Classic combo

Planning a summery dinner for two? You can’t go wrong with a fillet steak. Whether seared and finished in the oven or grilled to perfection on the barbecue, this is a cut which retains its tenderness and flavour, even if you prefer your steak well done.

The Irish Country Living Food test kitchen decided to pair this fillet steak with a classic French bordelaise sauce. A little goes a long way, thanks to the addition of red wine and some rich bone marrow, and if you are happy to spend a bit more on a quality steak, you might as well splurge on the accompanying sauce. You only live once!

Fillet steaks are best cooked by searing on a high heat before finishing on indirect heat. You can do this in a low oven or on the cooler part of your barbecue.

Irish fillet steak with classic bordelaise sauce

Ingredients: Serves 2

For the fillet steak:

2 x 170g (6 oz) fillet steaks

2 tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp Irish rapeseed oil

For the bordelaise sauce:

180ml any dry red wine,

but preferably a Bordeaux

2 shallots, finely diced

1 small bay leaf

2 sprigs fresh thyme

500ml fresh beef stock

50-60g bone marrow (ask for 4 halved beef bones from your butcher)

Sea salt, to taste

1 The night before you cook the fillet steaks, season them with salt and pepper. Massage the seasoning into the meat and wrap loosely in cling film before chilling overnight.

2 The next day, bring the steaks to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

3 Make the bordelaise sauce: preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the marrow bones on a parchment lined baking tray and roast for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and scoop the marrow into a bowl (if you have a dog, the bone will be a great treat, or simmer them for beef stock). Leave until ready to use.

4 In a saucepan, combine the red wine, diced shallots, bay leaf and fresh thyme. Bring to a simmer and let this mixture cook down until reduced by half (5-10 minutes). Strain the herbs and shallots out of the wine and put the reduced wine back into the same saucepan. Add the beef stock and bring it back to a simmer.

5 Simmer the sauce until it is well reduced, glossy and coats the back of a spoon. Add the bone marrow and sauce to a blender. Blitz until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.

6 Cook the steaks: preheat your barbecue to 200°C. Drizzle the steaks with the rapeseed oil and rub them all over to coat. Place on the hot part of the grill and sear for 2-4 minutes on each side. Finish cooking on the cooler part of the barbecue until you’re about 5°C away from your desired doneness (see our cooking chart for internal temperatures).

7 Remove the steaks from the grill and wrap loosely in foil. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving with the bordelaise sauce, jacket potatoes, seared mushrooms and salad.

Something different

When cooked well, this cut of beef needs little more than flaky sea salt to bring out its great flavour, but we have paired it with a zingy, vibrant chimichurri \ Philip Doyle

In Brazil, their beef cut of choice is called the picanha, which is taken from the rump and is topped with a thick layer of fat. If this sounds a bit too exotic to find in rural Ireland, you could ask your local butcher for the cap of the rump (another name for this cut).

This is a massive piece of meat and, with tender care and a bit of love on the barbecue, it is extremely flavourful. We are pairing it with a bright, vibrant chimichurri sauce here, but once this juicy piece of meat is sliced and served, you really need little more than some flaky sea salt to finish it off.

If you like your meat well done, perhaps this is not the cut for you. Picanha is at its best served medium rare, and shouldn’t be done to any internal temperature higher than 60°C.

Irish Picanha with Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients: Serves 4-6

For the picanha:

1 x 1.5kg piece of picanha

2 tbsp flaky sea salt

1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp Irish rapeseed oil

For the chimichurri sauce:

1 small white onion, diced

½ bunch fresh coriander

½ bunch fresh parsley

1 red chilli, seeds removed and diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

125ml good quality Irish rapeseed oil

Sea salt, to taste

1 Prepare the picanha: bring the meat to room temperature. Using a sharp knife, remove the top part of the fat cap (leave the remaining fat on the beef; this will ensure great flavour as it cooks). Using the same knife, score the remaining fat in a criss-cross shape.

2 Generously season the picanha with flaky sea salt, pepper and then drizzle the oil over. Use your hands to massage the seasoning into the meat and let sit for an additional 10-15 minutes while you preheat your barbecue.

3 This cut of meat does best with a two-stage grilling – the first over indirect heat and then a generous sear over direct heat to finish.

4 For the first stage of grilling, preheat your barbecue to 135°C. Place the picanha, fat side down, and grill for 8-10 minutes, then flip and repeat with the other side. After 20-25 minutes, check the internal temperature. This should be around 45°C after cooking on indirect heat.

5 When that temperature is achieved, increase the barbecue heat to 220°C. Once again, starting with the fat side down, place the picanha on the direct heat of the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Keep doing this until the internal temperature reaches 55°C.

6 Remove the meat from the grill and wrap loosely in cling film. Let the meat rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing.

7 While the meat rests, make the chimichurri sauce: combine the onion, coriander, parsley, chilli, garlic and red wine vinegar in a food processor. Pulse until everything start to come together, then slowly drizzle in the oil while the processor runs on low speed. Once all the oil is incorporated, season with salt to taste and set aside until ready to use (this could be made a few days ahead).

8 Serve the sliced picanha on a big platter with grilled veggies, potatoes or rice and the chimichurri. Place a small bowl of flaky sea salt on the side – it really brings out the flavour of the beef.

A grilling fave

A nice, thick ribeye steak is a favourite almost all the Irish Country Living Food team. It’s well marbled with fat, which means it is bursting with flavour. Grilled or seared, it cooks quickly and goes with a variety of sauces. In this case, we have paired it with a Café de Paris butter – a compound butter which features such a strange array of ingredients that you may think it isn’t going to work – but it does work, and it works perfectly with steak and chips. This is great for a weekend barbecue with friends or even just a solo dinner to treat yourself.

Irish ribeye steak with Cafe de Paris butter \ Philip Doyle

Irish ribeye steak with Café de Paris butter

Ingredients: Serves 1

For the Café de Paris butter:

100g butter, room temperature

½ shallot, very finely diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

1 tsp Dijon mustard

A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp mild curry powder

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 tsp flaky sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the ribeye steak:

1 x 340g ribeye steak

Salt and pepper, to season

1 tbsp Irish rapeseed oil

1 Make the Café de Paris butter: place all listed ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined.

2 Place a sheet of cling film on the counter and, using a spatula, place the Café de Paris butter on top. Roll up the butter in the cling film until you have a tight cylindrical tube of butter. Place in the fridge to chill until ready to use (this can be made several days in advance).

3 Bring the steak to room temperature before grilling. Season the steak generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the oil and massage into the steak. Bring the Café de Paris butter out of the fridge before you cook the steak, to allow it to soften slightly.

4 Preheat the barbecue to 200°C. Place the steaks on the direct heat and sear for two minutes. Then, flip and repeat on the other side. At this stage, check the internal temperature of your steak. If it needs more time to reach your desired doneness (see beef doneness chart), move to a cooler part of the grill and cook it gently until you’re 5°C away from your desired doneness. Medium-rare is ideal for a ribeye steak as the fat will start to break down and flavour the meat.

5 Remove the steak from the grill and loosely wrap in foil to rest for 10 minutes. Serve with chips, salad and some of the Café de Paris butter on top, to melt.

Beef doneness chart:

Blue 45-48°C

Rare 50-54°C

Medium Rare 55-60°C

Medium 61-65°C

Medium Well 65-69°C

Well Done 70°C and up

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