”If youre looking for a decent cut of beef to make a great stew or casserole then look no further than this hunk of wonderfulness.”
Featherblade doesnt seem to be a well-known cut. It comes from the shoulder blade, so there are only two in every cow. I first stumbled on this in my local butchers cabinet. The glorious marbling of fat really caught my eye. My butcher at Red Bank Farm Shop reckons it flies out when he puts it out. Snatch it up when you see it. It cost me about £8 for the 1kg hunk you see here.
The recipe is based loosely on one I got off the Hairy Bikers.
1kg/2lb 2oz feather blade steak, trimmed and cut into big chunks
3 tbsp oil
3 bannana shallots or 1 medium onion, sliced
2 celery sticks, trimmed, sliced (I used a whole leek instead!)
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250ml/10fl oz red wine
500ml/17fl oz beef stock
2 tbsp tomato purée
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (I used a tsp of dried)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp English mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 160C/320F/Gas 3.
2 Season the beef with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. I used my large stock pot. Fry the steak pieces over a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes on each sides, or until browned. Transfer the beef pieces to a bowl. (You may need to do this in batches.)
3 Return the pan to the hob and reduce the heat. Add the remaining oil and gently fry the shallots, celery (leek) and carrots for 6-8 minutes or until golden-brown and softened. Stir in the garlic, cook for a further minute.
4 Deglaze the pan with wine and allow to bubble for a few seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomato puree for a few mins and then add the stock. Strip the thyme leaves from the stalks and scatter into the pan, add the bay leaf and mustard and stir until well combined. Bring to the boil and remove the dish from the heat.
5 Add the meat back into the pot. Place a lid on top and cook in the oven for 3-3½ hours or until the beef is very tender. Skim any fat away from the surface that appears during cooking.
6 Transfer the meat to a plate. Strain the cooking liquor and vegetables through a sieve into a large non-stick frying pan. Press the vegetables with the bottom of a ladle to extract a rich purée and stir into the cooking liquor. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Alternatibvely I kept it going for over 5 hours, (which did break it down a bit too much. Stick to the 4 hours to keep the big chunks). Removing the lid with an hour to go to help reduce the liquid. I kept all the veg in without straining. Therefore ignore the next step and serve with mashed potato.
7 Bring the mixture to a simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce is well reduced, thick and glossy. Add the beef to the liquid and heat through for 3-4 minutes, spooning over the sauce to glaze. Serve with some green vegetables and mashed potatoes.
The meat really is superb tasting and well worth seeking out.