Beef is a great source of protein, it contains all eight essential amino acids and is rich in iron, zinc and several of the B-complex vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and B12.
Cuts of beef
There are many cuts of beef that come from either the hindquarter (the back section) or the forequarter (the front section). The hindquarter yields silverside, topside, rump, skirt and sirloin; while shin, blade/chuck, brisket, T-bone and scotch fillet come from the forequarter. Tender cuts, such as fillet and sirloin, can be roasted, grilled or panfried. Tougher cuts, such as chuck, need slow, gentle cooking to soften the connective tissue.
Beef goes well with bacon, brandy, horseradish, mustard, red wine, onions, cumin, mushrooms, green peppercorns, eggplant, pumpkin, potato, spinach and sour cream.
You'll find a wide selection of beef in the meat section of most supermarkets. Which cut you select will depend on how you intend to cook it. For example, choose sirloin or rump for pan-frying and chuck steak (also known as casserole steak) or shin beef (or gravy beef) for casseroles. If you're watching your weight, remove any visible fat before cooking or look for lean beef. Otherwise, a little
bit of marbling (cream-coloured veins of fat) tends to add flavour and keep the meat moist during the cooking process.
Remove meat from packaging, place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the coldest part of the fridge for up to two days. (Larger joints of beef, such as a standing rib roast, can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.) Alternatively, place the beef in freezer bags and label, date and freeze. Mince and smaller cuts will keep in the freezer for up to three months, larger cuts (such as roasts) can be stored for up to six months. To thaw, defrost in the fridge overnight. Remove meat from the fridge one hour before roasting or pan-frying to bring to room temperature (this will reduce the overall cooking time).
Always preheat the oven, barbecue, grill or frying pan before cooking beef. This will ensure that the meat will be seared quickly, locking in the juices and keeping it moist and tender. After cooking, rest the beef for 5 minutes per 500g to allow the juices, which are drawn towards the centre of the meat during the cooking process, to be evenly distributed.