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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Coeur de Romsteck and Pavé de Rumsteck – Rump Steaks. French Cuts That Make for Some of the Tastiest Steaks.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
A French rump steak

Romsteck and Rumsteck in French cuisine.
The French names Romsteak and Rumsteck confuse English speaking visitors. That is not too surprising as North America and UK restaurants and butchers cannot agree with each other over what defines a rump steak. 
French rump steaks include part of the UK cuts called rump, silverside, and topside. In the USA the French rump steaks are part of the USA cuts called sirloin and round.  N.B. The UK sirloin and the USA sirloin are also different cuts. With such confusion, there is no reason for the for the French to follow on. (Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw acknowledged long ago that Britain and the United States are two countries separated by a common language).

French chefs require their butchers to carefully prepare their cuts of beef and veal. France has no grades similar to the USA Prime or Choice, and so all French chefs learn in school how to grade, choose, and prepare beef, lamb, and pork.  That promises rump steaks cut so that if they are not the tenderest steak on the menu they will be the tastiest. There are two cuts on French menus that include the word rumsteck. In butcher's shops and recipes, you will find a third.

The first cut is the Coeur de Romsteck which translates as the heart of the romsteck.  Despite the name the Coeur de Romsteck, it is the least expensive of the French rump steak cuts. Coeur de Romstecks are tasty but nearly always served with a sauce.
Cœur de Romsteck on French menus:

Cœur de Romsteak, Beurre Maître d’Hôtel –   The cœur de romsteak served with Maître d’Hôtel Butter. Beurre Maître d’Hôtel is a compound butter. It is butter flavored with lemon juice and parsley and placed on a steak, roast or fish so that it adds flavor as it melts.
Beurre Maître d’Hôtel on a steak
Cœur de Rumsteck Grillé, Sauce au Bleu et aux Baies de “Sansho”  -  A cœur de rumsteck served with a sauce made with blue cheese and Sansho berries.  The Sancho berry originated in Japan and looks somewhat like Szechuan pepper. However, Sancho’s pepper is much milder than Szechuan, and its lemon tang gives away its origins as a member of the citrus family.
Cœur de Rumsteck en Carpaccio  -  A cœur de rumsteck Carpaccio. That is paper thin, marinated, uncooked beef.  The traditional recipe calls for the beef to be drizzled with a white sauce made from fresh mayonnaise, Worcester sauce, and lemon juice. To that may be added copeaux, shavings or flakes, of  Parmesan cheese.
Cœur de Rumsteck Grillé Sauce au Poivre - A cœur de rumsteck pepper steak.  French pepper steaks are made with green peppercorns.   When black peppercorns are used, it is difficult to control the peppers’ heat, and green pepper adds a light herbal accent.
Coeur de Romsteck
Cœur de Rumsteck, Ratatouille et Pomme Boulangère – Coeur de rumsteck served with the classic Ratatouille recipe from Nice on the Côte d'Azur.  Ratatouille is made with eggplants, aubergines in the UK,  zucchinis, courgettes in the UK, onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, garlic, herbs and olive oil.  Pomme Boulangère translates as a baker’s potatoes. It is a traditional dish of sliced potatoes baked in a vegetable or meat broth and allowed to simmer until all the broth has been absorbed or evaporated. 
The Filet de Romsteck.
From the Coeur de Romsteck the French butchers cut the Filet de Romsteck.  This cut looks somewhat like a whole US tenderloin from which USA filet mignons are cut; in the UK that is fillet. Whole Filet de Romstecks are prepared for roasts which explains why this cut is rarely on menus, though it will be in recipe books. When sliced this cut produces some of the best rump steaks on French menus where they will be called, Pavé de Romsteck or Pavé de Coeur de Rumsteck.  I read an article where a French butcher after visiting the USA accused US butchers of selling a thick cut from the USA top sirloin as a Chateaubriand. If correct, the cut used would be similar to the French Filet de Rumsteck. Despite that accusation of Lèse-majesté the French are themselves not sure of the original cut used for a Chateaubriand.  And, in any case, a Filet de Romsteck will provide the tastiest steaks so American diners have little to grumble about
Filet de Romsteck

Pavé de Rumsteck

From the Filet de Rumsteck the chefs and butchers cut thick steaks. They are among the tastiest of all steaks. (Pavé mean a paving stone in French, and the word will be seen in the names of certain French cheeses and in the setting of diamonds or other stones set like paving into gold or platinum).
Pavé de Rumsteck on French menus:

Pavé De Cœur De Rumsteck De Charolais 180 G  - A 180 gram (6 oz) pavé steak from France’s  famed  Bœuf Charolais du Bourbonnais AOP. The Charolais herds are free range for seven months a year and feed on grasses, wildflowers, and herbs all year.  All Charolais calves are raised by their mothers, and their beef is antibiotic and growth hormone free.
Pavé De Rumsteck
Pavé de Rumsteck Grillé, Crème de Camembert -  A grilled pavé steak served with a cream of camembert cheese sauce.
Pavé de Rumsteck sur Galette de Tomates, Sauce Chimichurri Pommes Grenailles – A pavé steak served on a wafer made with tomatoes, accompanied by small new potatoes and served with chimichurri sauce.  The French are happy to allow other nation’s recipe on their menus, and that includes chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri is a cold, Argentinian, or possibly Uruguayan sauce made with wine vinegar, parsley, cilantro, garlic and chili pepper.
Pavé de Rumsteck aux Échalotes, Purée Mousseline, Légumes Grillés - A pavé steak prepared with shallots and served with very fine mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. Mousseline in French cuisine comes from the texture of a mousse. In the days before the thinnest metal sieves were available mousses and the finest mashed potatoes (or other vegetables) were sieved through the materiel muslin. The results would become a mousse or a purée mousseline.
Pavé de Rumsteck Mariné à l'Ail des Ours, Sauce Pinot Noir – A pavé steak marinated with wild garlic served with a sauce made from the mild red Pinot noir wine.

The French cuts
French rump steaks include part of the UK cut called the rump as well as part of the silverside and topside.  In the USA that same cut is the sirloin and the top of the round.
UK beef cuts from the rump           USA cuts from the rump


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Bryan G. Newman
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