This is a comforting classic dish; beautifully pungent, elegant and tender. It has a nice, lemon flavour that makes it ideal for a cold winter evening, and it can be cooked long before you enjoy it, in order to let it slowly mellow into its sauce.
One thing that is very important is to trust your butcher and always let him in on what you are planning to cook. He will know what to give you in order to create the ideal meal. One of the main ingredients in cooking this recipe is a hearty dose of patience.
It is slow food at its finest. Let it simmer for as long as it needs to become tender and, once it is ready, simply sauté it to give it that twist of flavour. You can serve it with rice, as you would your typical pot roast _this here is, of course, a far more tender dish. My favourite companion to this utterly comforting dish is potato purée. Yes, you can call it a classic, childhood recipe…
Braised Beef in Lemon Sauce
1.200 kg top rump beef
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
4 cups water
4 allspice, whole berries
2 bay leaves
1 onion, whole
1 carrot, whole
50 g butter
½ cup brandy
¼ cup lemon juice
For the gravy:
1-2 tablespoons corn flour
2 tablespoon butter
1. On a cutting board, pierce the beef all over with the tip of a small, sharp knife. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Pour 4 cups of water into a large and deep casserole dish and add the onion, carrot, allspice berries and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the beef to the casserole and reduce the temperature to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the beef is tender, about 2¼ hours. Transfer the beef to a large baking sheet.
4. For the broth: Strain the juices (broth) in the casserole and set aside. Discard the vegetables.
5. In the casserole dish: In the casserole dish: Add the butter to the casserole dish, return the beef to it, and sauté on all sides, until golden brown. Stir in the brandy and the lemon juice, and boil until it is reduced by about two thirds, for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the beef to a platter and let it cool.
6. For the gravy: Add the broth to the casserole dish — along with any beef juices that might have bled onto the platter. Bring to a simmer.
7. In a small bowl, spoon in a small amount of broth and stir in the corn flour to make a paste. Add this corn flour paste to the broth in the casserole, and cook stirring constantly, until it becomes a roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the gravy, stirring occasionally to ensure lumps do not form; for about 15 minutes.
8. Add the salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and whisk in a tablespoon of butter. Run the gravy through a strainer to remove any lumps. The gravy can be kept warm, covered, over the lowest heat, for up to 20 minutes.
9. Meanwhile slice the meat as thin as possible – but so as not to crumble.
Pour the warm gravy over it and serve with fluffy, long-grained, white rice; or potato purée.
Total time: 3 hours
Serves 4 to 6