Beef olive with pearl barley risotto and grilled vegetables

Thursday, May 28, 2009
"I'd like the beef olive.... without the olives please"

Ever been in a bistro and heard this? It's the idea of a stuffed olive that lends the dish it's name though, rather than the dish actually containing olives.
I've been looking at the WTSIM food blogging event for a couple of years, yet never got round to entering anything. Almost got there last month - retro dishes - but then got so many last minute parties to cook for that it went right down the list of priorities.

This month the task was to blog about a bistro dish - which I do here quite often, since my bistro menu has become more and more popular in the last year.

I was still wondering what to do as I drove up to Home Farm where I was beckoned inside the butchery by Micky, the farmer/ butcher. He had a skirt laid out on the bench - "What do you think?" he asked "beautiful" I said. And it was. An amazing piece of beef skirt.

But I didn't have anything I could do with it - I like to sell things before I buy the ingredients rather than the other way round - but as I reversed out of the yard I stopped, then went back in and picked up the skirt. It was just too good to miss.

I once made a steak baguette for the executive and sous chef at Claridges when I was a more junior larder chef, using what we had in our mise en place - the grilled sirloin steak, tomatoes, rocket, parmesan and shallot mayo. They liked the combination. They liked it a lot. And it became steak parmesan (without the baguette), a classic on the foyer menu - with bearnaise rather than the mayo. So I was thinking of something similar to go inside this piece of beef to make a beef olive. This time I had some blacksticks blue cheese, watercress, sun dried tomato and wild mushrooms which I mixed with some of the home farm sausagemeat. This was rolled inside:
and tied (though you could use cocktail sticks instead)

Then sealed to get a good colour on it and braised for 3 hours in red wine, onions, carrots and beef stock:
You could also use beer instead of wine. Once cooked, I removed the beef olive, onions etc. and re-boiled the sauce to thicken it a little, and added a dash of balsamic, then cut the beef olive into 4 and served it as above with some watercress.

For pearl barley risotto click here
For grilled veg click here

My bistro menu reviewed by a fellow local food blogger: What I Ate Today. They seemed to have left the salad and lemon oil for the starter in their fridge though.

Some other bistro dishes:


Parma ham salad
Tart of red onion and St. Agnes cheese
Smoked salmon blinis

Main course

Shoulder of lamb with tabbouleh
Smoked salmon, leek and tarragon lasagne
Hake with tomato baked beans or beer baked beans
Irish stew with dumplings
Beef and Cotswold Way ale pie
Slow cooked belly pork with creamy lentils
Lamb and apricot casserole
Salmon provencal with red pepper coulis
Involtini of veal


Glazed lemon tart
Sticky toffee pudding
New York vanilla cheesecake
Canary pudding
Hazelnut shortbread recipe for crème brûlée

Frozen bistro meals


thepassionatecook said...

wow... what a fantastic selection of bistro dishes!!! a true treasure chest of inspiration... i also have some pearl barley in the back of a cupboard which i should be using up... so will be trying this recipe very soon! thanks for your contribution!

Jan said...

A lovely lot of food!
Made me laugh as I actually have a friend that once asked for chicken caesar salad - without the caesar LOL
Yes that really is true - bless her!

Matt said...

That beef skirt really does look something special. Sounds a lovely combination with the pearl barley.

Marta said...

Hi James! I'm new to your blog and I'm already so glad I found you! I loev your dishes, they are certainly more gourmet than I usually cook, but I love finding inspiration from people like you. I'll continue to visit you :)

Paula Maack said...

What an inspired dish! It looks and sounds wonderful.

Cut me a slice, won't you? Yumm!!!

I love that you included links to so many other bistro recipes - fab! Thank you for sharing!!


~ Paula

James said...

Thanks everyone!

Johanna - The pearl barley risotto is one of my new favourite things.

Marta - Welcome! You could save these kind of recipes for special occasions. It's always birthdays/ anniversaries/ family events that I cook these dishes for.

Paula - I'll attach a slice of the beef olive to an email and send it over!.....