I like meat as much as the next carnivorous person but I really haven’t acquired the taste for partially cooked beef unless it’s sliced paper-thin, sukiyaki style. Oh, I eat my steak rare but it’s not something I crave for. And I like roast meat as well except that I find it inconvenient to have a chopping board on the dining table where the meat is sliced during the meal. I’m very Asian when it comes to serving food. I like the lauriat style where everything is placed at the center of the table and everyone helps himself. And that should explain why I like my roast-style beef served with the vegetables and gravy in one dish.
This boiled beef with gravy and potatoes is very similar to the beef brisket swimming in gravy that I cooked a couple of years ago, an experiment probably borne out of laziness but which surprisingly turned out to be a hit among my friends. Needless to say, I have refined the recipe somewhat and I am convinced that this version is better than my older recipe.
- 1 and 1/2 kilograms beef crest in one piece
- bunch of leeks
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 2 cloves garlic
- 500 grams stewing potatoes peeled and cut into wedges
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1/4 cup butter plus two tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons flour
Melt the two tablespoonfuls of butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Brown the beef, rolling and turning it over for even browning. Pour in enough water to cover. Add the leeks, garlic cloves, peppercorns and salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for two to 3 hours or until the beef is tender, turning it over halfway through the cooking time. Scoop out the beef from the broth and cool (chill, if you have the time). Cut into half-inch thick slices.
Strain the broth and measure two cups. If you don’t have enough broth, add water.
Melt the remaining butter in a pan (make that large enough to contain all the beef slices because you’ll be adding the beef later). Add the potatoes, chopped onion and grated garlic. Cook until the the vegetables start to brown. Add the flour all at once and mix well. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about five minutes.
Pour in the broth little by little, stirring as you go. Add more salt if necessary. Sprinkle some ground pepper too. Simmer, covered, until the potatoes are almost done. Add the beef slices, stir, and continue simmering until the beef is heated through.
Serve hot with rice or bread.