for the finished sauce…
Here is the meat I am using for this recipe… It is recommended for marinating on the big label near the bottom and the small label with the price calls it ‘Marinating Steak’. This signals that this is one of the tougher cuts of meat and suitable for cooking methods that will tenderize it. Note the northern price…
- Blade Steak (or other simmering cut of beef);
- 1 Tbsp. chopped Garlic;
- 1 Tbsp. whole Black Peppercorns;
- 2 Tbsp. Sugar;
- 1 Tbsp. Coriander Seed;
- 1 Cup each Red and White Wine;
- ¼ cup Sherry;
- 1 small handful Parsley Sprigs;
- 1/4 cup Flour;
- 1 medium Onion, chopped;
- 2 large stalks of Celery, chopped;
- 3 – 4 medium Carrots, chopped;
- 1 large Tomato, chopped.
Use a small skewer to poke holes all over the surface of each steak, season them with a little salt, and then place them in suitable dish along with the garlic, pepper, sugar, coriander, wine, sherry and parsley. Put this in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 to 2 days, ensuring the meat remains covered by liquid the whole time. You can also poke a few more holes with a skewer occasionally in order to maximize penetration of the flavor. Also, If you like, you can use just red wine in the marinade. I like the full-bodied flavor but I have diluted the red with white wine in order to minimize the rather purplish color red wine can lend to some dishes.
When you are ready, remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade to remove the solids and set it aside for the moment. Spread the flour on a dish and dredge each piece of meat to coat. Shake off excess flour.
Heat a little fat in a pot over moderate heat and sear each piece of meat to a nice brown. Remove the pieces to a platter when done.
Now use a little of the reserved marinade to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Use a spoon to scrape up any browned particles and then remove the pot from the heat.
Now, add half the chopped vegetables to the pot, lay the meat on top and put the rest of the vegetables over the meat. Add the marinade and enough water to make sure everything is covered.
Put the pot on a low flame and simmer very gently for about 2 hours or so until the vegetables are soft and the meat tender.
Finally, remove the meat to a serving dish and then use an immersion blender to puree the solids in the sauce. Once done, pour the sauce (as much or as little as you like) over the meat. You can serve immediately or else cover and refrigerate the dish for re-heating later. In the latter case, the flavors will have even more time to develop.
I only used about half the pureed sauce to serve it as shown in the first picture. The consistency is something like a rustic tomato sauce but it can be nicely refined by pushing it through a fine sieve as I did with the remainder you see in the bowl pictured above. The flavor is really complex and delicious and I plan to use what you see as the basis for another, somewhat different sauce. I’ll post the result in due course…