EBLEX are the organisation for beef and lamb levy payers in England. To you and me, that means they work on enhancing the profitability and sustainability of the English beef and lamb sector, meaning that what we take home from the butchers have both a quality assured taste and source.
I was invited to an EBLEX Butchery & Tasting session at the beautiful L’atelier des chefs by Good Relations, and expected to learn a bit more about the meat that I cook with already at home. Instead, what I got was a brilliantly thorough and interactive introduction to a whole new world of beef cuts that the organisation are currently trying to promote. Plus I got to eat shed loads of steak. WINNER.
We started with the rump and the featherblade using ‘seam ‘ butchery, a process which involves breaking down the carcase using nature’s natural ‘seams’ between the muscles as the guides for cutting, rather than cutting across one or more muscles to produce a joint of meat. EBLEX master butcher, Dick van Leeuwen, made this look easy, it’s the bit that I would skip by heading to my butchers and asking for a Picanha Steak, a Flat-Iron Steak or a Bistro Steak. Much easier, but a shame that I won’t ever get to wear one of his amazing chain mail gloves.
Pichana Steak is a succulent and tender cut from the rump. It carries a thick fat covering which adds to the flavour. It is popular in South American cuisine where it’s normally cooked on a spit roast and carved at the table, or it can be cooked medium rare on the griddle as above, just make sure to hold that lovely line of fat directly on the heat for a couple of minutes to crisp it up.
Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak comes from the featherblade and although is slightly trickier to get right when cooking, it’s worth it for the taste. It suits a medium rare treatment so I’ve been using this Rigatoni recipe from the River Cafe (I’ve substituted fillet for Flat-Iron) in which there is a quick fry, followed by a sitting time of less than 5 minutes in a sauce. It perfectly keeps the succulence and highlights the rich meaty flavour.
The Bistro was my favourite of all of the cuts that we got to try. It had all of the brilliant smooth, melt in the mouth joy you get from a fillet steak but with the additional benefit of tasting like a juicy, rich rump. I cooked it for 3.5 minutes on each side (yes I stared at the clock, a steak this good deserved to be cooked properly), then let it rest under foil on a warm plate for 5 minutes. When eating it, beautiful pink juices filled my plate- perfect mopped up with a chunky piece of bread or some crispy chips.
I recommend trying these new cuts, but sourcing them will probably involve a trip to your local butcher rather than your mainstream supermarket, although Waitrose does stock a flat-iron for £11.99per kg. Visit Eblex for more information and Simply Beef and Lamb for some great recipe ideas.