For a feast fit for royalty, you can't go wrong opting for the GIN-credible recipe resident gin chef Carol whipped up with this month's Conker Gin!
Summer has all but passed, but all is not yet lost. September is often a wonderful, warm, sunny month, and my favourite of the year. Add to that the fact that I spent much of my childhood and adult years in Dorset and the New Forest, I had to come up with something very special for Conker, the gin from my hometown.
My inspiration came from my growing up years, and when I first began cooking seriously. A dish I always loved making was peppered steak. I used this as a starting point to develop my recipe, a fragrant rump steak with a creamy sauce. The result is a deliciously different steak dish, good enough to serve up at simple barbecues or the smartest of dinner parties.
I must stress that you must buy the very best English 28-day dry aged rump you can find. And search out a quality independent butcher, not a supermarket. The meat can be in one or two slabs, but they must be thick. Don't be tempted to buy individual steaks!
So here goes, and I hope you enjoy this meal as much as my family and I did.
Rump Steak with Conker Gin Sauce
1 kg dry aged rump steak in one piece, at least 4 cm thick
For the dry rub:
2tsp juniper berries
1/2tsp allspice berries
1tsp mixed peppercorns
1/2tsp rock salt
1/2tsp coriander seeds
2tbsp olive oil
2 springs rosemary
For the sauce:
250ml beef stock
2tsp rosemary leaves
2tsp lightly crushed juniper berries
100ml double cream
3tbsp Conker Gin
In a pestle and mortar, mix together the juniper, allspice, peppercorns, rock salt and coriander seeds and grind to a coarse powder. Brush the steak on both sides with the oil, then rub the dry spice mix into the steak. Bruise the rosemary sprigs with a rolling pin, and pop on top of the steak. Leave for at least an hour.
Now prepare the sauce. Pop the stock, rosemary leaves and crushed juniper berries in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer until reduced by half. Pass through a sieve and return to a clean pan. Add the cream, warm through and then add the Conker Gin. Leave to one side while the steak is cooked.
Heat a pan until it’s hot and smoking. Put the steak in, with the spices and rosemary from the marinade, and cook on a high heat for approximately four minutes without moving it. Turn the steak over and cook on the other side for four minutes. If you prefer your meat less rare, turn the heat down and leave it for another two or three minutes per side. Remove the steak and place on a dish, covered with foil, to rest for 10 minutes. This resting time is important, so please do not cut it out!
After 10 minutes gently reheat the sauce, adding all the juices that have run out from the meat. This is a really important step, as it adds such a deep and delicious flavour to the sauce.
Now, carve the meat in thin, diagonal slices and serve with a drizzle of sauce and extra sauce on the side. We ate this with herbed new potatoes and asparagus, but it would be equally delicious with a peppery watercress and rocket salad.