Guilty confession time: I’m having a bit of a love affair with Gordon Ramsay. And I’ve dragged in my husband. And my good friend Fran. I can see the Daily Mirror headlines now: “GORDON RAMSAY SHOCKER! Shouty chef in 4-way sex scandal! Slams lover’s food blog as “amateurish” and “not restaurant quality!”“
It all started with the completely wacky ABC Baking Company episode of Kitchen Nightmares, which I first heard about over at Eater back in May. The show was crazy enough, but ABC’s subsequent Facebook freakout and ongoing drama is truly internet gold: I was hooked. Fast-forward a week or two and New York got hit by unseasonably hot, humid & sticky weather, which as usual, rendered me a useless lump, trapped like a bug in amber in a day-long Kitchen Nightmares marathon on BBC America. Then, in a these-things-always-come-in-threes coincidence, Beth revealed that she had run away to join the culinary circus: had, in fact, spent the winter competing in Masterchef 4. Even the tenuous connection of reading someone’s blog (and a blog with a local aesthetic no less) was enough to intrigue me: how could I not watch it?
And so it began: Masterchef 4. Quickly followed by Masterchefs 3, 2 and 1 (excellent mindless insomnia viewing, FWIW). I’ve gotten my husband hooked, and even dragged in my friend Fran, who had the temerity to visit on a Wednesday night. Then I found Gordon’s Great Escape, which I loved, even with all of his testosterone-y competitions and calling every female on the planet “darling.” And then Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course, in which I actually learned a few things I’d never heard, like not to add salt to eggs until they are mostly cooked, lest they become watery, or the trick of rapidly rolling a fresh chile between your palms to deseed prior to slicing.
So you see, Gordon: it was fate. Kismet. Meant to be. The only thing left to do? Actually try some of your cooking.
And? Oh, Gordon: you do not disappoint. Beef braised in honey & soy: not something I would have thought of, but very, very good. Probably the best beef I’ve had since I started eating it again last year. Simple and not overly chefy technique, but a bit more refined than I would come up with left to my own devices. Which is exactly what you want from a recipe (or an affair), no? Give it a tumble: you may just fall in love.
Adapted from Braised beef in honey and soy from Gordon Ramsay, Good Food Magazine, October 2010.
- olive oil or bacon grease
- 1 lb beef round, or other stewing cut, cut into 2-inch chunks
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 small carrot, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 baby leek, coarsely chopped
- ½ a celery stick, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme, or 4 stems fresh thyme, bundled
- 3 coriander seeds
- dash of ground cloves
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ soy sauce
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 tbsp honey, divided
- 1 pint stock (I used chicken)
- 2 tbsp butter
- cooked basmati rice, mashed potatoes or other grain, for serving
- Heat oil or bacon grease over medium-high heat in a medium Dutch oven or casserole. Season beef chunks liberally with salt and pepper. Add to pan and brown well on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add onion, carrot, leek, celery, thyme, coriander, and cloves; stir and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add vinegar, soy sauce, wine, 2 tbsp honey and stock. Stir well and bring to a boil. Liquid should come up at least halfway on the beef chunks: if not, add more stock or water.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until meat is very tender, but not yet shredding, about 2 ½ – 3 hours. Remove beef cubes to a clean bowl. Bring liquid to a bowl over high heat. Stirring frequently, boil briskly until sauce is reduced by about half and is just starting to look syrupy. Strain sauce, rinse pot briefly in hot water, then return strained sauce to the pot. Add butter and the last 1 tbsp of honey. Continue simmering to thicken if necessary; taste and adjust seasonings.
- Re-warm beef and serve over rice, garlic mash, or other grain. Spoon over sauce and serve alongside stir-fried lettuce.
Serves 3 – 4.
- Don’t skimp on the browning phase: it adds a ton of flavor to both the meat and the sauce and results in a lovely, sticky, caramelized texture to the beef chunks, even after hours of braising.
- As a long, slow braise, this recipe is easily adapted to the Crock-Pot. Just make sure to brown the meat well first, and deglaze the pan, as it adds significantly to the flavor.
- You can easily double, triple or even quadruple the recipe to serve a crowd.
Refrigerated for up to 5 days.