A Tasty Little Imposter…

My recipe this week is an imposter. Not only is it not slow cooked like it should be, but it dares to retain its father’s foreign name. I’m not really too concerned though, because I can still get a great result without all the faff. It got me thinking, perhaps being an imposter simply allows you to adapt until you’re the real deal, ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ and all.

I’ve felt like an imposter on many occasions. We were ridiculed if we said the name ofour closest town correctly, and by that, I mean with the Māori pronunciation. We had to pronounce it the proper Kiwi way, Pappa-koo-ra, because there’s no worse crime than attempting to be ‘politically correct’. Nursing school took care of all that though; pōwhiris, karakias, overnighters at the local marae, extensive lectures on The Treaty of Waitangi – I could be assured of near perfect political correctness at all times. Yet, I still felt like a phony. Even the term ‘politically correct’ is insulting, it implies that you are simply following a rule to avoid being shamed, not necessarily because you believe in the values behind it.

Saying my own last name was a minefield too. I was reliably informed on many occasions that ‘Duval’ is actually pronounced ‘Doovil’ in New Zealand, no matter where your ancestors came from. It didn’t bother me that much, it’s just that I’ve always felt that attempting to pronounce any word correctly is simply a matter of respect. Plus it’s kind of fun to roll the word about on your tongue, see what comes out. Luckily, I’ve well and truly got over the cringe factor, and now have the pleasure of hearing my children speak Māori words with a fluent inflection they don’t even think about. It’s as if they were speaking their own language… which of course, they are.

Observing tradition doesn’t stop progress, it simply allows new things to evolve. Take this abbreviated and fraudulent little Beef Bourguignon, a dish which normally takes hours to cook. With a few shortcuts and a better cut of meat, you can still experience a tasty, classic French meal, yet bring it to the table in as little as 45 minutes. Choice one.

Beef Bourguignon

50g butter

2 french shallots, or 1 white onion,  finely chopped

2 rashers Black Rock bacon, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon plain flour

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup Simon Gault Beef Stock

4 x 150g beef scotch fillet steaks

1 tablespoon olive oil

100g button mushrooms, thinly sliced

Melt half the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, bacon and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add wine, stirring constantly. Bring to the boil. Add stock. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, season steak with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to a large heavy based frying pan over high heat. Cook steak to your liking (2-3 min each side for med-rare). Cover to keep warm.

Melt remaining butter in pan over high heat. Add mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes or until golden. Spoon the mushrooms and the red wine reduction over the steaks, and serve with vegetables of your choice.


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