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Recipes and Ideas
Making great dishes out of beef without paying a fortune...
Beef is such a wonderfully versatile thing to use in cooking, but it's easy to let costs run away. It doesn't need to be expensive, the secret is knowing which cuts work best for which dishes in order to get the best possible eating experience for the lowest possible cost. No surprise then to see some of the best chefs in the world using some of the cheapest cuts to produce exquisite food. Why use fillet in a casserole when shin is tastier and costs 75% less? It is our hope here to show how this can be done, and in the simplest way possible.
Choosing your cut.
1. Overview Broadly speaking there are three types of roast: on-the-bone, off-the-bone and pot-roasters, The first two are roasted, the third is effectively boiled in a covered pan in the oven. Roasting looks smarter, is a bit quicker but has little tolerance for error, whilst pot roasting is forgiving, flavoursome and tender, but not as aesethically pleasing. Then there is stewing, which is cheap, tasty, filling but quite slow to cook, whilst steaks are much faster, but generally more expensive.
A. On-the-bone Cote-de-Boeuf, Sirloin roasts and rib roasts are there for the look as well as the taste - no wonder the loin was knighted by George III(?) (hence Sir Loin). They're magnificent, there's no question about it, but they're also harder to carve so practice first. The bones keep the moisture and add to the flavour to give you a truely fantastic eating experience, particularly if it's off a slow-grown beast. You have to be very skilled to get the Cote-de-boeuf right as the fillet cooks faster than the sirloin, the other two are simpler. The sirloiin has a smaller eye but more meat proportionally, whilst the rib roast is bigger but carries more fat (hover over each of the names above for more details). To carve, place the arched bone on the plate then cut down the back of the flat bone beore cutting across the grain.
B. Off-the bone Fillet, Rump roasts, topside, Salmon cut, false fillet can be great, great roasts if you know what to look for (see our "what to look for when buying beef" page) and cook them very slightly slower. They are solid pieces of meat that have often been tied to hold extra fat on (adds flavour) and/or to improve their appearance. They're easy to carve and quite quick to cook (1 hour for a roast for 6 people) but can turn dry and tough very quickly if either over-done or insufficiently marbled. As for which one: hover over the names of each cut in the top line of this paragraph and you'll be able to choose.
Silverside, Brisket, even topside and false fillet can all be pot roasted if you're worried about timings. You can't have it rare or medium this way, but you'll get a lavely flavour and a beautiful flakey texture. The Brisket has the bggest flavour but it's a flat piece of meat that's been rolled, so it does tend to fall apart once carved. Silverside is a good compromise if this matters. Hover over the names of each cut in the top line of this paragraph and you'll be able to choose.
As a very rough guide, allow 6-8 Oz (174g-250g) raw beef per person.
Online Shop: At Hardiesmill we are dedicated to providing the best possible eating experience from our own pedigree 100% Aberdeen Angus beef, reared the natural way on our farm in the Scottish Borders. Click here for our online farm Shop.