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What is the alternative to Dry Aged Beef?
17. September 2014
The alternative is used by the big factories that supply the supermarkets. This is called Wet Ageing whereby the beef is boned out while still fresh (sometimes while still hot) and then vac packed in plastic bags and boxed and palleted ready for shipping to some distribution centre. The beef can keep fresh in these air sealed plastic bags for up to six weeks and the seller can then claim that the beef is three week aged or four week aged.
However this is an entirely different process and the finished product bears absolutely no resemblance to the meat that has been dry aged in the traditional manner.
Can I use the juices from my roasting tray?
17. September 2014
Never throw these out. If you aren’t going to use them with whatever you have roasted then just scrape and pour them into a cup and put into the fridge.
The next day the fat will have hardened at the top, but the essence that is underneath is the liquid gold and it will be kept fresh by being sealed in with the fat. This essence can be added to a bolognaise or stew or anything that requires stock and it will intensify the flavour.
Simply discard the hardened fat and spoon out the jelly.
What are your top tips for GRILLING meat?
17. September 2014
- What grilling should achieve is a lovely seared, faintly charred outside edge with the rest of the meat very tender and juicy within. This is the closest thing to cooking on an open fire because, when the meat is placed on a rack, the air circulates and this gives the grilled meat its unique flavour. If you’re cutting down on fat, then grill without fat or oil. However, if that is not your priority, it is better to brush very lean meat, such as pork steaks, with a little melted butter, and fillet steaks with a little oil before grilling.
- On a domestic grill, what you need to do is pre-heat to the highest setting at least 10 minutes before you want to start cooking, and remember to try and position the meat 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) from the heat, turning the meat over halfway through to grill the other side. Never season meat before grilling, as salt draws out the precious juices you’re trying to keep in (but do remember to season before serving).
- Approximate timings for grilling meat are as follows:
Steak 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick (ie sirloin or rump) – 1½-2 minutes on each side for rare; 3 minutes on each side for medium; and about 4 minutes on each side for well done. Fillet steak 1½ inches (4 cm) thick – give it 5 minutes on each side for medium; 1 minute less each side for rare; and 1 minute more for well done.
Pork chops – approximately 10 minutes on each side, and pork steaks slightly less.
Lamb chops – about 10 minutes each side, and cutlets about 5 minutes each side.
Timings vary because the thickness of meat differs, so you need to use a skewer or the blade of a small knife inserted in the thickest part to test if the juices are the right colour.
What are your top tips for FRYING meat?
from Kevin B
15. August 2014
- The very best way to cook steaks is in a frying pan. The cut of meat used here is a sirloin or entrecôte steak. Allow 6-8 oz (175-225 g) per person. Trim off most of the fat, leaving just a little on.
- Gently thump the steaks with your fist to flatten and tenderise them slightly.
- Season the steaks on both sides with freshly milled black pepper but no salt yet, as this encourages the juices to come out.
- It is important to have the pan as hot as you dare, so it has to be one with a thick, solid base to conduct the heat properly. Place the pan over direct heat turned to high and let the pan become very hot before you add just the smallest amount of oil or fat – about 1 teaspoon. Let this become shimmering hot.
- Hold the steak in both hands and drop it directly down so that the whole of the surface hits the heat at the same moment. What this does is sear the meat, sealing the edges and encouraging the juices to stay inside.
- Use a tablespoon to press gently on the surface of the steaks, so that as much as possible is kept in contact with the heat of the pan. Some juices will escape but these are kept in the pan to serve with the steak or incorporate into a sauce. For a steak 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, allow 1½-2 minutes on each side for rare; 3 minutes on each side for medium; and about 4 minutes on each side for well done. For a fillet steak 1½ inches (4 cm) thick, give it 5 minutes on each side for medium; 1 minute less each side for rare; and 1 minute more for well done. Again, timings will vary because the thickness of meat differs, so you need to test with a skewer or the blade of a small knife, as you would for grilling.
How do I CASSEROLE meat properly?
14. August 2014
- The myth is that slow cooking is a lot of bother and takes too much time. The truth is that it doesn’t in fact take any more time than other cooking; the only time taken up is whilst it sits happily all by itself in the oven, leaving the cook blissfully free to get on with other things. Without getting too technical, I think it is worth noting that in most cases, forequarter meat (which comes from the front half of the animal) is best for slow cooking.
A perfect example of casseroling meat is the method for making the filling for a steak and kidney pie or pudding. For this you need to use chuck or blade steak with ox kidney for a really beefy flavour.
- I think that the flavour of the finished dish is improved enormously if you take a bit of time and trouble over initially browning the meat. For this, cut the meat into bite-sized, 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes and cut the kidney into very small pieces so that it will almost ‘melt’ when cooked.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of beef dripping in a large flameproof casserole until very hot.
- Pat the cubes of meat with kitchen paper and add them, a few at a time, to the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan – only about 5 or 6 pieces at a time. It’s tempting to shove the whole lot in and cut corners but, if you do, too much steam will be created and you will never, ever brown the meat.
- Brown the pieces on all sides in batches, removing each batch before you add the next. It will take about 1 minute on each side to give a nutty, crusty edge, which will give flavour and colour to the finished dish and help to seal in the juices. Do the same with the kidney, adding more dripping to the pan if necessary.
- Brown roughly chopped onions in the same way and add these to the meat and kidney.
- You can add mushrooms as well as the kidney, or instead of it – some people will never want to eat kidney! Season with salt and freshly milled black pepper. The thick gravy is achieved by adding plain flour.
- The flour is absorbed by the fat and meat juices – it won’t look very promising at this stage, but this is not a problem.
- All you do next is add beef stock, stirring well, then bring it up to simmering point