Rolled steak and Brussels sprouts au gratin

Another blast from the recent past… my thoughts on food in January with the help of the ninety year old book, The National Mark Calendar of Cooking:

I’ve mentioned it before, probably several times, but there seems to be an idea among some cookery writers that British cooking before the 1970’s was a wasteland and that herbs, spices, olive oil and garlic were practically unheard of. A glance through old cookery books, even the slimmest volume will show that cooks here have always tried to produce interesting and tasty meals, and taken full advantage of  different ingredients. My grandma in the 1920’s who came from a very ordinary, and actually very poor background, used garlic. She had a wooden skewer which she would stick into a clove of garlic then into meat to give a subtle flavour.

In this recipe which appear in the January section of the National Mark Calendar of Cooking, olive oil, paprika and gherkins are all used; it is a recipe for a sort of beef paupiette, and yes it is cooked in beef dripping, but chefs today are returning to using dripping and other fats for the flavour and the high cooking temperature. So here is the National Mark’s recipe for a stuffed beef dish:

Rolled steak

  • about 1lb of beef steak
  • chopped onion
  • dripping
  • cooked rice
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled and chopped
  • 2 gherkins, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • flour
  • paprika
  • salt and pepper
  1. soak the breadcrumbs in a little olive oil
  2. mix with the onion, egg and gherkins
  3. take a thickish slice of steak and beat it out flat
  4. spread with the onion, egg and breadcrumb mixture, season
  5. roll up the steak and tie it round, dust with the flour and paprika
  6. bake the steak in the dripping in the oven for about 25 minutes, basting and turning it once

There are no serving suggestions, but the following two recipes, mixed potato purée and Brussels sprouts au gratin seem a good accompaniment. I’ve seen a lot of recipes recently for fried sprouts, and this is what is suggested here, covered with a Béchemal sauce (milk infused with onion, cloves, nutmeg or mace, seasoning and thyme, strained thickened with a roux) and sprinkled with cheese before browning under the grill.


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