OK, let’s start with a post-modern ironic recipe alert. There can’t be many of these, but like our best jokes*, and loudest eructations, we appreciate our own more than most, and it tickled me. It all started with a bottle of Victorian Bannockburn Pinot Noir, 2000. What to have with this? Well, I like a good long cooked gelatinous meat or game fest with a big pinot. So we’re talking beef shin, ox tail, magpie goose etc. I had some roo tail in the freezer, which I think I’ve written about previously. It is like oxtail on game ‘roids. Amazing. So how to prepare? Hold on, HOLD THE F### ON, there’s a bottle of coke in the fridge, acquired for the purposes of coin sparklage investigation (though 2 litres was a little excessive, Shona). The buxom (still?) Nigella has a recipe for a ham cooked in coke, so why not?
*(3/4/14 addendum- I should explain my slightly dark internal mirth- kangaroo is a most revered delicacy by Australian Aboriginals. Unfortunately, sugary soft drinks are now a major calorific contributor in local diets, to the appalling detriment of dental hygiene, amongst many others).
The tail came complete as shown, though without skin and actually must have had a bit of fat removed, a shame. It’s worth remembering that the tail bones are a damn site longer than Oxtail, about 10cm near the base, so don’t go hacking blindly with your best Shun knife, it’ll end in tears.
Tail pieces upended, with 2 sticks of celery, 2 carrots an onion, and, a bit left field, an inch of root ginger, and enough coke to almost cover this compact assemblage. This was simmered until the meat is falling off the bones (about 6-7hrs), and then the veg removed and juices strained (would have been easier to keep separate from the meat, see below), and all kept overnight.
I’m not sure when the next phase of the dsh hit, but I was thinking what carbs to have with this, and since I had some time with the beasties I thought making pasta would be fun, yes, some homemade tagliatelle. But then wait, how about lasagne? BINGO. The journey continues……
The roux recipe is recalled vaguely on a M. Michel Roux cutting, appropriately. The quantities are easy to recall. (Actually a roux is a sauce thickened with a butter/ flour mixture, so Bechamel is a type of roux, but doesn’t rhyme with ‘roo).
- 50g butter
- 50g flour
Melted and allowed to cool a little
- 1litre milk, gently simmered with
- 1 choppped onion
- 2-3 celery sticks (I like a strong celery flavour and the boys are less keen on a strong bay leaf/ pepper flavour- hey ho).
The milk strained through a conical sieve and added initially slowly (i.e. similar vol to butter/ flour), whisked in, double volume, whisked, double etc, taking care to scrape the corners of the saucepan. Then simmered until thickened. I invariably end up f##king up my Bechamel by either boiling the milk over or burning the supposedly simmering sauce. PAY ATTENTION.
Meanwhile, the boys are ripping the meat from the bones with deft little fingers and getting to gnaw at the bones. Good job beasts.
So then onto the pasta. Another easy quantity to remember is 1 egg to 100g flour. For this I used,
- 3 eggs
- 150g pasta plain flour
- 150g semolina
Topped up (probably unnecessarily) with some water.
I use half plain and half semolina to get the gluten level up for a pasta that will won’t fall apart. However, it needs an enormous amount of work. At this point I ditched the otherwise super helpful boys, but I had to put the rough mass through the biggest setting on the pasta machine, perhaps 15-20 times?
And you just keep going until it becomes smooth, (not knobbly as show). The sheets need adusting of flour between rolls, and once smooth you can start thinning them out gradually from notch 1 to notch 5 (of 7 on my machine).
OK, we are nearly there. The veg (except ginger), I (well, Felix) put through a mouli legumes as shown, and added this to the meat and juice to make a fantastic sauce. I think this is a similar approach to that used for Hare Royale by Simon Hopkinson (God I miss hare….).
So, finally the construction. In retrospect, I put too much pasta to sauce here (ended up a bit dry), but hey, next time I’ll up the roo, and do 2 tails and go large. After spooning sauce betwen layes of pasta, I finished off with about 2/3 of the Bechamel on top of a final layer of pasta and a shit load of grated Parmesan. Ooh yeah baby.
Baked in the oven at 180C until, well, until it’s ready. Which is obvious to see.
And here we are.
The Pinot was utterly divine, one of the best I’ve ever had. Lovely pinot gamey, cheesey mushroom flavours but also very full bodied, enough tannins to throw a deposit. Amazing.