Part of the Two Brothers Foods ethos is respectful use of the whole carcass. Christopher Archambault, Executive Chef of The Headland Hotel & Spa in Newquay, explains why cuts such as Feather Blade are appreciated by professional chefs:
“Feather sits on the side of the shoulder blade and when sliced looks like a feather with the nerve like the quill. Magical for braises, daubes and casseroles, it also makes a fantastic fast frying steak if served rare. It is underrated and excellent value for money, meaning we can offer our customers a fantastic product at a great price.”
Recipe: Christopher Archambault, Executive Chef, The Headland Hotel & Spa, Newquay
Two Brothers Slow Cooked Feather Blade, Headland Sea Spinach, Girolles & Charred Onion
Ingredients to serve 6:
1x Trimmed whole feather blade of beef
1x Btl full-bodied, quality red wine, reduced by half & chilled
1x Small bunch of thyme
3x Bay leaves
4x Cloves garlic
80ml Cornish extra virgin rapeseed oil (Or extra virgin olive oil)
Freshly ground black pepper
Beef or chicken stock to cover (optional)
3 or 4 good handfuls of choice picked Cornish sea spinach leaves
200gm Trimmed girolles or other in-season wild mushrooms
2 Whole white onions, topped & tailed & roasted in a medium oven until fully cooked
1. Cure the feather blade lightly by covering evenly with curing salt for 8 hours. Rinse very well and pat dry. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
2. In a large vac pac bag, combine the blade, red wine, thyme, bay leaves, garlic & oil.
3. Seal well and place in a water bath at 70 degrees Celsius for approx. 15 hours or until it is tender to the touch. The inner central seam of the blade must be meltingly tender. Chill in ice water until fully cooled.
4. In lieu of a water bath or circulator, cover all the ingredients bar the oil in a large, lidded casserole dish with hot stock and braise in a medium oven for 3-4 hours until fully cooked. Strain the stock and use for a gravy.
5. Remove the blade from the bag or casserole dish and slice into uniform ‘steaks’.
6. Serve immediately from the oven, or if you employed the sous vide technique, use a hot pan and brown well with oil and butter on one side. Finish in a medium oven to warm through.
7. Slice the onions in half, season, drizzle a little rapeseed oil and char well with a blowtorch.
8. Use a hot dry pan and quick flash the sea spinach until it starts to wilt down. Add a little butter and seasoning to finish.
9. Use the same pan and cook the mushrooms in the French style; high heat sizzle to release the moisture, evaporate, butter it up, season and serve.
Divide the sea spinach between the six plates and mount each slab of blade. Share the girolles out and artfully arrange the charred onion. Sauce with the gravy if you went for a traditional braise or make a quick beefy vinaigrette with the vac pac juices. Salsa verde or even just a lemony garlic parsley butter would more than suffice. Tipple has got to be a big ol’ red such as Pinot Noir.
Wild gear: It’s a no-brainer. If there is super healthy food springing up from the ground everywhere you walk around the Cornish coast, and you can pick it for free...what are you doing sitting here reading this? Sea beet or sea spinach leaf is everywhere in the spring and autumn, is healthier than spinach and even cooks up better. Get picking.
Fungal matters: It’s always a dice toss in these parts as to whether we’ll get a bumper crop of wild mushrooms come autumn. But it’s great fun to go have a look. Girolles are easier to spot than the mighty cep, but far more elusive in the South West. Just remember to use a hot pan with a butter finish. Don’t be cooking these lovelies in oil.
About Chris - Christopher Archambault is the Executive Head Chef of The Headland Hotel & Spa in Newquay, Cornwall. After long tenures in Devon, Dublin, London, Sussex and Canadian ski resorts, all roads led to Cornwall...his wife being Cornish.
Chris is a keen food writer and food photographer and describes his cooking style as ‘simple with a personal touch’.
If you are interested in ordering Feather Blade or discussing your butchery requirements in general, please call 01726 861 587.