Two years ago we planted sapling nut trees in a sheltered corner of Thyme to create a little nuttery. Almonds, chestnuts and four types of walnut, ‘Broadview’, ‘Buccaneer’, ‘Mars’ & ‘Sychrov’, all particularly well suited to the climate in the UK, and perfect for the kitchen. The saplings are thriving, but while we wait for our first nut harvest, we continue to enjoy walnuts from the mature tree in the Manor’s garden. Pickled walnuts have been a staple British preserve since the 18th century, delicious with bitter leaves, cheese and fat-rich meats. We pickle the walnuts in the summer when they are fresh and still green ... six months later they are soft, deep black and intense in flavour. If you don’t have your own from the summer, then a jar of Opies will work just as well.
- 1.5 kg beef (Choose a nice cut, suitable for braising, for example chuck or topside)
- Beef dripping (optional)
- 2 onions
- 3 sticks of celery
- 1 head of fennel
- 1 head of garlic
- 3 bay leaves
- A small bunch of rosemary and thyme (around 4 sticks of rosemary)
- half bottle red wine
- 750 ml Chicken or beef stock
- 2 large handfuls parsley
- 12 anchovies
- 2 tbsp capers
- 2 garlic clove
- 350g jar of Opies pickled walnuts
Preheat your oven to 150°C.
- Chop the beef into large chunks of around 4-6cm and season with salt.
- Ensure that you have a heavy based saucepan big enough to fit, you should not have to cram your ingredients into it. Over a medium to high heat, brown the beef in the drippings. Take your time, making sure that the meat is evenly browned.
- Once all your beef is nicely browned, set it to one side. Chop the vegetables into large chunks, onions and fennel in quarters and so on. Tie the herbs together and gently brown everything in the pot.
- When nicely caramelised, pour in the red wine and reduce by half. Add in your stock and allow it to start to come up to temperature.
- Add the beef and put a round of greaseproof paper on top of the braise. Foil and lid the pan and put it in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat is tender but still holding its shape.
- Meanwhile, chop the parsley well, followed by the capers, anchovies and garlic, and cover with olive oil and a splash of the vinegar from your pickled walnuts. Set it aside.
- Once the braise is ready, remove it from the oven and gently lift out the beef and discard the vegetables. Reduce your stock by around two thrids or until you have a beautiful sauce.
- Add the beef back to the stock and add in the sliced pickled walnuts, and stir through the salsa verde.
- Serve in bowls alongside creamy mashed potatoes.