Good quality, high-welfare beef can be a luxury food purchase, but there are loads of ways of making a decent bit of beef stretch further, particularly if you pad your meals out with plenty of vegetables or store-cupboards staples such as rice or noodles.
When choosing your beef, cheaper cuts like brisket or shin will often be more suited to slow-cooking, whereas steaks, whether rump, rib-eye or sirloin, will benefit from being cooked for as little time as possible. And when selecting a cut, don’t be afraid to look out for a little bit of white marbling as this will add to the overall taste and tenderness of your beef dish!
For speedy family mealtimes, I find that beef works great in stir-fries or as a filling for fajitas and wraps. Whichever you prefer, you should always remember to take your meat out up to an hour before you want to cook it. That way, it will be ready for the heat and won’t seize up and become tough during cooking.
Preparing a stir-fry is easy. Try and slice your steak as thinly as possible and have all your prepped vegetables to hand, ready-chopped to a similar size. If you do this, the stir-fry ingredients should only take a couple of minutes to cook. Beef in a stir-fry goes well with lots of different vegetables – broccoli, mushrooms, onions, mixed peppers, carrots, beansprouts and leafy greens. For taste, add in a splash of soy sauce or oyster sauce to the pan, or maybe a little honey and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. To fill empty tummies, sit your stir fry on a nice big bed of cooked egg or nice noodles. If you fancy taking things up a notch, try this Beef and vegetable stir fry, flavoured with garlic, ginger and chilli and a little sesame oil and lime juice.
Steak fajitas and wraps are another great choice when wanting a good quality piece of beef to go further. You can add loads of vegetables, including finely-sliced onions and peppers, to the griddle pan alongside your steak. For a midweek treat in minutes, try a Steak and guacamole wrap, making one good quality rib-eye steak stretch by loading the wraps up with meaty mushrooms. I often use chunky Portobello or Portobellini mushrooms in place of Shitake, but you can always try chestnut or white mushrooms instead. Why not make the avocado guacamole up in advance to get a head start? Once you’re ready to cook, all you’ll need is your steak at room temperature, a few simple herbs and spices, warmed tortilla wraps, and some creamy natural yoghurt or sour cream on standby!
For some more tips on the perfect cut of steak, including Jamie’s favourite cut, watch this video on How to cook Perfect Steak.
Ren Behan is a food writer and mum of two – find out more at www.renbehan.com