Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Beef Jus

Have you ever ordered a steak in a five star restaurant and had it presented to you swimming in an ocean of unbearably delectable thin brown sauce? That sauce is called 'jus'. I was fortunate enough to have such a meal at The Benelong in the Sydney Opera House, where I was dining with a top class chef.

"How do you make this stuff?" I asked him, slipping into raptures as the rich, complex flavour tantalised my taste buds.

"It's easy!" he said. "But it takes ages."

"I don't care how long it takes to make," I replied. "Tell me how to do it - I want to know!"

And that is how this recipe came into my hands. It does take ages to make - eight hours, in fact. But do try it! And when you serve it to your friends, watch their faces as their eyes light up with new found respect for your culinary talents!


Ingredients
1kg beef bones
1 squishy tomato
1 carrot
1 onion
2 sticks of celery
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly ground rock salt
Olive oil
1 bottle of red wine (plus some extra)
1 or 2 nobs of butter

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. Place the beef bones and all the vegetables in a roasting tray - no need to peel the veggies, skin on adds more flavour. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over everything, season with pepper and salt, then place on the middle shelf in the oven. Roast for two hours.

3. Transfer roasted beef bones and vegetables to a 15 litre stockpot. Pour entire bottle of wine into pot, then add water until everything is covered (this might not be possible as your bones might be poking out of the top of the pot. Bring to boil then reduce heat to medium and leave to simmer - FOR SIX HOURS!!!

4. As the jus simmers, fat from the bones will rise to the surface. Skim the fat from the surface and discard. This is important - it will have an effect on the quality of your final product. Also be aware, depending on the type of beef bones you use, there may be a darker element to the surface scum - this is marrow from the centre of the bones. Don't sweat if you can't skim all the marrow off, but do try.

5. Allow the liquid in the pot to gradually reduce over the six hours, then remove the bones and reduce the jus further if desired. Do not be surprised if you only yield 1 litre of jus once the bones are removed.

6. Allow to cool completely, then carefully pour into ice cube trays and freeze (if you're not using immediately). Your jus will keep in the freezer for up to a month.

7. Re-preparing the jus is simple. Take one or two nobs of butter. Melt them in a frying pan over a high heat. Add four to six jus cubes (I estimate you need two per person you’re serving) and bring to a rolling simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Add a little splash of extra red wine to finish, then spoon over your roast beef or pour around a bed of mashed potato and position your beef steak at an angle on top.

Note: Those who have cats or dogs may find the smell of the jus as it cooks drives their animals mad! Do not be surprised if you have to constantly shoo four footed friends from the kitchen! Extra meaty beef bones may yield morsels of meat – stave off crazed animals with these morsels!

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