Dirty Black Beef with biltong, chilli, pistachio and coriander blingAnyone that knows me also knows that I’m the worlds laziest chef. If there is a shortcut or if I can shave some time off and still get my beautiful result, I’m just all for it. Which is probably why I’m so happy and smiley all of the time. This is a simple but stunning “Quickie in the Kitchen” that will have you making this dish again and again. By changing the spices and the accompanying bling, you can re-hash this one pot wonder again and again as many times as you like. I also do this with lamb rump or lamb backstop when the mood takes me. I allow about 200-300 g meat per person served For about 1kg meat I make a rub of the following: 1 tablespoon black salt flake ( or use white salt flake and 2 charcoal tablets from your pharmacy bashed up in a pestle and mortar) 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns 3-5 juniper berries 1 tablespoon smoked paprika or curry powder or Ras el Hanout (choose the flavour you feel like)
Bling2 tablespoons pistachio nuts 3-5 tablespoons biltong or jerky gravel (chopped or blended biltong to make it into a powder) 1 teaspoon fresh or lightly dried chilli (like Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Chilli) 3-5 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander
MethodPrepare the fillet or meat of your choice by removing all nasty shiny sinew. You can leave the matt fat on if you would like as this will render off during the cooking process. First of all you need to choose the best steak you can afford for the occasion. Stay away from steaks that are too sinewy and fatty. Favourites are fillet, porterhouse, rump, sirloin or T Bone. These are all from the hindquarter and are considerably tender than forequarter cuts. Cook the meat from room temperature. Your pan should be heavy bottomed so that it retains heat evenly and well. Fry your streak in equal amounts of butter and vegetable oil. The butter will add flavour, while the vegetable oil will allow the right temperature to beachieved. Don’t use one without the other. You can also just use canola cooking spray in a non-stick pan… works just as well without the extra calories!! Season with the sexy rub that you have bashed or blended in a food processor. Season to taste and make sure to coat well. Heat and grease a frying pan or your BBQ until really nice and hot. Only use vegetable or canola or rice bran oil, never try and use extra virgin olive oil because that is really not good at heating to the right kind of temperature. Or if you want delicious French-style steak you are going to have to use butter and oil as mentioned. Once the pan is hot enough, place beef in, it should sizzle as it hits the pan or else the pan is simply not hot enough. Allow to seal on the first side before you even think about turning it over. Allow the next side to seal and sear as well and then keep sealing until you have the most perfectly sealed meat. I turn my steak as many times as it needs to be turned to keep the heat distribution even. The only time I turn a steak once is if it is a thin little steak that only needs a simple seal. A thick, gorgeous, juicy steak needs time and turning to keep the internal temperature and cooking nice and even and perfect.
Often this is considered to be the greatest skill of the master chef! Cooking a glorious steak is easy if you follow a few basic rules. Never press, poke or fiddle with the steak. Rather leave the juices inside,where they belong. Checking for doneness – this is truly the most important part. Many steaks areruined by overcooking. Remember, the steak will continue to cook as it rests…very important or the steak will be ruined.
HOW TO COOK THE PERFECT STEAK
STEAK DONENESS TEST A practiced poke with your finger and you will eventually be able to judge the approximate doneness of your steak. Use the following as a guide but experience is the best teacher.
- Very Rare Steak – feels soft and squishy, like touching your cheek. Internal core temp of 40-44 degrees C.
- Rare Steak – soft and yielding to the touch, like poking your cheek with your finger. Internal core temp of 45-50 degrees C.
- Medium-Rare Steak – yields gently to the touch, like poking your chin on the fleshiest part. Internal core temp of 55-60 degrees C.
- Medium Steak – yields only slightly to the touch, beginning to firm up, again like your chin would feel if you pressed with your finger. Internal core temp of 60 – 64 degrees C.
- Medium-Well Steak – firm to the touch, like pressing your forehead. Internal core temp of 65-70
- Well-Done Steak – hard to the touch, does not give way. 70 degrees and above.
- Resting: Now for the most important part, don’t serve it right away. Let the steak “rest” for about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness. This allows the juices to move back into the meat. Resting should be done in a place that is about room temperature and with only a loose covering over it. If you doubt me, try cutting a steak in half right off the grill. Let a second steak rest for five minutes, and then cut into it. See which one is juicier.