Pot roast beef has long been a traditional favourite but I love to play around with the flavours. Adding red wine to a pot roast recipe is quite common but coffee and cinnamon less so.It may seem a slightly incongruent combination but I assure you the long, slow cooking marries them together in a sensational way. I first encountered the beef and cinnamon combination at the Boisdale in Belgravia. It was a family celebration meal and, true to form, I had ordered a steak so rare a good vet could have bought it back to life, but two of my sister-in-laws had ordered the cottage pie. They insisted it was so delicious that I must taste it, so I did, and instantly recognised cinnamon in with the beef. It worked beautifully and I have been experimenting with the combination ever since but this is the most spectacular dish so far; the slow cooking is the key. I cannot enthuse enough about the way the cooking liquor for this dish tastes and the resulting gravy it makes.
1 1/2 – 2lb piece of braising beef
4 cloves garlic
300ml/1/2 pint each of coffee & red wine
I cinnamon stick (or 1 tbsp cinnamon bark pieces)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp good salt
2 tbsp molasses sugar
Couple of bay leaves
Sear the beef on all sides in a heavy based frying pan in a little oil. In the same pan brown the stock vegetables. Place the meat and the vegetables in a slow cooker or in an oven proof dish. Heat the wine, coffee, brown sugar, salt, ground cinnamon and cinnamon bark until it comes to the boil. Pour it over the beef and stock vegetables and add boiling water until the meat is covered. Slow cook the dish for 10 hours either in a slow cooker or the lowest heat in the oven until the meat is butter soft. Gently lift the meat out with a slotted spoon and strain the stock vegetables out of the cooking liquor. Reduce the liquor until there is enough to serve four people and thicken with arrowroot. Do not use Bisto, it will make it too salty. Serve with enormous Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and lots of lovely vegetables.