20/04/2016

Matthias Schmitt

For forty years, Donald Russell have made their name supplying exceptional steaks to the world’s top chefs. Some of these steak cuts have remained the trade secret of us chefs – until now, that is!

selection-bavette

With big flavour and fantastic value, these steaks have it all. A word of warning, though: these are for true carnivores who like their meat nice and rare. You must cook them as we chefs do – hot and fast, to no more than medium-rare, or else that wonderfully juicy experience will be lost, and that pleasing ‘bite’ will become a chew. Here’s how I advise you to do it…

The other important thing – with all steaks, not just these ones – is to make sure you slice them against the ‘grain’ of the meat. If you look closely, you’ll see the fibres of the meat run in one particular direction – cut across them, not along them. This makes the steaks feel much more tender!

Now, a few words about each of these gorgeous new steaks:

Picanha

picanha

In Brazil, this juicy cut – pronounced pi-CAN-ya – is traditionally kept in one large piece, grilled on a sword and sliced to serve a few people. Here, our butchers have prepared it as convenient, pan-ready individual steaks – much easier! Sear it with a little chilli and lime – perfect with those big, bold, beefy flavours.

Flat Iron

flat-iron

Named for its shape – like an old-fashioned clothes iron which was heated in the fire – Flat Iron Steak used to be referred to as ‘butler’s steak’. While the lord of the manor would have eaten fillet or sirloin, the not-so-posh but still very tender flat iron would have been reserved for the highest ranking servants. Also known as featherblade steak, flat iron is cut from the shoulder, so has good marbling, a firm bite and deep flavour.

Chuckeye

chuck-eye

Well marbled steaks you’ll soon become a fan of! The ribeye cut naturally extends up into the shoulder (or ‘chuck’) of the carcase – where the two meet, you get Chuck Eye Steaks! With the fat and flavour of ribeye, and a slightly firmer, humbler finish from the chuck, these steaks are an incredibly satisfying combination…

Onglet

onglet

Onglet, AKA ‘hanger steak’, literally hangs in the centre of the carcase – it’s a totally unworked muscle so is very tender. It has an intense, deeply beefy flavour. No wonder butchers used to keep this hidden gem of a cut all to themselves!

Bavette

bavette

Bavette is a delicacy in Mexico and Latin America, where it is marinated and grilled as arrachera. It’s a hard working muscle; lean, firm and with a long grain. Cook it short and fast, and slice it against the grain, for a robust, beefy flavour.

Skirt

skirt

Also known as diaphragm steak, this thin and tasty steak has a loose grain and definite bite. Steak afficionados and those in the know have always coveted its very particular qualities – but it must be cooked briskly, and enjoyed very, very pink.

So, for those of you yet to taste these speciality steaks for the first time – all I can say is I’m quite jealous!

Enjoy!

Matthias

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Matthias Schmitt

I want to tell you the very special story of our new Mediterranean range today. Authentic Italian dishes, straight out of the family cookbook of ‘Nonna’ (‘Nana’) Gagliardi! ‘Nonna Dina’ is a proud Italian, and mother of our own Managing Director, Tazio. As such, we at Donald Russell consider her the ultimate authority on Mediterranean home cooking.

mediterranean-1

Dina came over to Donald Russell last year, complete with an amazing piece of family history – her own, handwritten recipe book. This is the very recipe book she raised her family on, and includes recipes handed down through the generations and refined over a lifetime of cooking … it’s a wonderful artefact!

She and I spent two weeks working together in the Donald Russell kitchen, cooking and tasting, cooking and tasting, until each dish met Dina’s discerning and very high standards. This wasn’t the most straightforward of tasks, as we shared very little in terms of a common language, and lots of our communication was done with sign language, mimes and giggles.

mediterranean-2

Then – even more of a challenge – I had to recreate them all for Tazio. Just imagine trying to recreate somebody’s favourite foodie memories of childhood! I was so proud when he agreed they were as good as ‘Mamma used to make’…

These delicious dishes reflect Nonna Gagliardi’s traditional Italian love of home cooking – taking pride in providing her family with wholesome meals, rich in natural flavour. Just the names sound like Italy – Minestrone Soup, Mushroom and Vegetable Risottos, Polenta Fritters and even Spaghetti Bolognese, complete with its own spaghetti.

mediterranean-3

Some are less familiar to us over in the UK – Peperonata, full of sunshiney veg, and Aubergine Parmigiana, rich and cheesy – delicious. And then there’s Pork Involtini, Pollo Ripieni and Punto Ripiena – juicy pork, chicken and veal, wrapped around the most amazingly mouth-watering stuffings – I can taste them now …

We’ve prepared them just all like Dina used to, choosing our ingredients carefully and making them in by hand, in small batches. But there’s one really clever twist – these are all ready to heat straight from frozen, with no work at all on your part. I hope you will enjoy them as much as we all do!

Buon appetito!

Matthias

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Hans Baumann

It’s official – Donald Russell makes ‘Britain’s Best Meat Pie’!

cottage pie

We were awarded this prestigious accolade in 2015 by the expert judges at the Meat Management Awards – the UK’s leading forum for the nation’s butchers. The combined sterling efforts of the Donald Russell butchers and chefs were pitted against the ‘who’s who’ of the meat and food industry. We beat off stiff competition from retail heavyweights such as Tesco, Asda and Marks & Spencer to pick up the award – I couldn’t be more proud!

other pie

But which pie deserves this title? We have quite a few, after all. Beef Pie, Shepherds’ Pie, Steak & Kidney … not to mention our Traditional Pork, Game and Chicken & Ham ones, or even our fantastic Fish Pies!

In the end, it was our our meaty Cottage Pie that stole the show.

pie3

I can see why – the nation’s appetite for classic comfort food has been well and truly awoken. And a really good Cottage Pie has it all. The full, rich flavours of properly matured grass-fed beef, minced with juicy free-range pork, all simmered in a hearty natural gravy. Fluffy mash tops it off, along with a sprinkling of cheddar – who could say no?

pie4

So why not take the night off cooking and join me in enjoying ‘Britain’s Best Meat Pie’! for dinner? You’ll be glad you did – you have my guarantee!

Happy eating,

Hans

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