Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
Recipe – Sous Vide Bavettte in Brown Butter with Potato Rosti
This is one of my favourite ‘comfort food’ recipes. It’s not complicated, the flavours are straightforward, classic and hearty and I love it. Often I will have this as a dinner on a Saturday night (when I have done hefty cardio to offset the fact that this is not a skinny recipe). Bavette (or flank as you might know it) is a cheap cut, like most cheap cuts there’s great strong flavour but it can be tough. The secret is to cut across the grain after resting into thin strips. The toughness comes from the long fibres in the meat, so cutting across them rather than along offsets that. It’s not going to be butter smooth fillet though, so don’t expect that. I like to pair it with relatively simple flavours so here I have a potato rosti and some caramelised shallots. Rosti can be tricky, a lot hangs on having a really good non-stick pan, I’m flavouring here with some spring onion and pancetta.
The cooking method for the meat is a technique I started this year, sous vide. This means ‘under vacuum’ and is a way of cooking food in a low temperature water bath. Often the times for sous vide are very long (measured in days) and so it’s a great way to get lovely results from cheap cuts but here I am only cooking for an hour. I just want the steak to get to rare, the reason to use sous vide is to cook the steak in the browned butter which imparts nutty caramel notes and a delicious richness, it’s a bit like confit but on a lesser scale.
Without further ado, let’s look at the recipe.
Pre-heat the sous vide to your preferred internal temperature for steak, mine is 51c which equates to a nice rare steak, your mileage may vary. Get the steak out early and bring it up to room temperature.
Now prep the brown butter. Put a tablespoon of butter in a pan over a very low heat, stir regularly (please ignore the fact we really need to invest in some new saucepans!).
When the butter starts to foam start really keep an eye on it, when it starts to brown take it off the heat. It will darken off the heat so take it off before it looks as dark as you’d like.
Season up the steak with salt and pepper.
Put the steak into a vacuum bag, pour in the brown butter and seal up. If you are using an edge sealer don’t let it complete as the butter will wreck the mechanism. just get most of the air out and seal it.
Put it into the sous vide for about an hour.
Now finely dice the shallots. Put into the saucepan you cooked the butter in, with another tablespoon of butter, a good pinch of salt and an equally good pinch of demerara sugar. Bring it up to a sizzle and turn the heat down. It’s going to cook for the hour with the steak so it needs to be stirred occasionally and also not so hot that it burns. You’re looking for a soft sludgy texture at the end of the cook.
When you have about half an hour left on the steak start the rosti. First chop the potatoes. The way you do this is up to you. You can julienne by hand (if a masochist), julienne with a mandolin (if a masochist who does not require their fingers) or you can use a spiraliser (if you’re partial to kitchen gadgetry as I am). When the potato is prepared season and mix in a beaten egg as a binding agent. You can try and cook the rosti without if you are confident, I’m not basically.
In a pan wth impeccable non-stick, cook off any flavouring for the rosti, once this is done add in the potato mixture and cook, initially on a high heat and then medium. While it cooks, push it down with a fish slice to compress it. Rosti should have a nice chunky centre.
Once the rosti has cooked (I would give it up to 10 mins) tip it onto a plate so the cooked side is up. Then slide back into the pan by tipping the plate so the cooked side is still up.
Cook again, 5 -10 mins starting on high then turning down.
Once this is done, warm in an oven while you finish the rest.
When the steak finishes heat your frying pan to super hot and start any veggies you are having. Here I am steaming some asparagus and other bits.
Open the vacuum bag and keeping it upright, remove the steak.
Sear the steak on both sides (30 or so second a side) to encourage the maillard effect.
Rest the steak and assemble the dish.
Once the rosti and veg are plated, slice the steak across the grain, pour over the reserved brown butter and top with the shallots.