In one of my red meat cravings (yes, I do have those!), I develop the idea for these beef tartlets inspired by an interesting sounding recipe from Charlie Trotter. His version includes a red-wine braised oxtail with potatoes in rich and buttery crust. When it comes to braised meat, I prefer a spicy and more aromatic version so I choose to do a Sichuan-style chili beef instead. The stew is packed with flavours, a fantastic way of cooking meat.
But it is the crust that I want to talk a little more about. It is not the normal buttery crust which I feel is too heavy for the Asian-style beef stew. So, a bit of experiment is undertaken with a bulgur crust. Here, the bulgur gives a bit of crunch and a nutty flavour. Without having to use butter, the crust is lighter and pairs well with the spicy beef. However, I am still developing a better way of dealing with the crust. Getting the crust out of the tartlet moulds, even the removable bottom ones, is a bit of a problem. Perhaps next time I will aim for a much thicker crust, or do a free-from tart instead.
These tasty tartlets, although still in development, are my entry to Waiter, There´s something in my Topless Tarts hosted by the Cooksister.
Chili Beef & Potato in Bulgur Crust
The Filling #1: Sichuan-style Braised Beef
Recipe adapted from this book
1.5kg mixture of oxtail & beef short ribs*
2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
4 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 tbsp Sichuan chili bean paste (click here for product info)
Beef stock, as needed
4 tbsp. Shao Hsing wine
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. whole
1 whole star anise
Trim off the fat from the meat. Season the meat with salt & pepper and brown it carefully. Put all ingredients except for the stock in a slow cooker. Put in enough stock to just cover the meat. Cook in “Low” mode for 5-6 hours (I let it simmer overnight) or until tender. You can braise the meat in a stove top or in a Dutch oven. Remember braising these cuts of meat takes time but it is worth it!
* You can also substitute with other meat like lamb, chicken or pork. Adjust cooking time accordingly.
Filling#2 – Boiled potato slices: optional
The Bulgur Crust
Still in development. But it is based on a recipe from Raymond Blanc. I used half of this recipe for the above filling. But it might be better to have a thicker crust, so you may need a bit more.
In a floured surface, work with the bulgur. Add in a few tablespoons of whole-meal flour. Add more water as needed so everything bind together. The mixture will be a bit wet. Let the dough rest for 10-15 mins before proceed.
Assembling the Tart
For the filling, carefully shred the cooked meat from the bone. Discard the bone. Strain the cooking juice into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce by 1/3 – this will be served with the tart later.
Put a piece of dough into the removable bottom tartlet rings (10cm size). Push and press the dough so you have a fairly thick crust. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake in pre-heated oven at 200C for 8-10 mins or until golden. Cool down.
Arrange the potato slices into the tart base, then, the meat filling. I also add some chili jam, but this is optional. Bake in the oven for 10 mins. Cool the tartlets down so it will be easy to remove.
Serve warm or at room temp, drizzling with some warmed reduce sauce. Accompanied by a simple salad.