Beef Olives have been a part of British cuisine since the 16th century. Given the name, one would think that they actually contain olives. Actually, this is not the case. “Olive” is a British term for for wrapping meat around a savory stuffing, browning it and finishing it in a brown sauce.
The Master Taste Tester remembered his mother occasionally making Beef Olives, and suggested that I give it a try. Unfortunately, he didn’t have his mother’s recipe. Since I had zero experience in making Beef Olives, I did a search for a recipe, and settled on one from Jamie Oliver as a starting point.
I used the following ingredients: Ground pork, bacon, bread crumbs, onions, garlic, fresh sage, nutmeg, salt, pepper, beef, all purpose flour, vegetable oil, carrots, beef broth, red wine, and dried thyme.
Making the Stuffing:
The stuffing for the Beef Olives was basically a savory sausage. To make it, I processed the ground pork, bacon, chopped onion, minced garlic, bread crumbs, fresh sage, nutmeg, salt, and freshly ground pepper in my food processor fitted with the steel blade.
Making the Beef Olives:
For the Beef Olives, I started by pounding the beef to a thickness of about 1/4-inch.
I sprinkled some salt and pepper on the beef. Then, I rolled some of the stuffing into a cylinder, and placed it in the middle of the beef. Next, I wrapped the beef around the stuffing, and tied the Beef Olive with some cooking twine.
I ended up with four Beef Olives. However, because it was just the two of us, I decided to cook two and freeze the other two. I dusted the Beef Olives with flour, and browned them on all sides in a bit of oil. After removing the browned meat, I added the onions and carrots to the pan, and cooked them over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Finally, I added the beef broth, wine, salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried thyme to the pan, and brought the mixture to a boil.
I thought about cooking the Beef Olives in either a slow cooker or a Dutch oven in the oven. At the last minute, I decided to cook the meat on the stovetop in a Dutch oven over medium low heat. Given this, it would have been easier to have cooked everything in the Dutch oven in the first place. Oh well, I was still learning! After three hours of cooking, the meat was literally falling apart!
Making the Sauce:
The final step was making the sauce. I started by removing the Beef Olives from the pan, and pouring the liquid into a wire strainer set over a bowl. The Master Taste Tester was horrified that the onions and carrots were going to be discarded. I explained that all of their flavor had been cooked out and was now in the sauce. Using the back of a spoon, I pressed as much liquid as possible from the vegetables.
Then, I poured the reserved liquid into a fat separator, before returning it to the Dutch oven. I thought that the sauce was a bit thin, so I thickened it with some Bisto mixed with beef broth. I returned the Beef Olives to the Dutch oven for about 5 minutes to ensure that they were fully heated. Before serving them, I removed the twine. I served the Beef Olives with steamed fresh broccoli and new potatoes, topped with the incredible sauce. They were fork tender and absolutely delicious. Yum!