To be honest, I was looking for something else when I happened upon a bone-in blade steak. But when I saw it, I instantly felt a challenge — it was the least expensive piece of beef I had ever purchased!
I took it home, read about it, and learned that a beef blade steak is really nothing more than a cut of beef chuck, available either bone-in or boneless. For most people it becomes a pot roast or a stew. I decided to bone it and prepare it as a roast.
After boning and trimming to remove the excess fat, the meat turned into three smaller pieces. I aligned the pieces and tied them together at 2-inch intervals to create a single piece of uniform thickness. The roast held together perfectly through the cooking process and after removing the string.
And this turned out to be one excellent roast! The final dish was such a pleasant surprise. It was pink all through the middle, full of flavor, and a perfect texture.
Root vegetables are a wonderful accompaniment. You can either roast them traditionally while the meat finishes cooking, or prepare them sous vide in advance and refrigerate until just before serving. The creamy Gorgonzola-flavored polenta brings all the elements of this satisfying winter meal together beautifully.
- Preheat the water bath to 134°F (57°C) for medium rare (pink middle throughout).
- If the blade steak has a bone, remove it and all visible outside fat. Bring the pieces together to form a roast of uniform thickness and tie firmly with butcher’s string at 2-inch intervals. This will help the roast retain its shape, even after cooking, while preventing excess shrinkage. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Place the meat in a large zip lock food bag but do not seal. Refrigerate while you prepare the other components.
- In a medium saucepan, reduce the stock with the dried morel mushroom, if using, until the liquid measures about ½ cup. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool. If using the morel, remove it from the stock, finely dice, and set aside to add to the other diced vegetables. Reduce the red wine vinegar to about 3 tablespoons, allow to cool, then add to the reduced stock. Add the tomato paste to the reductions and stir well to combine. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium sauté pan. Sauté the carrot, onion, celery, fennel, reconstituted mushroom (if using), orange peel, thyme, and garlic until lightly caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the prepared roast from the refrigerator and add the sautéed vegetables to the bag. Pour the reduction mixture into the bag and seal using the water displacement method.
- Cook for 24 hours.
- About 30 to 45 minutes before the meat is ready, cook the polenta according to the package directions. Add the cheese, stir to incorporate, then cover the pan and keep warm over very low heat while you prepare the sauce and finish the roast.
- Remove the meat from the water bath and strain the juices from the bag into a small saucepan. Scrape the vegetables from the meat and discard. Boil the cooking juices over high heat until reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce the temperature to low and add the vinegar. Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
- Heat the butter or oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and sear the tied roast, turning once, about 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and remove the string. With a sharp knife, cut the roast into three equal portions, trimming the ends if needed so the slices will lie flat. Place a pool of polenta on each serving plate. Top with a portion of the roast, then top the meat with an array of roasted vegetables. Drizzle the sauce over the meat and around the polenta and serve immediately.