Earlier I promised you all a note on Mont Tauch. In my opinion a symbol of cooperative wine making buried deep in the south of France at the town of Tuchan within Fitou. The wines of Mont Tauch are widely available and very accessible drinking wines. Recently I tried Les Douze, A big bold statement of what this winery is about where each year twelve of the coop’s members competes to have their grapes contribute to the finished blend. A kind of quirky idea when most people assume the wines they drink are either run off in some gigantic factory or made on minute scale by toe treading peasant. But there is an in-between and this is part of it. The wine making on this scale and in this part of the world, like many other European regions is almost insignificant. It doesn’t matter weather grand cellar, garage, converted air hanger or indeed factory because that is not where these wines are made. It is the Vineyard! For without the determination of the farmer/grower to produce the best quality grapes he or she can, the winery and the final bottling is insignificant.
Anyway, I digress. My consumption hasn’t been at all seasonal or well paired lately. So, this next recipe of my own wasn’t originally consumed with the fore mentioned Fitou. Instead I drank a very nice Aglianico which was a bit to fruity and lacking in structure and I thought to my self, “that Les Douze, Fitou would have been the ‘bees-bollocks’ with this dish”.
Best Beef Stew
2*chunky garlic cloves
1* bay leaf
200g black pudding
500g diced beef
Half a bottle of red wine
500ml of best quality beef stock (organic, reduced salt stock cube)
A big bunch of parsley
Start reducing beef stock and red wine. It may take up to one hour to reach correct consistency. It will reduce by half.
Dice and soften onion in a large pan (lid on) with two table spoons of olive oil before adding crushed garlic, bay leaf, pepper corns, small knob of butter and black pudding. After half an hour this should be melting and oozing in texture.
Season your rested beef (should be room temperature before you start cooking it) and brown off in a frying pan and add to pan of onions.
Peel and roughly chop your parsnips and carrots and add to the cooking pot.
Finally pour over your wine and stock reduction, cover with a lid and allow the combined ingredients to cook on a low heat for 2 hours. Stir, taste and season accordingly.
Finally. Your stew should have reached a thick glossy consistency and the beef should be melting. The meal will by its very nature be heavy and heart warming so what we will do is add a bunch of chopped parsley to the stew just to lighten the texture and lift some of those heavy flavours.
Serve with Yorkshire pudding and if you are brave a ring of black pudding. Oh, and don’t forget that Mont Tauch-Fitou-Les Douze. (Available at Majestic)