Angus beef bavette, pumpkin, caramelised witlof, maple syrup

Angus beef bavette, pumpkin, caramelised witlof, maple syrup

New Classics
Mark Roper

Once again I’m showing my love of heat with sweet. Black pepper encrusted steak was one of my mother’s signature dinner party dishes when I was growing up. I loved the way it shocked the taste buds but made your mouth water, enticing you to go back for more. The smooth sweetness of the maple-syrupy pumpkin also surprises and soothes after the peppery hit.


Quantity Ingredient
1 whole bavette steak, approximately 1.2 kg
1 kensington or hubbard pumpkin
200ml extra-virgin olive oil
200ml maple syrup
1 sprig rosemary
salt and pepper
6 witlof
black peppercorns, crushed roughly using a mortar and pestle
400ml Double chicken stock
1 tablespoon thickened cream
50g butter, plus an extra knob
100ml canola oil
100g pepitas, lightly roasted and salted
mustard cress, for garnish


  1. Clean any excess fat and sinew from the meat, then cut into 6 pieces widthways. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into quarters, scrape out the seeds and remove the skin. Reserve half for garnish. Cut the other half into chunks and toss with the extra-virgin olive oil, half the maple syrup and the rosemary. Put into a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20–30 minutes until the pumpkin is very soft and slightly caramelised. Remove the sprig of rosemary. Purée the pumpkin in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  4. Steam the rest of the pumpkin until just cooked, about 10 minutes – you should be able to pierce it easily with the tip of a knife but it should still be firm. Set aside.
  5. Trim the outer leaves from the witlof, if damaged. Split lengthways almost all the way through and fan out. Steam, cut side down, for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Season the beef well on all sides with salt and the roughly crushed black peppercorns.
  7. Put the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium–high heat. Reduce by half, add the cream and season well. Swirl in the butter.
  8. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over high to very hot. Sear the beef in half the canola oil on all sides, turning often, for 5–6 minutes for medium rare. Set aside to rest.
  9. Meanwhile heat another heavy-based frying pan and add the remaining frying oil and the 50 g butter. Place the witlof cut-side down and cook on high heat until they start to colour. Pour the rest of the maple syrup into the pan and reduce to a glaze. Flip the witlof onto a tray and, using the same pan and the extra knob of butter, colour the pumpkin pieces and warm them through well.
  10. To serve

    Put a spoonful of pumpkin purée on each plate and arrange the witlof and pumpkin on top. Carve each steak into three and add to the plates. Drizzle the sauce around then scatter over the pepitas and mustard cress and serve.
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