Cognac and Pumpkin Pulled Beef
Cognac and Pumpkin are a wonderfully surprising combination and this recipe is easy to perfect, fast becoming a winter favourite.
Cook time: 4-5 hours oven @ 160c; 20 min stove top to reduce and pull beef, high heat
1kg beef – preferably blade or brisket
100ml – 130ml cognac
750ml beef stock
I large red onion – finely sliced
1/4 pumpkin (500g), shredded – a full flavoured pumpkin like Jap or Kent is best
6 x garlic cloves – crushed
oregano – ½ bunch
sage – ½ bunch
2 x star anise, whole
4 x bay leaves
salt, 2 tsp
pepper, 2 tsp
mustard seeds, 2 tbl spoons
1/4 cup white or coconut flower
Combine salt, pepper and flour in a bowl. Roll beef in the mixture, covering lightly.
Bring cognac and star anise to a simmer in a heavy stockpot or casserole dish. Cover and keep on low heat.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large fry pan, add mustard seeds.
The mustard seeds will pop like popcorn so recommend you cover the pan until they stop.
Add beef, turning for 4-5 minutes or until browned evenly.
Place the beef in the cognac, leave on a low simmer and cover.
Add onion, pumpkin, oregano, sage and garlic to the pan with the olive oil and butter, stirring until all ingredients are soft and breaking down. Add mix to beef and cognac, stirring through and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Add stock, water and bay leaves – the liquid should cover the beef.
To prevent the top from drying, cover with baking paper before placing dish in the preheated oven.
On a low temperature (160c), cook for 4-5 hours. Check at least every hour, basting top with liquid if needed before returning to heat. Beef will be tender and easily pulled with a fork when ready.
There will be considerable liquid in the pot when ready, this will be absorbed by the beef in this next stage.
Reducing and Pulling the Beef. (approx. 20 min)
Place the oven dish on high heat on the stove top.
Using two forks, pull the beef apart as the liquid reduces and recipe thickens. Be sure to shred all the beef relatively finely and reduce to a thick and juicy consistency.
Remove star anise and bay leaves during this process.
Enjoy Cognac and Pumpkin Pulled Beef on it’s own or serve with
Sweet Potato Mash and Peas
1 -2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (depending on how many people you’re cooking for)
1-2 cups of sweet baby peas
sage or thyme
Boil sweet potato until soft – drain, place in mixing bowl
Bring peas to the boil, using the water from the potato
Add butter, sage, salt and pepper to sweet potato – mix and mash to desired consistency. Finally stir through peas to serve.
With a medium level of effort required for a flexible dish, this is great dinner party recipe or for stocking up the freezer.