For dinner recently I decided to take a little excursion to Sweden. Not literally of course, but culinarily. As much as I love cooking, sometimes you need to make something that provides maximum impact with minimal effort, and this is one such dish. Biff Rydberg is a Swedish classic and its name is said to originate from the now defunct, but once opulent, Hotel Rydberg in Stockholm, where it was probably first served.
In this dish, beef, potatoes and onions are cooked simply to remarkable effect. The original dish was also thought to include kidney from lamb, veal or pig, but this seems to have been dropped over the years. I like to add a dash of Worcestershire sauce to the beef to add a pleasing umami kick, while some people prefer to add a dollop of mustard- or horseradish-cream.
The only question left though is where to place that raw egg yolk you see in the picture above. Personally, I love squishing the yolk all over the potatoes, coating them in an unctuously smooth 'sauce.' Alternatively you can also mix everything together into a great big unholy mess. If raw egg yolk is not your thing then you can of course do as my wife, Mrs. Nibbler, does and place a fried egg on top instead. I promise I won't call you a wimp if you do. Honestly (ahem).
Prinsen restaurant, which has been a Stockholm institution for over 100 years.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 600g beef fillet, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 800g potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 4 egg yolks served in the shell (you can trim the edges of the shell with scissors to make it neater)
- 50g butter (and some oil) for frying
- A handful of chopped parsley
- Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to season
- Parboil the potatoes for 5 mins
- Melt 25g of butter in a frying pan and fry the potatoes over a low/medium heat for 15-20 mins. Season with salt. Don't move the potatoes around too much, you want a nice crisp crust to form. You may want to add a touch of oil too to stop the butter burning.
- While the potatoes are cooking, gently fry the onions with the remaining butter in another pan over a low/medium heat for 15 mins and season with a touch of salt. The onions should be soft and golden and just starting to caramelise.
- After the onions have been cooking for 7 mins, drizzle the beef with a touch of oil, season with salt and pepper and sear in (yet another) hot pan for 3-4 mins until cooked medium-rare. Let the beef rest for 5 mins on a warm plate.
- To serve, place separate mounds of beef, onions and potatoes on a warmed plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (don't leave this out, it adds a crisp freshness to the dish), and place an egg yolk in the middle. I also like to add a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce over the beef. Serve with an ice cold beer or a glass of Pinot Noir.