Ahrrr steak, steak, steak! Aside from winning the lottery I can think of no better way to bring in the New Year. I know that I should probably be on a health spree after the recent Christmas break, but fuck that! I like steak, so I’m eating my way into 2014 in style.
Now it’s important to pick the right cut of meat when putting a dish together. I already know that I want a tender, succulent cut to accompany the rest of the dish. Now if you don’t have much knowledge of an animal you may find this part tricky, although these days the most popular cuts of meat are generally known. However there are so many cuts of beef to choose from, 18 common ones to be precise. Now I’m sure we both don’t have the time, or the patience for me to discuss every cut in this one post, but no worries if you continue to read ‘Articuleat‘, it’ will continue to teach.
For this dish I wanted a cut of beef that I could pan fry and finish in the oven, as my hunger did not allow me the luxury of time. This leaves me three ideal choices of meat to use; fillet, rump and sirloin. Now if I could afford it I would have them all on the same plate for three meals a day, everyday. However since I’m not rich and don’t plan on becoming a fat bastard until I’m at least 30, I need to pick one? The tenderest of all beef cuts is the fillet. Taken from underneath the sirloin section of the backbone, it gets almost no exercise, making it tender and flavoursome. Despite this I have chosen sirloin for this dish, just for personal preference.
The sirloin is a very tender joint located between the fore rib and the rump on the back of the carcass. When sold as a joint it may be either on the bone, or boned and rolled, with, or without the fillet. It can be sliced into steaks which are most commonly known as entrecote, sirloin and T-bone. This is cut across the sirloin and includes the bone and the larger porterhouse, which includes both sirloin and rib. This is a prime cut for roasting or grilling.
So anyway that’s your butchery lesson for the day, on to the rest of the dish. I love making five spice, although I use a few extra spices in my recipe, I suppose I should probably call it seven spice really? Oh well, math’s never was never my stronghold.
It’s a great product to make as it can either be toasted and spice ground to a powder, ideal for seasonings and sauces. Or the spices can be placed whole into sauces, gravies and soups. This delicate blend of spices is a perfect accompaniment to a sirloin steak. It has a light aromatic flavour when infused into the gravy; this contributes to the flavour of the steak, rather than overpowering it. A few of my spices are a little hard to get hold of in normal supermarkets so don’t worry too much; If you can’t find them all, I’m sure it will still taste great no matter what. If you are committed enough to find the spices most good oriental supermarkets, or spice shops will have them, or something similar- happy hunting. For this recipe I have ground some of the spices to coat the meat and the rest are infused into the gravy. Along with the natural sweetness of the Thai shallots the gravy is light and thin, more of an aromatic broth than a gravy.
Now for the potatoes I have a few things going on. Firstly I’ve made a paste using coriander root, garlic, Thai shallots and fresh red turmeric (any excuse to get the pestle and mortar out). This is then all pounded to a paste and fried until fragrant with the potatoes after they have been cooked (otherwise the paste will burn before the potatoes have been sautéed enough). The inclusion of red turmeric is for colour, rather than taste, although it does have a slight musky, bitter flavour. Fresh turmeric, like ginger is known as a rhizome (a thick underground stem, or root). Be careful when using as it stains your hands a yellow/orange colour. I’ve made this mistake a few times and ended up having to go out in public looking like some kind of umpa-lumpa, funny but not cool.
Anyway I wish you all a great new year and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 has to offer. This dish was a hell of a start so onwards and upwards. Thanks for giving me a read and I’ll see you soon.
– 100g, whole Thai shallots, peeled
-450g, beef sirloin, fat & skin removed and rolled into large sausage shape using cling film)
-1 1/2 tbspn, whole white peppercorns, toasted & 1/2 tbspn spice ground coarsely.
– A good glug of Kecap Manis, Indonesian sweet soy
– Olive oil, for frying
– 2 potatoes, peeled and evenly diced into 1cm by 1cm cubes (I prefer Maris piper for frying)
-2 Pik Kwan (Thai peppercorn), toasted & 1 spice ground to powder
-2tspn coriander seeds, toasted & bruised
-1/2 tspn cumin, toasted, 1/4 tspn spice ground to powder
– 2 star anise, toasted & 1 spice ground to powder
– 2 bay leaves, toasted & 1 spice ground to powder
-2 pieces, cassia bark, toasted & 1 spice ground to powder
-2, bird’s eye chillies
-2tbspn, red turmeric, peeled
-3 cloves garlic, peeled
-2tspn coriander roots, roughly chopped
-30g coriander leaves, washed and picked
-Malden sea salt
-20g, unsalted butter
-400ml, beef stock
-1tbspn, sesame oil
-2tbspn, oyster sauce
Method (serves 2 with spare five/seven spice)
1. Firstly combine the powdered star anise, cassia bark, bay leaves, Pik Kwan, white peppercorns and 1tbspn of the bruised coriander seeds. The rest of the whole toasted spices can be tied in some muslin to be used later in the gravy as a kind of bouquet garni.
2. Next take the sirloin out of the fridge and coat in a little oil, Kecap Manis and a good pinch of Malden sea salt, set aside for a few minutes and allow to reach room temperature (this relaxes the meat in preparation for frying). Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade (150 for fan oven) Seal the meat in a pan briefly (1-2 minutes) to colour and hold in juices. When coloured, dust with the powdered five spice and then place in the oven. For this sized meat you’re looking at 12-15 minutes for rare, 15-18 for medium-rare and 20-25 for well done, allow to rest for 6-8 minutes once removed from oven.
3. Whilst the steak cooks add a little more oil to the steak pan and bring to a medium heat, fry all but 4 of the whole Thai shallots in the oil until caramelised and fragrant, then de-glaze the pan with the beef stock. Add the bouquet garni, sesame oil, oyster sauce and a pinch of salt then bring to the boil, when boiling turn down to a simmer.
4. Lastly make your turmeric potatoes. Firstly pound the coriander root, 4 Thai shallots, red turmeric, bird’s eye chillies and garlic to a coarse paste, use salt as an abrasive if necessary. Blanch the potatoes in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, then refresh in cold water (this is just to soften them a little, not too cook them through). In a large, flat, non-stick frying pan heat a little olive oil. Fry the potatoes on a high heat, tossing regularly to get even colour on all sides of the diced potatoes. When nearly cooked throughout (around 6-8 minutes) add the butter and the paste and cook until fragrant and golden brown (around 2 minutes). When cooked remove from the heat and toss through a pinch of salt and the coriander leaves. Lastly discard the bouquet garni from the gravy then congratulations- you can eat.
Thanks very much for stopping by at Articuleat and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.
See you next time,