Saturday, 19 January 2013

Perfect Rump Steak

I'm not saying this as a general rule about all food on restaurant menus, but as far as steak is concerned, I find the portions in steak houses to be totally unacceptable.

The menu may proudly scream '8 OZ' or '250 GRAMS', and if the dish was sea bass or cabbage I may well be commensurately impressed, but where a slab of beef is concerned, a half pound is pathetic - barely a tooth filler. When I eat steak, I want it to be a slice of brontasaurus, just like Fred Flintstone used to eat in his local branch of The Steakosaurus Grill.

The only thing is, I'm a bit of a skinflint, so I'm not prepared to eat steak out and order a porterhouse cut for one person (£40 per portion minimum), so I buy my steak in supermarkets and cook it home, and order the sea bass and cabbage in restaurants instead.

Ho hum, steaks in supermarkets are pretty dear too. So what is the gourmand-miser to do? Easy, buy the cheaper cuts on special offer and prepare and cook them properly. Bingo! Massive steaks, perfectly cooked and at bargain basement prices.

Today's amazing find is rump steak at £6 per kilo, from Morrison's. I bought myself a thick cut 450g portion, with a nice cap of creamy fat. Mrs Ribeye got a teeny 400g one (she IS a girl, after all).

After rubbing it with some nice dried spices and olive oil and marinating it for a day or two, then searing it at nuclear-level heat before finishing it in a hot oven for a minute or two, the results were fantastic. Beautifully caramelised crust, with a buttery soft centre. Perfecto. All I needed was to de-glaze the pan with a little water to create a tasty jus and serve the steak with some simple White Bean Mash.

In your face, local steakhouse!

The thing is, the cheaper cuts may be a bit tougher, which means that rare is the only way to cook them. The outer crustiness gives you some much needed intense flavour to carry the dish off, while the rareness of the beef inside gives you a wonderfully cool smooth texture to counterbalance the savoury outside - which means that the hotter the temperatures you cook your steaks at (for the shortest time), the better the finished result. Preheat your oven and hob to the highest temperature you can. I leave mine on for twenty minutes before using them - which has the added benefit of warming the kitchen to a pleasant winter-snow-beating 30c.

Price-wise, this whole dish comes in at £3 per serving, including the mash. Garnish with parsley to further enhance your steakhouse home vibe, and then laugh at the fools who have just paid five times the amount in a restaurant for something that took you ten minutes to cook. And you can eat it in your pants on your bed while watching DVDs. Tell me which restaurant offers that?

Serves 2


2 large rump steaks, with 1cm fat still on
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of dried spice mix - I use a blend of garlic salt, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, coriander seed, fennel and dried thyme and rosemary
Wine glass of water
White bean mash, to serve (click the link above for recipe)
Handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper

A day before you want to eat them, rub the olive oil all over the steaks and then sprinkle liberally with the spice mix and refrigerate overnight. Twenty minutes before you want to cook them, remove the steaks from the fridge and preheat oven and hob to maximum heat. In a cast iron skillet (invest in one - they are AMAZING) or heatproof frying pan, fry the steaks on the each side, including the fat layer, until charred and then place the pan in the oven. Cook in the oven for 3 minutes and then set aside to allow the meat to rest. De-glaze the pan with a wine glass of water until reduced by two-thirds. Slice the steaks into 2cm batons, across the grain. Serve the steaks with the jus, the mash and maybe a green salad. Scatter with the parsley and generously season (don't forget that this is the first actual salt you have used, so don't be afraid to use a heavy hand).

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