Quickly seared, sliced and balsamic-splashed beef, coupled with rosemary roasted pumpkin, atop a mountain of peppery rocket, and with a scattering of semi-transparent pomegranate jewels.
Like, what are you waiting for? The season of Pomegranate and Pumpkin is upon us, and this is a dish which brings out the best of each and every selected ingredient. It sits perfectly against the backdrop of October – when the chill in the air warrants the oven alight, and yet the striking midday sun calls for crisp salad leaves. Depending on the quantities served on each plate, it can be stand-alone meal in it’s own right, or it could be served as the main course for a dinner party – perhaps with a Pumpkin theme – between Pumpkin Soup with Finferli as the starter, and Pumpkin Pie for dessert. Just thinking.
Balsamic Splashed Beef with Roasted Rosemary Pumpkin, Arugula and Pomegranate Jewels
Because of its sugars, pumpkin is quick to roast in a hot oven. If the temperature is too low, it’ll cook, but rather colouring around the edges, thus defining it’s form, you risk it turning to mash. Small 2cm cubes are perfect for this context. If you line the baking dish with parchment paper, they’ll be much easier to turn half-way through the roasting time. I give them 20 minutes, then a gentle toss, and then another 20 minutes. While they’re roasting, you can prepare everything else.
Take the rocket out of it’s plastic pillow bag and transfer it to a big bowl long before meal time. It wants to be at room temperature, and to have no lingering trace of plastic bag. Loosen it a little by jiggling the clump between your fingers so that fresh air circulates between each leaf.
Break open your pomegranate and take some time to marvel at the beauty! Slip the crimson seeds into a bowl, being careful not to include fragments of white pith.
When the pumpkin cubes are soft in the middle and are just starting to brown on the edges, turn off the heat, but leave them in the oven stay warm.
Prepare the plates. Heap a mountain of rocket onto each plate, and be generous. We divide a full 150gram bag between the two of us. Dribble the salad with a little extra virgin and balsamic – don’t overdo it: you’ll be adding more.
It’s time for the beef. The blade steak needs to be a good 2cm thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides, and place the whole piece into a pre-heated pan. Three minutes on one side, with the lid on for about half of that time to heat it right through to the centre. Flip it over, give it four minutes, and then turn it over again for another minute. We use a timer.
Transfer it to a cutting board, and with a very sharp knife slice it into 1cm strips, and then slice those strips in half, widthwise.Work quickly so that you can catch as much of the seeping liquids as you can. Pour them with the beef strips back into the pan. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and let the liquids reduce whilst turning the meat, so that all sides are seared quickly, yet still remain tender and moist.
You can do all of this on your own, but it helps to have a pair of extra hands. While the meat is cooking – or immediately afterwards – heap the roasted pumpkin cubes right onto the summit of your rocket mountain. The leaves will slowly soften beneath the warmth of the pumpkin. Lovely.
Scatter pomegranate seeds onto and around the edges of the salad, one tablespoon for each person. Restrain yourself here.When the number is just right, they will complement as sharp, textural surprises between the teeth. Too many and the meal may seem gritty. Let your creativity flow. Dotted around the edges of the plate, the seeds will strike a gorgeous contrast against the complementary green. Hidden under leaves, they will be discovered as precious gems. Crimson and orange. Pomegranate and pumpkin. Passion and comfort.
Swirl a fine stream of extra virgin over the lot, spiraling out from the middle. A grinding or two of salt. And droplets of Balsamic Vinegar. Be careful here. Know how your bottle pours, and if need be, use a teaspoon.
Using tongs, place the beef strips in a star shape radiating out from the orange centre to the sides.
Race the plates to the table, where more extra virgin and balsamic can be added to taste.
On the Side
Chestnut, Choc Chunk and Hazelnut Cookies – Because the Chestnuts are falling at the same time as the pomegranates are bursting their seams.
Slow Simmered Cabbage with Apples and Spice – One of our Autumn / Winter favourites. Aromantic and comforting.
All Purpose Festive Spice Mix, plus Bonus Comfort Chai – if you do a lot of baking, double the quantity. So useful, this blend, and the bonus chai from all the ground up bits is wonderfully warming during the colder months.
This recipe has been shared on The Wednesday Showcase.
Promise me you will make this! Post your photos onto our Facebook page, or share with me on Instagram – this dish is so pretty, and I’d love to see your creations! Let me know how you go in the comments, and, as always, thanks so much for your time here, and thanks for sharing on your Social.
- 400 grams pumpkin, seeded, peeled, and diced into 2cm cubes
- 6 stems of rosemary, each 5cm long
- 1 teaspoon course sea salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 400 grams beef steak, 2 cm thick
- 150 grams rocket (arugula), prewashed
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (AIP: see note below)
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F. Line an 18 x 25 cm baking dish with parchment paper, so that the paper comes up the sides of the dish.
- Place the pumpkin cubes, rosemary and sea salt into a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss with your hands until all the pumpkin cubes are coated with oil. Transfer the pumpkin and rosemary to the baking dish, and distribute the cubes evenly. Place the dish into the oven, and set the timer for 20 minutes.
- Season the beef steak with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Take the rucola out of it's bag and place it in a large bowl. Loosen with your fingers so that air can circulate between the leaves.
- Open the pomegranate and remove the seeds, making sure not to include any white pith.
- When the timer sounds, take the pumpkin out of the oven. By lifting alternate sides of the parchment paper, gently rotate and toss the cubes. Distribute them evenly in the baking dish once more, and place them back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
- When the pumpkin cubes are just starting to colour around the edges, turn off the oven.
- Prepare the plates. If the dish is to be a stand-alone meal for 2 people, pile 75 grams of rucola onto the centre of each plate. If you are serving 4 as a main course, use just 60 grams. Swirl 1 tablsespoon of extra virgin olive oil from the centre of each salad to the periphery, and add a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
- Prepare the beef. Heat a large heavy-based fry pan over a medium heat. Place the beef steak into the pan, and after 2 minutes, pop on the lid. Cook for another minute, then turn it over, and cook for 4 minutes. Turn over again, and cook for another minute.
- Transfer the beef to a chopping board, and with a very sharp knife, cut the beef across the grain into 1 cm wide strips. Then, cut the strips down the middle, width-wise. Return the beef to the pan with any juices, add one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and cook for another minute until the beef is seared on all sides.
- Take the pumpkin out of the oven and place a generous serving into the middle of the rocket.
- Scatter 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds into and around the pumpkin and salad.
- Place 5 or 6 beef strips on top of the pumpkin and salad. Create a star shape, from the centre of the pumpkin to the edges.
- Swirl more olive oil, and scatter 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar droplets onto each plate.
- Serve and enjoy.
- AIP Note: If you can't find a suitable Balsamic Vinegar, use red wine vinegar instead.
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