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How to cook a rump steak to perfection

How to cook rump steak to perfection

When it comes to steak, those who value flavour above all else tend to choose rump. As the name suggests, it’s a cut that comes from the backside of a cow, an area which works hard. So even though rump steak won’t be quite as tender as sirloin, it will more than make up for it with a deep, mineral savouriness. And what’s more, it’s half the price.

Buy a well-aged piece of meat and cook it medium or medium-rare rather than full-on rare which, can be a little chewy. For best results choose a large steak to share, at least 5cm thick, and sear it in a very hot pan before finishing in the oven.

Key points to think about are seasoning, what pan to use and resting time.

Season the meat really well before cooking, but only with salt as pepper will burn in the pan.

Use a heavy-based pan or griddle, preferably something cast iron which retains heat very well. Use a tiny splash of vegetable or groundnut oil and get both pan and oil really hot before adding the meat. The oil should almost be at smoking point in order to get a delicious brown crust to contrast with the juicy pink interior.

Cook for three minutes on each side then transfer to a baking tray and finish in a hot oven for 10–15 minutes. Of course you can finish cooking your rump steak in the pan – give a 5cm piece of meat five minutes on each side for medium rare – but you’ll get a more even and tender result by using the oven.

Resting is the final, crucial step for perfection. Give it ten minutes. Which is plenty of time to set the table, open a bottle and make a quick pan sauce. Purists might baulk at the prospect of anything that distracts from the rump’s own deliciousness but sometimes it’s fun to gild the lily. Finely chop a shallot and a couple of cloves of garlic and soften them over a medium heat in the pan you used to sear the steak (tip out any excess fat but don’t wipe it). Add a slug of wine, brandy or stock to deglaze, some herbs if you like, bubble down until syrupy then swirl in a knob of butter and/or a dash of cream.

Once the steak is rested, slice and serve with a drizzle of sauce.

Ingredients

  • The perfect rump steak

  • 1 rump steak, 500g or more, measuring 5cm in thickness
  • vegetable oil, or groundnut oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • black pepper
1
Remove the steaks from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature at least an hour before you begin
2
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
3
Place a heavy-based frying pan or griddle pan over a high heat and add a splash of vegetable or groundnut oil. Pat the steak dry with a paper towel and sprinkle both sides generously with flaky sea salt
4
When the pan is very hot, with the oil almost at smoking point, add the steak and cook for 3 minutes on each side
5
If there is a thick layer of fat on the outside, hold the steak with tongs, fat-side down, so it can brown for a minute or so
6
Transfer the steak to a roasting tin and put it into the oven for 10–15 minutes
7
Remove the steak from the oven, season with pepper and rest on a warm plate, covered loosely with foil, for a further 10 minutes
8
Slice and serve with your choice of accompaniments

Serving suggestions

Chips are the classic accompaniment to a good steak and easier than you think to make at home, especially if you have a deep fat fryer. Go all out with Tom Aikens’ Truffle chips or just follow his method even if you don’t fancy the luxury extras.

Spinach, wilted or creamed is another lovely steakhouse side or just keep things simple with a mustardy dressed green salad. Finish off with a quick pan sauce or a tarragon-flecked Béarnaise.

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