I am fortunate to live within a short stroll away from a superb local butcher. The thought of buying meat that has come from animals born and bred in my home town adds a proper meaning to the term ‘shop local’.
It was during one of my regular jaunts that I noticed a long streak of muscle nestling in a tray on the top shelf of The Red Bank Farm shop display. A short enquiry with the host revealed that this luvicious, pink lump to be what’s known as a ‘hanger’ steak. I was intrigued and so it was the work of a moment to thrash out the deal and bag me a pound of prime.
There is only one hanger steak per animal. As the name suggests it ‘hangs’ from the diaphragm and is attached to the spine and the last rib (sounds like you know what you’re on about! – Ed). It normally weighs between a pound and a pound and a half (450 to 675g). It’s reckoned it is the tenderest cut on an animal and is best marinated and cooked quickly over high heat and served rare or medium rare, to avoid toughness.
The recipe I have cadged here is by Anne Burrell who seemingly pops up on a show called ‘Secrets of a Restaurant Chef’. It’s quite simple really, the keys seems to be to marinate the meat overnight. The ingredients below are for 2 steaks which I reckon would feed 4. I actually cooked one for me and The Flame.
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
Pinch crushed pepper
2 sprigs rosemary, picked and finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 (1 1/2-pound each) hanger steaks, trimmed, membrane removed and cut in half lengthwise
In a small bowl, combine the Dijon, garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and zest, and crushed pepper. Smear the steaks with this deliciousness and let them hang out in the fridge overnight or up to 2 hours in the fridge.
You could grill the steaks on a barbecue or indoor grill. I did mine on the hob in my trusty grill pan. I seasoned the steaks with salt before setting on the hot, lightly oiled grill pan. I seared each side for about three minutes each and then rested for 5 – 10 minutes in a warm oven. You could cover with foil I reckon.
Alternatively using Anne’s recipe she does it on a flame grill. When the grill is hot, brush and oil the grill. When the flames have dissipated place the steaks on a hot spot on the grill. Brush with the excess marinade and move the steaks out of the flame if there is a flare up. Grill the steak for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
One rested I sliced mine and served immediately with chips and salad. I have to say it was pretty good. The marinade really comes through and gives the meat plenty of flavour. I’d definitely do it again. And after all it is a fairly cheap cut.
It’s just a jape, don’t worry, nothing too serious. Let me explain.
Last year The Flame and I beckoned friends across the border from Yorkshire to enjoy some Lancastrian hospitality. Yours truly tasked with organising the binge played his ace. He tripped the team into the beautiful Trough of Bowland and set up a Sunday afternoon sesh in The Parkers Arms. Full details of the sumptuous scran are already available elsewhere on the blog. It was a triumphant scheme, Charlie The Greek and his lovely wife Julie were bowled over and considered it the best meal they had in years.
Last week a return leg was organised. The Yorkshire troop were convinced that a repeat performance could be arranged. The Cooktwit decided to run a friendly competition, could Yorkshire overcome the lofty bar that had been set by Lancashire’s Bowland crew?
The planned set up was to quaff and stuff on Saturday night at The Cross Keys in Leeds and then round off with a Sunday lunch at The Roebuck in Otley. First off it was into the up and coming trendy enclave of the Leeds granary wharf basin. Saturday night at The Cross Keys was Yorkshires first effort to lever the crown. Set in a run of terracing it has been spruced from the front with the obligatory tin of Farrow and Ball. And rather pleasant it looks too. It didn’t disappoint inside either. Trad gastro pub fittings downstairs with a swirling, rickety staircase up to the dining room above. A pint of Kirkstall ‘North Prototype’, a light, golden ale soon had The Cook Twit settled and raring for his Yorkshire feed.
I opened at The Keys with pan fried squid, black pudding, beef dripping croutons with a lemon emulsion! Whilst the flame chipped in with a glorious deep fried hens egg on fresh asparagus. I wasn’t sure about the croutons as they had a strong taste of the oil. The hens egg worked well, it spurned its yolk over the greens right on cue.
In comparison at The Parkers we recalled a sublime crab parfait and a three cheese soufflé, both crafted and presented with aplomb.
Starters : Lancashire 8/10 Yorkshire 7/10
For the main event I’ve had to bring a selection of the best from Yorkshire to compete with Lancashire. According to our Canadian waitress Jen, The Crosskeys menu changes almost daily depending on what has been acquired from the area. A laudable aim I’m sure you’ll agree. However, out of eight dishes, three were pig based, two were veggie, which left us a little short on variety.
I had the hanger steak on Saturday night, a cut I’ve only read about before. It came rare and covered with two bone marrow butter discs. The butter was used in small doses to add further flavour and moisture to what was a decent steak. For Sunday lunch The Roebuck pub in Otley served up a minted, mutton pie which I’d have to say was pushing hard against the Great Northern Pie Co efforts that I occasionally imbibe as a treat. It came with a lovely gravy to set it off. Given the rabbit pie that I originally ordered had run out it was a cracking back up. The waitress pointed out that they had the rabbits but had not turned them into pies yet!
Sadly for Yorkshire all this had to stack up against Stosie’s boned pheasant done two ways, the leg in a pasty the breast rolled in a ballotine. A good effort from Yorkshire but….
Mains : Lancashire 10/10 Yorkshire 8/10
Despite being absolutely rammed The Cook Twit (purely for research purposes) stepped up to the plate and devoured a desert on Saturday night and Sunday lunch. The Cross Keys put up a strange but nonetheless tasty offering of sticky toffee berry fool. Essentially a glass bowl of sticky toffee pudding swimming in a berry compote with berries on top. It was too much really. Could have been a smaller portion with some ice cream. The Roebuck presented some real quality. Labelled as ‘coffee sweet treats’ it turned out to be a coffee with a selection of four of the deserts. An Eton mess, sliver of lemon tart, chocolate Ganesh and a sensational local banana ice cream. I managed to take down the lemon and the ice cream but got stawed with the rest.
The Parkers tipped up with a Victorian plum sponge, and it’s famous wet Nellie. Two stonking deserts. It’s a close call but I think Lancashire seals it again. The Roebucks offer nearly taking it.
Sweets : Lancashire 8/10. Yorkshire 7/10
Service and surroundings both hit the rustic mark. Open fires at The Parkers, whilst tudor beams support The Cross Keys. All three pubs offered quality real ale. As you would expect The Parkers Arms opened its account with a Bowland effort called Hen Harrier. A lovely golden ale, but I’d have to say the Yorkshire twins offered the Kirkstall brew and then one called ‘Saltaire’. Both were absolutely superb, light session ales that I could have quaffed all day. Yorkshire steals the ale comp.
Beer : Lancashire 7/10 Yorkshire 9/10
So there you have it Lancsahire 33/40, Yorkshire 31/40 a splendid effort. A word to The Cross Keys and The Roebuck it’s no disgrace finishing behind The Parkers Arms. There’s an experienced team there serving amazing food.
We had a great time in Leeds and we certainly ate and drank well. We would definately go back to both places. They are both on our radar. I notice today there is chicken on the menu at The Cross Keys. The Flame would have been a little happier.