Wednesday 25 April 2012


My favourite way of deciding what to cook/eat is by going to markets or shops and seeing what looks nice on the day. Last weekend we went to Brockley Market. I really like it there, though it can get quite busy. We tend to go a little earlier and that way we skip the queueing. Missy also gets to roam fairly freely, chase after the dogs and help herself to the bread and cheese samples. Or maybe that's me - I shouldn't blame everything on my daughter, should I?

I should do a separate post for Brockley market with pictures and all, as it is very deserving of one! There is great produce there for sale, but also fantastic food - like burgers, burritos, pastries etc. One stall that caught our eye was a meat stall and the beef looked fantastic. So we bought some - chuck steak for braising. Initially the plan was to make beef Carbonade, but a few hours later I felt like having rice with it, and it is a fact that Carbonade has to be eaten with fries. So we changed the plan to Lemonato, a fairly simple, yet delicious Greek pot-roast. Traditionally it is made with either chicken on the bone or a nice joint of beef. I had cubed braising beef. The usual story really.

Greek food is fairly simple really. The complexity in cooking it often comes from trying to make simple ingredients shine or go a longer way. The secret to good Greek cooking, as to all cooking really, is good ingredients. I 'm not saying you should go out and buy organic oregano, but make sure that your main ingredient is of good quality. Free range or organic meat, where the animals have been treated well, really does make a difference. 

Serves 4 - 6

1 whole chicken in pieces or 1kg rolled joint of braising beef or (simpler yet) 1kg cubed braising beef
2 large onions, halved
2 carrots, whole
4 garlic cloves
4 tbs olive oil
200ml dry white wine
3 tbs lemon juice

3 tsp Dijon mustard
4 cloves
1 bay leaf

Season the mustard with salt and pepper (or just pepper in our household), and make a few narrow slits into the meat (if using the cubed braising beef, don't worry about the slits). Add a clove and some of the mustard in each slit (if using the cubed beef, just add the mustard and the garlic cloves into the pan after you brown the meat). Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in the pan and brown of the halved onions and the meat - in batches if you need to. Once browned add the white wine, carrots, bay leaf and lemon juice (if using the cubed beef, add the garlic and mustard at this stage).

Cover and simmer on a gentle heat. If cooking the chicken cook for around 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked though. For the beef, whether cooking the joint or the cubes, cook for at least 2-3 hours on a very low heat. The meat should be nice and tender.

Once cooked, remove the meat from the pan - this is a little more time consuming if using the cubed beef. Remove the bay leaf and blend the carrots and onions into the sauce to thicken it. Carve the join of beef or serve the chicken/ beef cubes on a large plate and pour the sauce over. Serve with mash or long grain rice and a little grated Parmesan.

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