Sunday, 30 May 2010

Ron Burgundy would be proud (pan fried rump steak with whisky sauce)

A lot of people are a bit funny about eating beef when it's not well done. In my opinion these people are really missing out. The steak is just so much juicier when it's at least a little bit pink. Once I tried it I never went back.

Rump steaks are the cheapest frying steaks you can get, and while they're not the most tender they're very juicy and full of flavour, and this simple sauce makes use of the pan juices to full effect. This recipe is good if you fancy treating yourself one evening. However, do try to get a really good quality cut from your local butcher - I really can't emphasise this enough.

Ingredients (for one):
  • 1 x good quality rump steak
  • 2 x garlic cloves
  • Half a medium-sized red onion
  • 2 tbsps double cream
  • Shot of Scotch whisky (generous as you like)
  • A few thyme sprigs
  • 3 x chestnut mushrooms
  • Half tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground (or cracked) black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • A few knobs of butter
  1. Get the steak out of the fridge to let it adjust to room temperature about half an hour before you want to cook it. If you're serving it with boiled potatoes, as per the picture, you should get the potatoes in a pan of cold water first and boil them for about 15 minutes until tender so that you can concentrate on the steak; you can heat the potatoes up later with olive oil and also add English mustard for extra flavour.
  2. Heat a frying pan to room temperature.
  3. Smash and peel the garlic cloves, slice the mushrooms and chop the onion into half moons or rings while the pan is heating up so that it's all ready to go when the steak is done.
  4. Add the olive oil to the pan. It should be literally smoking hot as you want to sear the outside of the steak. If you're doing more than one steak I suggest using a separate pan for each, if possible, as the oil will cool down too much if you overcrowd the pan and the steaks will start to stew rather than sear.
  5. Season the steaks one one side with the salt and pepper - don't skimp on the pepper, it's brilliant with beef. Lay it seasoned-side down in the pan and it should sizzle vigorously on contact - if it doesn't, take it out and wait for the oil to heat up more.
  6. Once the steak is in the pan, LEAVE IT until you're ready to turn it over. Cooking steak is an art, not a science, so the cooking time will depend on how how your pan is and how thick the steak is, but for a steak about 1 inch thick I recommend doing it for 1-2 minutes per side for rare, 2-2.5 minutes for medium rare, 3 minutes for medium, 4 minutes for medium to well and 4.5 minutes for well done.
  7. Season the other side of the steak just before you flip it over using a fish slice. While the other side is cooking, add the butter, thyme and garlic and baste the steak with the pan juices, but again try not to touch the steak.
  8. When it's done to your liking, leave it to rest in a warm place while you get on with the sauce. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle with sugar to help them caramelise, but keep stirring them so that they don't stick and burn. Tilt the pan away from you for safety and add the Scotch to the pan. NOTE FOR CHEFS: if it catches fire when it hits the pan, this means you have a bigger cock. Then stir in the cream and you're done.
  9. Carve the steak and put it on a hot plate with whatever accompanying veg you fancy. Discard the thyme sprig and garlic cloves and spoon a liberal helping of the sauce over the steak.

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