Perfect for Valentines Day… or any other day, TBH
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOKING TIME: 20 mins + 10 – 15 mins resting time
IDEAL FOR: Valentines Day, BBQ, steak night
WINE MATCH: Suzie (Michael Sutton’s Cellar), would choose a Cab Sauv to go with a rump cap, as the tannins react favourably with the high-fat content of the meat and will bring out incredible flavours
I can tell you I tried their house wine, Curial Cabernet Sauvignon (only £8.75) with my pan-roasted rump cap and it was the perfect accompaniment.
Maybe if Tim buys me flowers (lol), I’ll push the boat out and whip up a rump cap with a delicious Cabernet from Wente Vineyards (£15.50)… which happens to be close to one of Tim’s favourite surf spots in San Francisco.
Valentine’s Day, also called St. Valentine’s Day, (February 14).
Or as my ‘romantic’ husband calls it, ‘Commercial Card Day’.
Which I personally go along with.
But it doesn’t mean we can’t use it as a fantastic excuse to eat and drink well!
Who was St Valentine?
The day gets its name from a famous saint.
Having said that, there are of course, many stories about who he was.
This version about St Valentine explains he was a priest from Rome in the 3rd century AD.
Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers.
Valentine thought this unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret.
When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.
In jail, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter.
When he was taken to be killed (Feb 14th) he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”.
How did Valentine’s Day start?
It was ancient Romanian festival, Lupercalia, held in mid-February
It celebrated the coming of spring and fertility rites (with some sacrificial animal rituals to boot).
As part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box and they’d get married.
Later on, the Church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember St Valentine.
And so, St Valentine’s name started to become used to express feelings of to loved ones.
Which is why, I’ve chosen rump cap (picanha) for a Valentines meal.
How better show your love for someone than with a special homecooked meal.
What is rump cap?
It’s a Brazilian favourite called picanha (pronounced “pee-kahn-yah”)
Or depending where you live in the world, it’s called rump cap or sirloin cap.
It’s one of the most flavourful cuts of beef you will find.
And is a relatively cheaper cut.
That will impress your Valentine.
Or impress your family or friends for a dinner party (*whenever that can happen again #globalpandemic)
It’s a cut you probably won’t find it at your local supermarket though.
But a good butcher will know this it.
What cut of beef is rump cap
It’s taken from the top of the hindquarter of the cow.
And is usually triangular in shape and surrounded by a thick layer of fat called a fat cap.
Tips when buying;
- Make sure you have at least a 1.5cm layer of fat attached.
- And the best size to buy is around 1 – 1.5kg.
How to cook picanha
So, there are a few different methods to try.
You can BBQ grill, slow cook, oven roast, pan-roast…
But always remember to bring your steak to room temperature and pat dry before you start cooking.
I went for the pan-roasted method.
And produces a beautiful rich, robust beefy flavour.
- Bring to room temperature first and pat dry
- Score the fat with diagonal slices, then season with salt
- Place it fat side down in a hot pan and render the fat (approx 8 mins)
- Season the flesh sides, flip, cook some more, then place in the oven on 120 C for 10 mins
- Always cut with the grain – the same way as the fibres (you cut against the grain for serving)
You only need to season with sea salt (and don’t be scared with this, it can handle the seasoning)
Whichever way you choose to cook it, the taste, texture are stunning.
I also made a chimichurri sauce to go alongside.
Not only does it taste delicious with rump cap.
But the bright green colours make a fantastic presentation.
After all, it’s Valentines Day.
Let’s not skimp on the detail.
And as mentioned above, match with a nice glass of red,…
Keep it simple and let the steak do the talking.
But a nice drizzle of chimichurri sauce over the steak will be delicious.
And check out some sides, here.
What’s your favourite dish for a special occasion? Leave a comment…
Pan-roasted rump cap (picanha)
- 1.5 kg beef rump cap
- beef dripping or oil
- Preheat the oven to 120°C/250 F
- Take the rump cap and score the fat in a diagonal pattern, then cover and leave out of the fridge to reach room temperature (if it's not already at room temp)
- Season the fat of the rump cap with plenty of salt.Put a couple of tablespoons of beef dripping (or oil) into a large frying pan over a high heat and place the rump cap, fat-down, into the pan. Turn the heat down a little and render the fat down slowly. Season the top side with a generous amount of salt.
- As you cook, a large quantity of fat will be released into the pan. Drain most of the fat from the pan, reserving until later, then continue to render down the fat until beautifully golden crisp, for about about 8 minutes after draining the pan.
- Now, turn over the meat, add some of the reserved fat and once hot, baste the top of the meat with the fat. Cook until beautifully coloured on the underside.
- Next, transfer to an ovenproof tray and pour the cooking juices from the pan over the meat. Cook in the oven for 10 mins for medium-rare (internal temp 55 – 57 C)
- Remove the beef from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for 10–15 minutes
- When ready to serve, remember to cut against the grain so you can see the short fibres. This means it won't be stringy and chewy.