It is the favourite among us British on a Sunday, cooked to the bone with all the trimmings. Beef also packs in a good amount of protein – around 30 grams per serving! Below is a guide to everything you’ll ever need to know on beef – including a recipe to cook your perfect roast.
Remember that if you want the beef really tender and highly flavoursome – it has to be a purplish colour (which means it has been hung for 2 to 3 weeks). The fat on the meat should be creamy and of a white colour. One key tip – it is essential to have fat around your beef steak or joint when you cook it,as this helps make the meat more tender.
THE STEAK CUT
The key thing about a steak to say a roasting joint is that it needs to be eaten the minute you’ve finished cooking it.
Rib-Eye: Lots of flavour and a lot of fat running through the meat.
T-Bone: Remember, when paying for the weight, there will be quite a bit of bone on the steak.
Rump: Very flavoursome but not as tender as other cuts.
Sirloin: Arguably the best cut of beef, great flavour and very tender.
Fillet: This is the most tender of all the cuts but lacks flavour.
Skirt: This can only be eaten medium rare and can only be cooked for a minute or two.
Thin Sirloin: These are extremely thin cuts, normally pre-packed – ideal as a sandwich for lunch.
PAN-FRYING THE STEAKS:
Remember, fast cooking a steak keeps all the juices sealed inside the meat. I use a griddle pan for all my steaks – while it cooks with intense heat, the raised lines in the pan give the steak that barbecue taste.
Tip: Never add the steak to the pan straight away and never add oil to the pan at the beginning. Instead, always brush the steaks with oil before cooking. Once the pan is smoking from the heat, then add the steaks.
The key to cooking beef is to make sure you seal the meat, it’s flavours and the juice – you can only do this, when the pan is smoking on a high heat. When the steak has been added to the pan, you can turn the heat down, so you are in total control of the booking.
ROASTING YOUR BEEF:
I use a slow cooking beef joint – because it is cheaper but still has a decent amount of fat wrapped around to give the beef a full flavour while cooking. If you can afford to break the bank, go for rib of beef or a sirloin joint. If you go for a Topside joint, be careful, as this can cook very quickly – make sure you cook this joint medium to keep it tender.
The roasting should happen after the oven is hot and on a high heat. Cook the joint on this high heat for 15 minutes, to seal the flavour and juices. Then reduce the heat and continue to cook.
Tip: If you are cooking for a group of people, there will be those who prefer their meat cooked medium, others well done. After about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on what type of joint you have), take the meat out and cut into slices. You will hopefully see the slices are cooked on the outside with it being redder towards the middle with blood. Place the slices flat on a roasting tray and put back into the oven…continue to cook until you reach the level of cooking you want on each slice. For those who want it medium, keep out of the oven, place the meat on a hot tray and cover until you are ready to serve.
ADDITIONS TO YOUR BEEF:
The following are great additions to your beef dish – again, pick on what fits within your nutrition plan. Mushrooms, green beans & peas, tomatoes, caramelized onions, thyme / chive / oregano herbs, gravy, mustard (Dijon), sweet potato (mashed or roasted), potato (roasted, mashed, boiled).
Tip: For gravy, try making your own. Once you have taken the joint out of the oven and lifted it off the tray, you should be left with a good amount of juice in the foil (if cooked correctly). Poor the juice into a pan, add 2 teaspoons of flour, 1 cube of beef stock, a drop of red wine, 1 teaspoon of tomato purée and stir under a moderate heat. Season with salt and pepper. If you like your gravy thick, add more flour. Make sure you strain the gravy through a sieve before serving.
RECIPE: ROAST RIB OF BEEF WITH ROAST POTATOES, SWEET POTATOES & TOASTED SESAME GREEN BEANS.
(approx 55 grams of protein per serving)
Preheat oven to 200°C/425°F/gas 7. Put the beef joint onto a roasting tray and season with salt and pepper. Once the oven is hot, add the beef into the oven and cook at the high heat for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat of the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5 and use these following guidelines:
rare – medium rare: 15 minutes per 450g weight of beef
medium: 20 minutes per 450 g weight of beef
well done: 25-30 minutes per 450g
As mentioned before, if catering for a group, try my method of slicing the beef, laying them flat on the tray and cook to the guidelines above.
Tip: If you don’t want to slice the meat, as suggested, pierce the joint with a skewer – if the beef is cold, it’s not cooked. If warm, it’s medium-rare, hot means it’s well done.
Once your joint is cooked, remove from the oven and keep fully wrapped in the foil (after emptying the juice into a pan for the gravy) – leave the joint to stand for 20 minutes. Afterwards, you are ready to serve.
I’m a fan of preboiling my the potatoes, so the fluffy edges get crispy while they roast on the oven.
You want to simmer the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for about 6 minutes. Then drain and shake (in a large sieve) until the edges start to crumble.
Tip: Sprinkle some flour over the potatoes and season with mixed herbs (dry) as you shake the edges. Place the potatoes back into the pan and add 4 teaspoons of olive oil. On a low heat, turn the potatoes gently around, until you see each potato glazed by the olive oil (there should still be flour on the potatoes which is fine).
Add the potatoes to a separate tray (to your beef) and roast in the oven for 45 minutes – or until golden – making sure you turn the potatoes over at least once during cooking.
These can be served mashed or roasted. After cutting the sweet potatoes into cubes (making sure the skin is peeled), add to boiling water. The potatoes should take no more than 20 minutes to soften enough for you to drain and mash. Use a fork to mash the potatoes in a pan. Add 1/4 cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and continue to mix until you have a smooth mixture. If you like your sweet potato mash creamy, add more milk. You can also add some chopped parsley into the mixture to give it more taste.
Roasting the sweet potatoes is straight forward. Get a small baking tray, cover the inside with foil and brush olive oil all over the foil. Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges and place (skin down) onto the tray – season with salt, pepper and dry mixed herbs. The oven should be at 180°C/350°F/gas 4 – the potatoes should take no more than 45 to 50 minutes to roast.
TOASTED SESAME GREEN BEANS
Fry the sesame seeds in a dry pan until toasted and golden brown. Remove from the pan afterwards. Boil the green beans for about 1 minute before draining. Add olive oil to a pan or wok. Once sizzling, add the green beans, then the sesame seeds and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Remember that any mixed coloured vegetables are a great accompaniment to beef (with their high nutrition value) – broccoli, green beans, peas, cauliflower, carrots and brussels sprouts.
Tip: Do not boil vegetables for more than 3 minutes in boiling water. You need to make sure there is some crispiness in the vegetables when you serve. To make the vegetables more exciting, why not also try adding yoghurt onto the broccoli or chestnut sauce (low fat cream & chestnut purée mixed and heated in a pan for a minute) to the sprouts.