If you know me a bit or follow me on social media you probably have figured out that I have a soft spot for beef. So, I'm the right person to tell you a few words about beef cuts, how to cook them and what Greek wine to drink along! Can we start?
Americans call it chuck in a broader sense but in fact it includes the neck, the chuck roll and the flat iron. It is ideal for slow - cooking or burger patties. The neck and the chuck roll are usually used for tas kebab, and in this case, I would choose a juicy Greek wine like Agiorgitiko that has been matured in oak barrel, such as Nemea from Estate Gofas.
Bonus tip: Somewhere here lays the most underrated, delicious steak, the flat iron that is perfect for tagliata. It actually comes from a piece of chuck after the connective tissues have been removed. If you have not tried it yet, go now and on the way grab a Malbec Finca Agostino to simply rock it.
Here we have epic steaks! Between the sixth and the 12th rib is the prime rib that if deboned it gives us the famous rib eye. Here things are simpler and they need blood! They are fatty and tender pieces that can be roasted on the grill, sautéed in the pan or broiled in the oven and they are ideally cooked medium. A rib eye with peppercorn crust or pepper sauce is asking for a spicy, rich Syrah from Barossa or if we want a wine from Greece, a Syrah from Thessaloniki like Syrah Domaine Florian.
Brisket is the piece under the chuck. It is moderately fatty but hard enough. It needs several hours of braising to break the fibers and become tender. It is also the piece from which corned beef is made. Americans who know about good brisket, smoke it and slow cook it for hours after having it marinated with spices and herbs such as paprika, cayenne, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and sugar. If you are that lucky to enjoy such a dish, do me a favor and open a Moschopolis 18 which is spicy, smoky and rich.
Then we have the super-hot short ribs that seems to be a thing nowadays. The reason is that they are fatty, rich in collagen and if they are cooked properly, they literally melt in your mouth. I suggest marinating them in red wine and lots of herbs. Slow - braise them until the meat falls off the bone (3-4 hours, or 40 minutes on the pressure cooker). Once it is cooked and tender put in a hot oven to make a nice caramelized crust. Reward yourself with a glass of Xinomavro, ideally from Naoussa like the sublime Naoussa of Kelessidis Estate (if you have an older vintage even better).
Beneath the short ribs is the flank, a very buttery and tender piece that is suitable both for bbq and burgers. From the flank comes the so-called flank steak but also the best minced meat for classic burgers. In both cases Cabernet Sauvignon is one-way. Prefer a juicy and exuberant Cab, reminiscent of the New World, such as Avlotopi, from Domaine Tselepos.
One of the most exquisite pieces as it includes T-bone, Porterhouse and New York strip steaks. T-bone and Porterhouse essentially include a piece of fillet and a piece of strip steak. The difference is that Porterhouse comes from the back part of the animal and thus has a larger piece of fillet. A classic proposition is New York strip steak with aromatic herb butter paired with cold climate Merlot such as Merlot from Argyriou Winery. T-bone and Porterhouse, are asking for an elegant wine with juicy, fruity character but medium body, so with my eyes closed, I would pick Les Bancels. The classic blend of Grenache - Syrah - Mourvedre has as much fruit and complexity as it needs to balance with the T - bone.
It is a lean and tender piece from the back of the animal. It can be slow cooked in a pot or in the oven. The upper part of the rump is the famous picanha, cooked either sliced or whole. Picanha served in slices with the famous chimichurri sauce would fit a glove with a fruity, complex and botanical red Greek wine like Mavrodaphne. My choice is Mavro of Petrakopoulos Winery.
For some, it’s the king for others it is the blandest piece. Its delicate flavor can handle many intense sauces such as truffle sauce. A rare fillet with truffle butter, savings of fresh black truffle and parmesan flakes is the ideal pairing for an elegant Limniona such as that of Domaine Zafeirakis. On the other hand, a cold dish like beef tartar with the acidity of the caper and the pickle and the spicy Dijon mustard will be superb with a Riesling such as Forster Pechstein Riesling 2012.
Bonus Tip: My favorite vintage of Limniona is 2009. Since it is difficult to find it, you can pick an older vintage in general to enjoy its earthy character.
It's the classic piece for roast. Lean and slightly tough as it comes from the animal's leg requires several hours of cooking. Family recipe follows: ask the butcher to cut it in even slices and marinate them from the previous evening in balsamic and vinegar with herbs. The following day transfer it to a baking dish and cover it with thick slices of tomato and mature gruyere. Add a little of the marinade, salt and pepper and bake for 2 hours, covered, in medium heat (170 ° C). When the meat is tender, uncork a Goumenissa from Domaine Tatsis and enjoy.
The chuck mock tender is a similar piece but it is much more tender so the success is guaranteed.
Ossobuco is practically the shank cut into vertical slices. It has collagen and connective tissue and, of course, bone marrow. If slow braised is dreamy it becomes super tender and makes pungent sauces. The Italians have a traditional recipe for ossobuco. They cook with ragu sauce and serve it with risotto Milanese. My suggestion is Pavone because what as I’ve said before what grows together goes together.