I love that saying, when someone says they have ‘beef’ with someone. It’s so nonsensical it’s laughable. However, as we’re coming up to Valentine’s Day, the sales of meats go up quite dramatically as we attempt to woo our significant other.
And thanks to the rise of mass produced meats, and a lack of education, we often find ourselves cooking the wrong types of beef with the wrong technique, leading to some very tough dishes. Here we have a simple guide, and some basic instructions to help you on your way.
Sirloin – This is a prime cut with good marbling and a decent rind of fat, similar to a fillet but with a deeper flavour. Ideally this should be served medium rare. The sauces that go best with Sirloin are bold, but not so bold as to overpower the steak. Mushroom, shallot, brandy and cream sauce is always a good option. Depending on the thickness of the steak, usually fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes each side.
T-Bone – T-Bone is a bit of a pain to cook. It’s left on the bone and is bloody huge! It’s not the most flavoursome, but it is impressive to look at, especially if you’re sharing. To ensure it cooks evenly, in a hot pan, add Shallots, Mushrooms and a little butter and seal on each side for 1 minute. Turn out into a heat proof dish, add a glass of red wine and put into a pre heated oven at 180c for 15 – 20 minutes. Use the sauce in the pan as a jus. Serve on a sharing platter with onion rings, hasselback potatoes and salad.
Fillet – The most tender (and expensive), Fillet is la crème de la crème of steaks. With next to no fat, you can make a show stopping meal. Literally flash fry for 1 – 2 minutes each side over a high heat with some butter, onion and mushrooms, transfer to a hot plate and cover with foil. Add cream to the pan with the onion and mushrooms and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve the steak on a bed of Mashed potato with a generous helping of mustard whisked in and a side of Carrots or Asparagus and conservatively spoon the sauce onto the steak.
Rib-Eye/ Cote du Bouef – These are either on or off the bone. On the bone will serve 2 as a sharing platter like the T-Bone. Ideally you should serve medium-rare with any steak sauce you fancy.
Rump – Delicious and pretty cheap. Rump is perfect for griddling, or flash frying. It has a decent marble, and a thick rind. It’s probably the most versatile of all the steaks and works very well when served with subtle flavours such as garlic, onions, and grilled tomatoes or as part of a mixed grill to share. Best served Medium-Rare to Medium-Well-Done.
Onglet – Be very careful with Onglet. It is a very lean cut and comes in a rope shape. Best served rare, usually this would be best braised or steamed in the oven for a show stopping ‘carvery’ type meat. Serve with an assortment of vegetables, sauces and gravies. Or do an entire ‘Sunday Roast’ and serve in a giant Yorkshire Pudding.
Stewing/Braising – If you’re looking for something more affordable but still full of flavour THEN Stewing and Braising steaks are perfect. Simply seal on each side for a minute, add lots of vegetables of your liking, and add boiling water, or for a richer flavour, enough gravy to cover everything and simmer until nice and tender.