Here is how to make classic blind finches!
It is a Belgian type of beef roulade made from scratch simmered in a light beer gravy sauce…
You already hear us coming: this is traditional Belgian beer cuisine at its very best!
No seriously, you are in for a real treat today.
And it is totally possible that you have heard of this classic Belgian dish before.
Credits for that go to the BBC’s Hairy Bikers, 2 crazy foodies with a fondness for motorcycles and food. Dave and Si are British television presenters who have made a bunch of series about food all over the world ever since.
The Hairy Bikers
They are absolutely bonkers.
In one of their earliest series one of their bike tours brought them to Belgium. And because Dave and Si are here for food, they came across this very old-fashioned local comfort food.
Back then they translated this dish quite literally and called it ’blind finch’, or ’blinde vink’ which is how we call it in Flemish. Headless birds is another name that these beef parcels sometimes end up with.
There is no fixed recipe for these classic blind finches.
I prepared it the way I like my blinde vinken best.
But that beer gravy sauce is a true must, honestly!
Best Blind Finches (Belgian Blinde Vinken)
This is Belgian beer cuisine: what else did you expect?
My recipe asks for large thin beef slices. I always use thinly sliced beef carpaccio to make these blind finches: carpaccio is super thin and just perfect to wrap the beef mince in. Or you can ask your butcher to slice it for you!
In Belgium you can also find blind finches ready made in the fresh meat department.
By the way, this Belgian recipe always makes me think of a similar recipe: my Italian braciole di manzo beef parcels in tomato sauce!
Best Blind Finches in Beer Gravy
For 4 people
1. Assemble the blind finches
- 8 thin slices beef
- 9 oz ground beef (250 g)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 shallot chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic chopped
- In a saucepan melt the butter and add the chopped garlic and shallots.
- Cook over low heat for 5 minutes until the shallot is soft, then put it aside to cool.
- In a mixing bowl add the beef mince, chopped parsley and cooled shallot and garlic mixture. Season with pepper and salt to taste.
- Knead or stir the ingredients well. Then taste the beef and add extra pepper or salt if necessary. Divide the mince into 8 even portions. Mine were more or less 1 ½ oz (50 g) each.
- Put a thin slice of beef on a chopping board and place a portion of the mince in the middle. Sprinkle with a little pepper.
- Cover with one side of the beef slice.
- Now fold the other side over the beef. Then wrap the rest of the filling and put the finished parcels on a clean plate.
Make the beer gravy
- 1 ½ cup amber beer (375 ml)
- some fresh rosemary, sage or thyme
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp worcester sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sauce thickener
- Add the butter to a large non-stick pan and melt it over medium heat. Then add the beef parcels, folded side down.
- Brown the beef for about 4 minutes and then flip them over gently.
- Cook the blind finches for another 3 minutes. Now add the amber beer, the worcester sauce and whatever fresh herbs you want to use.
- Put a lid on the pan and gently simmer the beer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Turn the beef parcels regularly.
- Discard the cooked herbs. Check the seasoning of the sauce and add extra pepper, salt or worcester sauce to taste.
- Transfer the blind finches to a plate and cover them with tinfoil to keep them warm. Sprinkle the remaining beer sauce in the pan with sauce thickener, turn the heat up a little until the sauce starts to simmer and stir well. When the sauce has thickened a little, add the cooked blind finches again and cook them for another 2 minutes. Drizzle them with the sauce.
- Transfer the blind finches onto plates and drizzle with the beer gravy sauce.