When it comes to rich, savory flavors, there’s nothing quite like beef. It’s no secret that most of the iconic dishes that have become staples around the world have beef as their main ingredient. From steaks to barbecues and everything in between, you’ll find that beef is a culinary powerhouse that knows no bounds. This is evidenced by the fact that people around the world consume around 130 billion pounds of beef. The United States remains the leading consumer of beef in the world, with an annual consumption of over 30 billion pounds. What makes beef a favorite among so many people is probably its versatility and nutritional value, along with its great taste. Read on as we share the undeniably amazing beef dishes everyone must try.
1. Cube Steak with Gravy
Cube steak with gravy is a classic Southern comfort food that has made its way onto dinner tables across the world. This delicious dish offers a classic combination of steak and gravy, with the subtle, sweet, yet complex flavors in the gravy perfectly complementing the rich, hearty flavor of the steak.
Generally, the cube steak is a mechanically tenderized cut of beef, resulting in the classic cubed pattern of the steak. This tenderization process makes the meat easy to cook quickly, which is why it’s a great choice for busy weeknight dinners.
There are many ways this dish can be prepared, with many different yet delicious variations. There’s the classic southern cube steak, seasoned with flour and pan-fried until crispy. The gravy is usually made from the pan drippings. Another wonderful variation is that of mushroom gravy made with sauteed mushrooms. You can also try this cube steak and gravy recipe, accompanied by a caramelized onion gravy that coats the steak beautifully. This combination of the caramelized, aromatic onions perfectly balances the hearty meatiness of the steak, while the fruity, peppery notes of olive oil bring everything together.
2. Beef Stroganoff
Beef Stroganoff is a retro classic dish. This dish is a delightful combination of tender strips of beef clad in a creamy mushroom sauce and served over noodles or fluffy rice. The key to having perfectly tender and juicy beef in this dish is a good quality steak that’s nicely marbled with fat.
The beef stroganoff combines Russian tastes with French cuisine, having originated in Russia. Legend has it that it was first created by a French chef employed by the Stroganov family, with the first official recipe appearing in a Russian cookbook in 1871. Originally flavored with mustard, it was generally served with potatoes and adorned with a dollop of smetana (a type of sour cream). However, today, you’ll generally find it served with pasta, with many different variations. Mushrooms are also commonly found in a lot of variants of the dish, lending an earthy, musty flavor to the beef strips.
The Pot-au-Feu is a very traditional Provençal. Essentially translated to “pot on the fire,” it is a classic French stew. Originally a peasant dish, it is now emblematic of the French cuisine. The simplest of these recipes is prepared with root vegetables, thickened with marrowbone, and flavored with various herbs.
Generally, this dish is made with marrow bone and beef ribs, shank, and chuck. First, the beef is boiled for hours, with a bouquet garni, garlic, onion, cinnamon, peppercorns, etc. Then, the legumes and vegetables are added to the bouillon. Once cooked, the broth is filtered and separated. In some regions, pork tails may be added for taste. Finally, deglazing the pot with wine can truly elevate this rustic, old-fashioned meal.
This dish is served as a three-course meal; first, the broth is served as a soup. The vegetables and meat serve as the delicious main course, while the marrow may be served with croûtes as an appetizer or a side dish.
4. Beef Wellington
Beef Wellington has cemented its place in British fine dining. Because it’s considered a luxury dish, it can cost anywhere between $50 and $75 on average.
This dish consists of an expensive cut like the beef tenderloin, usually the filet mignon, that has been carefully seasoned and seared. It is then coated with a pâté de foie gras and duxelles. Before being baked, the steak is wrapped in flaky puff pastry, giving it its iconic presentation.
5. Korean Bulgogi
Whenever one talks of beef dishes, one simply cannot forget to mention barbecue. Bulgogi is a Korean gui, literally meaning “fire meat.” It is made of thinly sliced beef, accompanied by a nutty, flavorful sauce. Usually, the tender parts of meat are preferred for use in this dish, like the top sirloin and beef tenderloin.
To prepare this dish, you can either use pre-cut slices of bulgogi or cut the meat yourself. The marinade for this dish is probably where the most flavor comes from, with a blend of sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and finally, an apple or pear. Using an apple or pear is a nice and easy way to tenderize the meat. Some Koreans also use kiwi or pineapple for this purpose.
The bulgogi pairs well with ssamjang (Korean dipping sauce) and kimchi and can be served with rice or noodles, like many Korean dishes.
Beef dishes have a special kind of appeal for so many different people. The hardest part is probably choosing which dishes to eat, from steaks to stews and others in between. The presence of thousands of different variants of beef dishes across the world only proves the love people have for it. So, whether you’re a carnivore at heart or simply someone looking to indulge in an appetizing meal, these five amazing beef dishes are a must-try.