Cooking day in, day out can be boring and tiring. You can change this. You can create and enjoy your culinary experience as a home cook by experimenting with different kind of ingredients. Let’s begin with herbs! There are plenty of flavourful herbs you can use in cooking. While specific herbs pair beautifully with certain meat, what is the best herbs for beef?
Herbs and meat pairing is very subjective. It all depends on individual’s food palate. What tastes good for you may not be for him. Regardless, it is recognized that certain herbs pair wonderfully well with beef.
Today, you will get to know the best herbs to flavour your beef. Should you be using fresh or dried herbs? Read on…
Best Herbs with Beef
Beef is rich meat meaning it contains a lot of protein and fat. Thus, you need to use strong and savoury herbs to hold their own flavours. Else, the taste and aroma of the herbs are lost. However, always bear in mind that balance is the key to palatable dishes.
Here are 6 common cooking herbs to bring out the best of your beef dish while keeping the herbaceous tang.
Rosemary is known for its woody fragrance and has a minty, peppery, balsamic taste. It pairs wonderfully with heavy or greasy flavours of beef.
Add a few sprig of fresh rosemary when slow cooking beef and you will NOT be disappointed. Beef broth, stews and casseroles will taste delectable. Also, you can rub into roasts, steaks and cuts of beef for barbecuing.
Thyme is one of the more versatile herbs. Its sweet warmth and floral aroma make this herb an excellent pairing for all types of dishes, adding a touch of depth. When paired with beef, thyme rounds out the flavour of the meat with its lemony notes.
Try combining thyme, parsley, sage and garlic when making your ground beef. Similar to rosemary, thyme is great for making broth and slow cooking beef.
Even though sage is mostly used with poultry, it is delicious with beef. Fragrant and warm, it adds a bit of herbal flair to even the simplest beef dishes.
Try this Garlic-Sage Steak Topping from The Spruce Eats.
Most people think of parsley as a garnish. I am guilty of that too. This herb can add a lovely fresh flavour to any beef dish. It has a vibrant, aromatic flavour with a slightly lemony aroma.
You should add parsley towards the end of the cooking as heat can destroy the flavour.
If you fancy Korean cuisine, try this recipe - Parsley Peppercorn Beef Patties from Beyond Kimchee.
I love basil on almost everything. Simply toss onto green salad, soup or pasta and cooking any meat dishes.
Basil is a good herb to pair with beef because of its peppery and slightly minty flavour. It gives a nice savoury taste with a hint of minty coolness.
Similar to parsley, make sure to add basil last to retain its delicate flavour. Normally, I will only add basil upon turning off the heat. Give it a few turns and dish out.
A Thai food lover will surely love pad kra pao gai (Thai Basil Chicken). Using beef is just as tasty if not better. Follow this Thai Basil Beef recipe from The Woks of Life.
Oregano is the herb of choice when it comes to cooking Mediterranean beef dishes. It is earthy and strong to hold its own flavour easily.
Try this Slow Cooker Mediterranean Beef from Mom to Mom Nutrition. This dish uses oregano and basil, and the tender beef will fall apart easily in your mouth.
When buying your meat, do you believe in knowing where it is from? Wouldn’t you want to know how was it raised?
There is a difference between grass-fed beef and grain-fed. On top of that, grass-fed beef may NOT be grass-finished.
I understand you may find the terms confusing. Worry not.
In fact, you can buy 100% grass-fed finished beef online. At Farm Foods, you get to know the ranchers and their farms before ordering the various cut of meat.
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Now that you know what herbs is best for beef, how do you use them?
Fresh Herbs or Dried
While many chefs and experienced home cooks chose fresh over dried, you can use either.
Fresh herbs are flavourful and highly appreciated for their valuable nutrients and antioxidants. Not forgetting their medicinal values. Furthermore, they make beautiful garnishes and brighten up any dishes.
Dried herbs are more concentrated and potent, thus you will need to reduce the amount when substituting fresh with dried.
You need to know that dried herbs lose their flavour over time. Should your dried herbs have been on your spice rack for some time, you may have to measure out a bit more to make up for the flavour.
Always go slow, continuously taste your dish and adjust accordingly. You can add more but cannot take them out.
The general rule of thumb to substitute fresh herbs with dried is a ratio of three to one.
3 portions of fresh herbs = 1 portion of dried herbs
When to Add Fresh Herbs
Hard herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano should be added at the early stages of cooking to allow them time to infuse flavour into the dish, giving a subtle background note.
Use whole sprigs and gently bruise the leaves with your fingers to release more oils and increase flavours before adding to your beef stew, casseroles or roast.
Using whole sprigs allows you to take them out easily should you find them too intense. You certainly do NOT want one flavour to stand out too much.
Making a bouquet garni is an excellent way to use your fresh herbs for cooking stews, casseroles, soup and stocks. Learn more about bouquet garni.
Consider Growing Your Own Herbs
An indoor herb garden will give you continuous supply of fresh herbs all year round. Cutting sprigs of herbs and use them almost immediately ensures maximum flavour and nutrition. Also, avoid wastages as you are only cutting what is needed.
Buying fresh herbs from the grocery stores has a minimum amount to purchase. Therefore, you may end up with leftovers. Although you can store them for a few days, nothing beats using them fresh!
To Sum Up
Cooking can be fun! And I encourage you to experiment with various herbs to flavour your beef. The 6 common cooking herbs listed here are the best herbs with beef but there are others that pair just as well. For instance tarragon, marjoram and chives.
Rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano are hard herbs and these are mostly used when slow cooking beef such as stews, casseroles, roast and beef stock.
You may use each individually or combine them as a bouquet garni and add to your dish in the beginning of cooking. Using each individually allows you to recognize the aroma and taste if you have not known it already.
Basil and parsley are soft herbs and you do not want to lose their delicate flavours by adding them too early in the cooking process. Mostly used in quick cook such as stir-fry or adding them to ground beef for meatballs and burger patties. Also, make delicious steak toppings.
It is not a must to use fresh herbs. No doubt, I prefer using fresh, you may go with what you have.
I dislike wastages so I will still use my dried rosemary if fresh is not available. There is no point in buying fresh when you have dried unless there are other uses for them which you may want to know about.
Check out the below articles on ways to use your leftover fresh herbs.
Please Leave a Comment
Cooking with herbs is a great way to extra flavour to any dishes. I hope you like the herbs mentioned here.
So, how have you been cooking your beef? What other ingredients or herbs do you use? Let us know at the comments section below.
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From the Corner of My Home – Spice Up Your Life with Herbs and Spices
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