Even in the height of a British summer, we have spells where you need something to counterbalance a humid drizzly spell. Especially on our coastal side of the Downs where we are cloaked in grey sea frets, we can take a quick drive over the hills to bask in warm sunshine. Although that sometimes works vice versa, so not really complaining about our micro-climate.
But a given is that soups and ragouts may be out of place in hotter climates, there’s a place for a one pot supper at any time of year whether you’re serving it with pasta, rice or salad. A jar of a redcurrant or blackcurrant compote is a handy alternative to imported pomegranate molasses to gently stir into a sauce for instant depth.
- 1kg Tibbs Farm redcurrants
- 4 tablespoons Brighton and Hove honey
- 4 tablespoons water
In a large stainless steel or copper pan, combine all the ingredients. Warm together over a slow heat for 5-10 minutes until the redcurrants start to pop. Cook gently for a further 5 mins, then pour carefully into a large mason jar.
Cool, then fridge and this will keep for up to a week. Alternatively, divide and freeze into manageable portions.
Use in sauces and stews or mix into porridge or yoghurt. This is not a very sweet version – just the main tartness has had its edges softened. The fruitiness still shines through so if you are using in sweet dishes, then you may want to add a little more honey when you swirl through your yoghurt…
Sussex Beef Ragout with Redcurrants
- 40g Southdowns butter
- 900g Sussex braising steak, diced into 2.5cm pieces
- 3 rashers rindless streaky Sussex bacon, chopped
- 2 large wet onions, chopped
- 110g flat Thakeham mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 2 Tangmere red peppers, seeded and chopped
- 170g Tibbs Farm redcurrant compote*
- 2 1/2 tablespoons plain flour (try Weald & Downland)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 large tablespoon Brighton & Hove honey
- 2 pinches of locally sourced Allspice (try Seven Sisters)
- 300ml stock or a light ale
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 150 C / Gas 2.
- Melt butter in a large oven proof pan. Add the beef and sear over a high heat, until well browned. Remove the beef and set aside, then add bacon, and cook until crisp.
- Add onions and reduce the heat to gently caramelise for around 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the beef back to the pan and adding the red peppers and currants. Sprinkle over the flour and season with spices. Mix well and pour over the stock or ale and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the ingredients and cover.
- Bake slowly in the preheated oven for 3 hours or until meat is really tender.
- Just prior to serving, remove the bay leaves, add chopped parsley and more seasoning if desired.
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