Beef and Bacon Olives with Lemon & Thyme

A Gary Rhodes recipe

This slowly braised beef, stuffed with bacon then served in its own sauce, is a real rich classic and a meal from one pot. The texture of the meat in this dish becomes really moist and tender, while the bacon and lemon flavours go together so well. I like to use rashers of back bacon (smoked or unsmoked) at least ¼ in (5mm) thick. This will give you plenty of meat content in the rolled olives. Incidentally, to avoid confusion, anything rolled up and secured with a cocktail stick is an “olive”.

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 4 x 4-6oz (100g – 175g) slices beef topside or rump; 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme; finely grated zest of 1-2 lemons; 4 x ¼ in thick (5mm) rashers back bacon; oil; 1 ½ – 2 pints (900ml – 1.2 litres) beef or chicken stock; 1 garlic clove; 1 small thyme sprig; 2-3 carrots; 2 onions; 1 large swede; 3 celery sticks; 2-3 large potatoes; 1 leek; 2oz (50g) butter

  • Place the beef slices between 2 sheets of cling-film and flatten with a rolling pin, to give escalopes ¼ in (5mm) thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix together the chopped thyme and grated lemon zest and sprinkle over each beef escalope. Then lay a rasher of bacon on top of each escalope and roll up to make an olive. Secure each with two cocktail sticks and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan, add the olives and brown evenly. Then remove them from the frying pan and place in a saucepan with the stock. Add the garlic and thyme sprig. Then bring the stock to the simmer and cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours, skimming any impurities from the surface of the stock.
  • Prepare all the vegetables and chop them into ¾ in (2cm) dice. Then add them – except the leek – to the stock for the last 20-25 minutes of cooking time. Add the leek to the pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • Strain 10fl oz (300ml) stock into a saucepan, boil to reduce by half. Whisk in butter. To serve, remove thyme sprig and garlic, spoon veg into centre of plates or bowls. Sit olives on top, remove cocktail sticks, spoon the sauce over.

For braising the beef olives:

A Gary Rhodes recipe book:

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