Beef – braising steak
This steak is usually taken from the shoulder of the animal; it's best to brown meat first before making a stew to keep its succulence; marinating will help tenderise the meat.
I find certain cuts of so-called ‘braising steak’ better for some dishes than for others, so that in all my recipes I generally name the cut and suggest you always ask for it by name too. Unidentified stewing or braising steak can often be a mixture and can cook unevenly, I’ve found.
Below is a list of the cuts that are suitable for braising (and stewing too); as you would see from a chart these cuts are always from the same part of the animal’s anatomy but, confusingly, the way they’re cut varies from region to region.
My own favourite cut for braising, where I live in East Anglia is called chuck and blade steak. In other regions it can be called shoulder, which is exactly where it is. If you want large pieces of meat rather than cubes, thick flank is suitable: actually from the hindquarters and called round or flesh end in Scotland or bedpiece elsewhere.
Beef skirt comes from below the diaphragm of the animal. It is however an excellent cut for braising and one end can even be grilled if scored across the grain and tenderised by marinating before cooking.
Cooking meat in wine adds flavour and prevents it from drying out, which is why this recipe is such a failsafe when entertaining. The Parmesan mashed potatoes are a wonderful accompaniment and keep the Italian vibe going.
This is an adaptation of the famous French classic, but more economical because it's made with braising steak. It does take longer to cook but it will simmer happily unattended, and there's very little work involved. The flavour is superb!
This may sound like a long-winded recipe but in fact you can prepare the pastry and filling ahead - then simply assemble and cook it all when you want to eat. Ideal fodder for a cold day...
This is Delia's dish of choice when eating in Indian restaurants...try her version for a lovely spicy, rich, oniony beef curry you can easily make at home.
Surely one of the nation's most popular family supper dishes, chilli con carne is a spicy treat, especially if you make Delia's version, with lime, coriander and black beans.