Nigel Slater’s beef recipes

Many of our most flavoursome and interesting cuts of beef end up in the butcher’s mincing machine. They are invariably the cheaper cuts, parts of the animal that have done a lot of work or sound less than attractive. They do, it must be said, make excellent mince, but with a bit of imagination and careful cooking, these odd pieces of meat and bone can provide good eating.

The trick is often to cook them slowly, taking advantage of their bones, sinew and fat to keep them moist and juicy. Fillet, sirloin and rump are far from the only cut of the animal suitable for steak. The bones are too good for the dog alone. And a richly flavoured ragout is often more interesting made with cubes of meat rather than the more usual mince. Yes, sometimes the cooking time is longer, but the preparation time is short, leaving us time to get on with other things while our dinner cooks.

The real bonus of these cuts is often the broth or pan juices you end up with. Rich, clear and with real depth, these are the prize awaiting anyone who picks up the shin, cheeks and tails before they’re put in the mincer.

Bavette steak, chimichurri

Bavette is another name for a steak cut from the flank. Often marinaded or braised, it can also be grilled or shallow fried as you would a piece of rump. It is less tender than fillet but much less expensive and often overlooked by those in search of a piece of steak to grill. A punchy condiment will help it sing.

Serves 2
flank steak 400g

For the condiment
garlic 4 cloves
parsley a large handful
fresh oregano leaves a small handful
olive oil 50ml
red wine vinegar 100ml
dried chilli flakes ½ tsp

To make the condiment, peel and coarsely crush the garlic. Chop the parsley and the oregano. Warm the oil in a shallow pan, add the garlic and fry over a gentle heat till it is lightly coloured. Remove from the heat then stir in the chopped herbs, the red wine vinegar and the chilli flakes. Set aside.

Fry or grill the steak then serve with the condiment.

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