Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roast beef in a hay nest...

 Now that I finally got rid off my stomach flu or whatever that nasty little beast was, 
that got stuck in my intestines, I'm finally ready to make a blogpost again!

Bye bye bland food and herbal tea, and welcome back: 

I decided to make a roast beef and to add a little extra flavour to it by cooking it with hay. 
That's right, hay, as in "hay-from-the-pet-store". 
It adds a really nice aroma and subtle...(almost) sweetness to it, 
and it makes the whole house smell like an Alpine meadow. 
You can use hay with pretty much any kind of meat. 
Lamb or goat, for example, are supposed to be really good with it, as well.
I, however, bought a 1kg piece of lean and dry-aged beef (e.g. haunch)
from my favorite meat provider Filetstück.
You should make sure that the meat has room temperature before putting it in the oven.
If you cover it with a plate or foil you can easily leave it out for 2-3 hours before you start cooking.

I brushed the meat with a bit of olive oil and seasoned it 
with freshly ground szechuan pepper and some salt. 
Not too much salt though. You're better to add more later. 

Fire up the stove and let your pan (preferably cast iron) turn really, really hot. 
I know this seems totally wrong. 
But heat is the only way to sear the meat properly by giving it a nice and solid crust.
I recommend to open as many windows as possible. 
It will get quite smokey!
Sear the meat from both sides for 2-2,5 minutes.

In the meantime take a saucepan and and line with hay, 
some rosemary twigs and cut in half garlic cloves. 
After searing place the meat in the hay bed on top of the rosemary and garlic. 
Cover it with more rosemary twigs, garlic cloves and finally another layer of hay.
Then let it cook in the oven until rare/medium rare/medium...whatever you prefer.
Don't worry the hay won't burn!
It takes about 50 minutes at about 140-150ºC for the meat to be medium rare. 
We only have a gas oven and this is the lowest temperature we can cook it at. 
But feel free to cook it at lower temperature. 
It will take longer but the results will be even better, 
and the chances to f**k it up will be quite minimal.

When done cooking, remove the hay and wrapped in aluminium foil, 
let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes.

Slice the meat in thin slices... 

...and serve with a salad,  horseraddish and a smooth red.

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