Thursday, 10 September 2015

Red wine jus

It's always the little things that complete a meal. Linen napkins, long stemmed wine glasses, a good sauce. Whilst there's a lot about Manu Feildel that bugs the crap out of me - his overt flirtiness, his overt French accent, his overt willingness to use store-bought stock - I am a massive supporter of his love of sauce. 

My sauce doesn't even have to be sauce. Sour cream, bbq sauce and mint jelly do me equally well. But when I'm serious, I love making an orange and cognac sauce for some chicken, or a blue cheese and walnut sauce for some rare steak. 

Tonight, we had beef and roasted root vegies (swede, parsnip, fennel, beetroot) and seeing as we were going to enjoy a bottle of red with it anyway, I figured why not chuck some of it in a sauce. A red wine jus is not like the Romans discovering the wheel or Kim Kardashian taking a nude pic, ie it's not new. But it's bloody good and a reliable standby. Here's my recipe. 

Serves 4 (or Manu and one other) 


olive oil
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 sprig rosemary
2 cloves garlic (oh ok, you can have three)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
250 ml red wine (pick a big one, like a Cab Sav, and it doesn't have to be expensive either but try to avoid using something from a cask)
500 ml beef stock (go on, be like Manu, use a store-bought one)
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
salt and pepper
knob of butter


Heat some oil in a saucepan, and fry up the spring onions for about 3 minutes but keep your eyes on it so it doesn't burn. Add the rosemary and garlic for another few minutes then pour in the balsamic vinegar. Let it cook at almost boiling until it gets a bit syrupy then chuck in the wine and pour yourself a hefty glass as well. Go on, you deserve it.

When the wine has reduced by about half, it's time to add the beef stock and keep that near-boiling thing happening and keep stirring it as well with a wooden spoon. Which is nice really as it gives you something to do while you enjoy your wine.

So after about 5-7 minutes, when it's starting to resemble something they might serve in a paid eating establishment, add the brown sugar and cornflour and a grind of the salt and pepper. Nows about the time you want to get your whisk out and work the lumps out of that cornflour with the same intensity that Justin Beiber works on making himself unlikeable.

It will get much thicker and more gorgeous looking and that's when you can take it off the stove and strain it into a glass or ceramic jug and add the knob of butter.

Now all you need is a roast beef or some steaks and serve the jus in a quaint little jug on the side.

Oh and the rest of that bottle of red.