I remember as a wee boy that if you got steak for dinner it really was a special occasion.
Our family lived on various methods of cooking mince , meatballs , burgers , stew and of course my favourite meat loaf , my mothers own secret recipe ……. more breadcrumbs than mince but in fairness it was so tasty .
Working for years in hotels the most popular dish on the a la carte menu was sirloin or fillet steak. Of course it had to be served well done , smothered with mushrooms , onion rings , chips , peas and black pepper sauce , sure you couldn’t beat it !
In my own personal opinion this is a horrendous way to serve such a wonderful piece of meat but then again the customer is always right ……. sometimes, ahem !!
As the years have progressed and with the availability of pre packed meat, steak has become more affordable but unfortunately mass produced with a lot of the meat on the shelves being tough , dry when cooked and tasteless .
When choosing steak whether it be sirloin , fillet , rib eye , rump or frying steak it is very important that it is well aged , at least 28 days , for sirloin & rib eye there should be a nice layer of fat on the outside.
It’s so tasty when fried, also there should be fat marbled through the middle of the steak , this will improve the flavour and melt through the cooking process .
I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it again , yes there are good pre packed steaks available but for me anything that has a tissue under it to collect the blood and is gas flushed to keep it from going bad is not the style of meat I’m looking for !!
There are so many local butchers now rearing there own cattle or buying from local farmers that it’s well worth a visit and paying that little bit extra.
You get to meet the producer in real life, ask them where the meat came from, get them to cut the steak to the size you need.
I guarantee that you buy steaks based on the price on the label and not by the size that you need. Remember thin medallions of fillet steak are just as tasty and one sirloin and will be more tender .
When cooking steak the more rare the better for me, I even go as far as eating it raw in a steak Tartar , Mr. Bean Style if you remember that, in my formative years in Paris , this was served for staff dinners and was always a favourite.
If you have difficulty with cooking steak properly here are some tips for you .
Sirloin , rib eye , rump or fillet steak which ever you prefer, allow one steak per person, the usual weight is 8oz raw if cooking a large steak you will need to increase the cooking times.
Season the steak with black pepper only.
Heat a little oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan, when the oil begins to smoke place the steak in the pan (take care not to burn yourself )and reduce the heat leaving the steak to cook until it is completely sealed on that side. Turn and season the cooked side with salt, seal on the other side and turn, once again season with salt.
You do not need to stand shaking the pan or constantly turning the steak it cooks better in the pan. Leave to cook until it has reached your desired temperature.
The different cooking temperatures are;
Blue, cooked for a maximum of 2 minutes each side raw and cool in the middle
Rare, cooked for a maximum of 4 minutes each side less raw in the middle and warmer.
Medium-rare, 6 minutes each side pink and juicy in the middle hot in the centre
Medium, pink in the middle starting to dry out hot in the centre
Medium-well slightly pink in the middle well cooked on the outside hot in the middle.
Well done, cooked through the centre dry and hot in the centre well cooked on the outside.
Very well done, the steak will be well cooked through the middle, dry and completely burnt and crisp on the outside a waste of good money & meat at this stage though !!
If you are looking for something different to serve try these cheese & garlic potatoes , so tasty and to be honest you won’t need a sauce with the steak if you serve these .
Cheese and garlic potatoes.
Allow three medium par boiled potatoes per person
You will need
Par boiled potatoes
Pouring cream ( at least 2x 500mls for 4 portions )
2 Chicken stock cubes
4 cloves of chopped
500g of Grated cheddar cheese.
Slice the potatoes into ½ inch slices, layer in a deep oven proof dish.
Heat the cream in a pot and just before it boils add the stock cube and the garlic , season.
Pour the cream over the potatoes and cover in tin foil.
Bake at 170c until the potatoes are tender and the cream has thickened slightly.
Remove all the tinfoil and sprinkle with the cheese and glaze until golden.
Serve from the dish.
Many thanks for your comments and shares for last week’s article , it’s much appreciated and I hope to see you this weekend at the taste of Donegal food festival always a great food event.