Tag: Beef

La Scottiglia revisited – how close had we got in recreating this dish?

La Scottiglia revisited – how close had we got in recreating this dish?

We were very lucky to be able to go back to the restaurant La Scottiglia in Pescina near Seggiano in Tuscany.  Last year, 2018, we wrote about the wonderful dish La Scottiglia that the restaurant has been named after since 1972.  This year we arrived early for a Saturday lunch and were welcomed like long lost friends by the owner.  He immediately started to talk about the recipe and blog we had written last year when we had tried to recreate La Scottiglia (see here).  He offered his congratulations for our efforts and his apologies for not writing something on the website as it would have been difficult to do so in English!

We were shown down to the terrace so we could eat outside in the dappled early autumn sunshine and were  immediately met with a Prosecco aperitif, clearly we were going to have a good lunch!

The menus were newly printed and now carried English translations which was nice.  More staggering was that on the back page was a new description of the history of the restaurant.  We were pleased that the information that we had managed to piece together from the internet seemed to be largely correct – if only it has been present before it would have saved us hours of searching (but then, where is the fun in that!!).

Jackie ordered  a Tuscan Pâté, and then ricotta filled Tortellini with truffles.  For a main course I had the wild boar – but for my starter there could only be one choice – La Scottiglia.  It was with a degree of ‘bated breath’ I tried it – had we got close with our recipe or had I deluded myself?  I needn’t have worried  (too much)!!  Our interpretation was close, though not  identical!  This was ‘softer’ with a little more liquid.  I think there was just a slight hint of chilli which ours did not have and probably a little less tomato.   Also the bread at the bottom of the dish was thinner – and had soaked up less of the glorious juices. So overall a slightly more ‘gentle’ taste than ours – but I think we can be pleased  as we have only been making it for a year rather than for more than a century!  I think we can be reasonably comfortable that ours was a suitable ‘homage’ to this most regional of dishes!

And our plans for this autumn     ……………….. to get closer still!!

Dirty Steak (caveman or cowboy steak)

Dirty Steak (caveman or cowboy steak)

Dirty cooking?  Cooking the food you are about to eat directly onto the burning charcoal. It gets a whole series of names too: Dirty, Caveman, Cowboy. I have to say I have always been rather sceptical about the idea of this form of cooking.   Perhaps just an unnecessary gimmick, and (more…)

Rump Steak and Tuscan Beans

Rump Steak and Tuscan Beans

The simplest of dishes – individual rump steaks and slow cooked cannellini beans with sage!  It is the simplest of dishes if you have already made the slow cooked cannellini beans that is!  But once cooked will stay happily in the fridge for a few days to be used as needed – they are very simple and the recipe can be found here.

As we were cooking on the mini BGE the already prepared cannellini beans were put in a small cast iron Le Creuset casserole dish that we had picked up for a few pounds on eBay – but they could be warmed through in any small pan that would fit on the BGE.  As ours was a cast iron pot. I put it on the grill as it was heating ready to cook the steak – taking it off when the temperature started to rise above 150C knowing the cast iron would keep the beans hot whilst the steak cooked.  And the steak was simplicity itself.  Seasoned with salt pepper and a little steak rub they were dropped onto the cast iron searing grill of the EGG once it had reached 225C.  I have taken to using the cast iron grill upside down, that is with the wider bars on the top as the larger surface area seems to give better caramelisation whilst still allowing any flames direct access to the steak.  They were not large, and so cooking for around 90 second a side brought their internal temperature to around 52C.
Time to take them off the grill and wrap in foil and allow to rest for around 10 mins.

Whilst resting, just time to check the beans were still warm enough (and if not pop back on the now cooling Egg).  Once rested the steaks were unwrapped and plated along side the warm olive oil and sage rich beans

…………………. on a warm summer evening – a match made in heaven!

Bastille Day Steak and Chips

Bastille Day Steak and Chips

There is no reason to call this Bastille Day Steak other than the fact that we chose to cook it on Bastille Day with part of our French family!!  The only real link with France there than the timing is the fact that the so called Tomahawk Steak we chose is indeed French Trimmed!  The Tomahawk Steak is simply an on-the bone Rib Steak.  It is cut from the Fore-rib but the entire rib bone left attached.  There is a usually a good deal of inter muscular fat  which together with the advantages of ‘bone in’ cooking leads to a great final result.  The Thickness of the steak is based in the thickness of the rib bone but usually approaches 5cm leading to a steak weighing around 1.2Kg.  Ideal therefore for sharing it is usually suggested that this will serve 2 – well in fact it will serve more, especially if it is part of a multiple course meal.  Ours comfortably served 4, and we have never been accused of having poor appetites!

Whilst technically a steak, it is big enough to also be considered as a roasting cut – rather like the Bistecca alla Fiorentina.   We were going to cook it the same way as we did for that  by cooking it as a revers sear.  As we were at home and had the luxury of more than one Big Green Egg to cook on, the Large BGE was set up in indirect mode at around 100C with a little cherry wood added for a gentle smoky flavour.  The steak had been removed from its wrappings and left for the surface to dry at room temperature for a couple of hours.  Just before putting the steak in the BGE it was generously salted and peppered and placed in the BGE with an indwelling temperature probe in place.  I was running the EGG with the CyberCloud controlling the cooking temperature and monitoring the core temperature of the meat.  We were looking for an overall finishing temperature of around 54C (that boarder between rare and medium rare) after the final sear – so that meant cooking at this temperature until the core came to around 48C.  At this stage, the steak does look rather unappetising (see left).

Working on 2 BGEs had the advantage that we were able to hold the partially cooked steak at around 48C by wrapping in foil and tea towels and placing in a cool box until ready to do the final sear, earning me extra ‘Brownie points” for serving the steak bang on time.  The second egg was therefore set up for direct cooking at around 250C dome temperature.  I was doing this on the MiniMax which has the great advantage of coming up to temperature very quickly – but as you will see from the pictures the disadvantage of being a little small for the Tomahawk steak!  Fortunately the searing only takes a very short time until that lovely golden colour is achieved and although the handle of the Tomahawk extended outside the EGG, it was possible to ‘nearly close’ the EGG!!

 

The Steak was taken off the grill once the outside was took on the appropriate beautifully flame grilled colour and finish as above – at this point the core temperature measured with a Thermopen was around 52C.  The Steak was again wrapped in foil and covered to rest for around 10 mins whilst the chips and the beans were cooked.  The chips were decidedly British rather than French fries but served with mayonnaise as a mark of the Entente Cordial.  They were triple fried, the first 2 fries being done whilst the steak was cooking and then just finished at this last moment – Just before serving the steak lightly salt and then slice across the grain.  The steak had a lovely gentle smoky taste and the classical ‘smoke ring’ on the edge of the steak as can be seen in the picture on the right.

This was a lovely dish with which to share Bastille Day with our French Family – but this is a perfect dish to do any time you want something a bit special.

………….do have a go!

 

Bastille Day Steak and Chips

July 14, 2018
: 4
: 15 min
: 45 min
: 1 hr
: Easy

Reverse seared steak

By:

Ingredients
  • Tomahawk steak - approx 1.2KG
  • Salt and Pepper
Directions
  • Step 1 Remove the steak from the fridge, remove any wrappings and leave the surface to dry out at room temperature for a couple of hours.
  • Step 2 Set up the BGE in indirect mode at 100C and add a little cherry wood for a gentle smoky flavour.  
  • Step 3 Just before putting the steak in the BGE season generously with salt and pepper and site an indwelling probe in the steak
  • Step 4 to cook to a final rare/medium rare at 54C cook to a core temp of no more than 48C at this stage
  • Step 5 Hold the partially cooked steak at around 48C by wrapping in foil and tea towels and placing in a cool box until ready to do the final sear
  • Step 6 Heat up the EGG to around 250C dome temperature.
  • Step 7 When ready for the steak, flash grill for around 1 min per side until the outside takes on that beautifully flame grilled colour and finish
  • Step 8 Wrap the Steak in foil and covered to rest for around 10 mins whilst cooking the chips
  • Step 9 Just before serving the steak, lightly salt, and then slice across the grain.  
Beef Short Rib – braised and roasted

Beef Short Rib – braised and roasted

Jackie and I were driving home after a weekend away and found a lovely Kilnford farm shop in Dumfriesshire.  Specialising in grass fed Galloway beef, and farmed by the owners – it seemed churlish not to take some meat home with us.   (more…)

Daube de boeuf – Big Green Egg style

Daube de boeuf – Big Green Egg style

It seems that in the UK that as we are about to move from winter into spring that winter intends to have a last fling with cold coming in from the east across continental Europe.  So how about a suitably warming winter dish?  Travelling around France we have often eaten Daube of beef, and at the moment of eating wondered what daube meant, only to forget to look it up before discovering it on the menu again.  Well it is quite simple really, daube refers to the earthenware cooking vessel – the daubière in which the dish is cooked.  Traditionally shaped to inhibit the escape of the cooking liquid, (more…)

Bistecca alla Fiorentina – the remake!

Bistecca alla Fiorentina – the remake!

 

Having tried our hand with the local beef (click to see previous post) we thought it time to be a little more authentic and go for a larger piece for this Bistecca alla Fiorentina.  As there were going to be 4 of us a 1.4KG steak did not seem too greedy!!  Bought from the same butcher as the previous steak this was again the cut from the loin near the leg of the Scottona and was just a little more than 1.5 inches thick.

We were going to reverse sear again and so the Egg was set up for indirect cooking at 100C with the platesetter in place.

The steak was simply salted and dusted with a little pepper and placed on the grill.  The internal temperature probe was put in place and it was left to cook to a temperature of 48C.  At this stage it does not look very appetising as although cooked to rare all the way through there is no delicious crispy outside!

The steak was removed from the grill, double wrapped in foil and covered with a tea towel to slow down any cooling.  The platesetter was removed and the temperature of the BGE brought up to around 250-280C.  As this was a thicker piece of meat than the last one it was grilled this time for just less than 2 mins per side to form a nice golden crust.

Once completed the steak was removed from the grill, rewrapped in foil and left to rest for around 10 minutes whilst we prepared the Borlotti beans that we were going to serve with it.  The steak was unwrapped, further salted and then carved across the grain.  Crisp on the outside and warm in the centre ; the meat was delicious.


Taking the bone to chew as well as her portion of carved steak our youngest granddaughter paid the finest of compliments……..

…………… “Thank you, this is the best steak I have ever had”

What more could you ask for!……………..

 

For the full recipe see:- http://smokedfinefood.co.uk/beef/bistecca-alla-fiorentina/

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Steak is perhaps not the first thing you think of when you consider Italian cooking but if you are in Tuscany then think again!

Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the Florentine Steak is famous throughout the world.   Traditionally it is cut from the loin near the leg of the Scottona (a young female cow that has never been pregnant). Traditionally from the huge Chianina cattle from Tuscany’s  Val di Chiana valley, near Arezzo.  So large are these cattle that the T-bone steak that goes to make the Bistecca alla Fiorentina may way up to 3kgs.  In different parts of the world it is described as a Porterhouse Steak – but that is nowhere near as romantic!   The meat should be well marbled and hung for between 15 and 21 days before cutting.

As you would expect there is a strong “folklore” associated with cutting the Florentine steak in the first place!  It is said that the minimum thickness should be 1.5 inch but better still if 2 to 2.5 inches and they range in weight from 1.5 to around 4 lbs but can be more!

Our version of dish was a little more modest and cooked a little differently from the classic Florentina!

The cut of meat was correct, loin from near the leg of the Scottona – from the butchers counter of the local supermarket in the village we were staying.  I would normally not buy steak from a supermarket in the UK but I have to say that here in Tuscany the meat is excellent.  This piece by Florentine standards was 650gms (1lb 4oz) but still generous for two!  Being thinner than a traditional Florentina, just 3/4 inch (traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina can be up to 3 inches thick!) a different cooking method was used; the Reverse Sear.

Traditionally the Fiorentina is cooked over a very high heat for between 5-10 mins per side and then stood on the T-bone on the grill for a further 5-10 mins to give a very crusty outside and a rare middle.  With a thinner steak such as this the chances of over cooking was high – hence the reverse sear!

The steak was seasoned with salt and pepper with internal temperature probe in place ready to go on to the grill.

The Big Green Egg was heated to 110°C with the platesetter in the legs up position and the cast iron grill on top.  Once the Big Green Egg was up to temperature the steak was added and cooked to an internal temperature of 47-50°C (you could even be a little less if you like very rare steak).

Pop the steak onto the grill and allow it to warm up to around 47-50°C – at this stage the meat will be rare all the way through – but with no delicious crispy outside!

Wrap in tin foil and set to one side.

Remove the plate setter and replace the cast iron grill – heat the egg up to 250°C.  Once there, pop the steak back on for approximately one min per side (certainly no more than two!).

Then remove from the grill and re-rap in the foil and let rest for 10 minutes at least.

Slice across the grain from either side of the T-bone and serve with a salad or some roasted peppers – or just by itself with a squeeze of lemon!

Simply delicious!

 

 

 

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

July 23, 2017
: 2
: 10 min
: 15 min
: 25 min
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • T-bone steak - The meat should be well marbled and hung for between 15 and 21 days before cutting. May weigh upto 3Kg In different parts of the world it is described as a Porterhouse Steak – but that is nowhere near as romantic!
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Directions
  • Step 1  Classically it is said that the minimum thickness should be 1.5 inch but better still if 2 to 2.5 inches and they range in weight from 1.5 to around 4 lbs but can be more! Timings here for are for a more modest 650gms (1lb 4oz).  With a thinner steak such as this the chances of over cooking was high – hence the reverse sear!
  • Step 2 Season with salt and pepper and with internal temperature probe in place it is ready to pop onto the grill.
  • Step 3 Heat The Big Green Egg to 110°C with the platesetter in the legs up position and the cast iron grill on top. 
  • Step 4 Added steak and cook to an internal temperature of 47-50°C (you could even be a little less if you like very rare steak).
  • Step 5 Wrap in tin foil and set to one side.
  • Step 6 Remove the plate setter and replace the cast iron grill. Heat the egg up to 250°C.  Pop the steak back on for approximately one min per side (certainly no more than two!).
  • Step 7 Remove from the grill and re-rap in the foil and let rest for 10 minutes at least.  Slice across the grain from either side of the T-bone and serve with a salad or some roasted peppers – or just by itself with a squeeze of lemon