The World Cup asked us many questions. Who wrote that awful theme tune? What can’t Tim Howard save? Just how hungry is Suarez?
But it’s the final that asks the most important question of the tournament, and possibly one of the most important questions ever asked – sausage or steak?
These are the national dishes of the finalists, Germany and Argentina. It’s strange how those two dishes so perfectly sum up the two teams. On the one hand, a beautifully barbecued steak is the ultimate treat – that crispy, umami crust then the sweet, soft meat on the inside is simply untouchable when done well. By “done well” I absolutely do not mean well done – keep it pink, brush it with herbs, oil and garlic and always let it rest before eating. Sometimes ready in just a few minutes, it is effortless brilliance –the Lionel Messi of food.
But then you have the sausage – a sum of its parts. The ones we cooked up for this used the best free-range pork, mixed with ginger, marjoram and mace, with a thick skin that bursts as you bite in. No single ingredient is remarkable, but together they make something world beating. Whether they’re with a full English breakfast, in a cheeky lunchtime sausage sandwich or with mash and gravy, sausages are the workhorses of beautiful, quick foodie wins. And that’s before you even start on the hotdog, or the German currywurst,
But enough of what I think – which is your favourite? To help decide here are two recipes: one for Jamie’s perfect barbecued steak, and the other for the best currywurst you’ll ever, ever eat – help along by the incredible keilbasa kindly given to us by Cobble Lane Cured, surely London’s finest sausage maker.
Perfect barbecue steak
- Featherblade or rib-eye steak
- Sea salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- A clove of garlic
- A bunch of thyme and rosemary
Get a steak with plenty of fat marbling – that’s where the flavour is. Both the rib-eye and featherblade have loads of bite and flavour. Leave the steak out of the fridge for an hour to come to room temperature, then season it with plenty of salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and give it a good rub on both sides.
Slice the garlic clove in half. Get your barbecue/frying pan screaming hot, then add the steak to the pan and turn every minute using tongs. Each time, rub with a garlic half. When the fat starts to come out, get your herbs and hold them like a brush. Dip them in the fat then whip the steak with the herbs – remember to keep turning! When cooked to your liking – we think medium-rare with these cuts – remove from the heat and leave to rest for 2 minutes. Serve whole or slice it up, drizzled with the resting juices. Best enjoyed with a glass of Malbec.
- 4 kielbasas, bratwursts or bockwursts
- One onion
- 400ml passata
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- salt and pepper
- 1 dash red wine vinegar
Finely slice your onion and get a pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and fry until soft. Meanwhile, get a griddle pan on a high heat until it’s screaming hot, then add your sausages. Turn every couple of minutes until blistered and beautiful.
Tip the passata in with the onions and stir it through. Add your sugar and spices, stir again, then season to taste. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes until thick and delicious. If it tastes a little bit flat add some red wine vinegar. When you’re happy, blend it until smooth.
Serve your sausages up on plates, then spoon over plenty of the sauce and top with a sprinkle of curry powder. Best served with a German helles lager or bock.
Steak image by David Loftus for Jamie Magazine