Iberian Sirloin with Red Cabbage Jam and Morel Sauce

Solomillo Iberico con Mermelada de Lombarda y Salsa de Morillas

As you likely already know, we are enthralled by the recipes and photographs of Raul Carrera of El Oso Con Botas. Coming from a background in architecture, Carrera harnesses undeniable artistry when creating the visual and culinary compositions he publishes. His Iberian sirloin recipe is no exception. Inspired by recipes from Leonardo Di Vinci—specifically one for red cabbage jam— Carrera balances the fat and flavor of the beef and pork with aromatic citrus, the warming spice of cinnamon and clove, and the savory nutty flavor of morels drenched in wine and a whisper of walnut oil. It’s a dish that is staggeringly beautiful and well-deserving of center stage at any holiday table. (Carrera's recipe below has been translated from the original Spanish. Any information we added that differs from Carrera's original instruction is italicized)


 

This Iberian sirloin with red cabbage jam comes with its story under its arm, yes, and it is a story that begins in 2003. It was around that year when a good friend gave me a gift that at the time seemed like a real gem, It was nothing more and nothing less than a book entitled "Leonardo da Vinci's Cooking Notes" and which compiled recipes and cooking stories written, supposedly, by the very hand of the greatest Renaissance and Florentine icon of architecture, ingenuity and the arts of all times … Don Leonardo !!


At the time, I was so passionate about having the so-called "Romanoff Code" in my hands that I couldn't help but get more than one idea for my kitchen. That is how in 2003 I decided to make a sirloin steak with apple sauce and red cabbage jam for a cooking course. Leonardo's original jam was made with cabbage and was accompanied by rotten cow or dead lamb. It was a little-expected recipe that surprised our students at the time, now it probably wouldn't be so much.


Many years later, Eva from Bake-Street has invited me to participate in the challenge Who's coming to dinner? Patricia Sánchez and the diner who would have to put the boots was nothing more and nothing less than Leonardo de Vinci . At first I had planned to make him something with marzipan, one of his favorite ingredients and with which he supposedly built architectural models, but I had to change the script for more work-related issues and I decided to dust off that recipe from past years based on the polymath's cabbage jam Leonardo .


It was the opportune moment to tell the diner that after 468 years of his death an English couple, Shelagh and Jonathan Routh, had published a supposed compilation of their culinary writings and that I longed to know if everything they had written had any truth . On my table they were waiting for him eagerly to meet him: two books, a small one with a black cover -the supposed Romanoff codex- and a very large one with all his real work ... And I with his jam, but made with red cabbage, and as a garnish for a delicious Iberian sirloin with a morel sauce ( Morchella conica ), also known as morel.


Iberian sirloin with red cabbage jam

Ingredients:

For the red cabbage marmalade:

  • 500 g of red cabbage, finely julienned

  • 250 g of cane sugar

  • 125 g of rosemary honey

  • Zest of half an orange

  • Zest of half a lemon

  • 80 g of raisins

  • 250 ml of water

  • 250 ml of dry white wine

  • 150 ml of orange juice

  • A bay leaf

  • 3 cloves

  • A cinnamon stick

  • Juice of one lemon

  • a pinch of salt

For the Iberian sirloin:

  • 800 g of Iberian sirloin

  • 50 g of Iberian ham bacon chopped

  • One garlic clove

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Mild olive oil

For the shallots and morels sauce:

  • 105 g chopped shallots

  • 125 ml of Jerez wine

  • 20 g of dried morels

  • 400 ml of water

  • 250 ml of ham stock**

  • Walnut oil to emulsify

  • A few drops of Modena vinegar

  • Olive oil

(*notes and hints on the recipe can be found at the bottom of the page)


Directions:

For the red cabbage jam: Combine the julienned cabbage with the sugar, honey, citrus zest, raisins, water, wine, orange juice and spices—I like to wrap them in gauze— in a bowl . Mix everything very well and let it rest for a couple of hours. Once it has settled, add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt.


Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to a minimum, cover and cook for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until it reaches between 100 and 105º C. At this point, remove the jam from the heat and immediately transfer it into glass jars (you can sterilize them by boiling them for 11 minutes). Leave the jam to rest for at least seven days before starting to consume it.



For the Iberian sirloin: Cut the sirloin into cubes - between 100 and 125 grams each. Sauté the ham, bacon, and a clove of garlic, sliced in half, in olive oil. When the pan is very hot, add salt to the bottom of the pan, and roast the cubes of sirloin at a very high temperature, first standing and then turned onto their sides. Once the sirloin has browned, remove the sirloin and transfer to a dish and keep warm (do not wash the pan but remove excess oil, bacon, and garlic).


four sirloin cubes sear in a hot cast iron pan on a stove.
Photo by Raul Carrera


For the shallots and morels sauce: Put the morels in a bowl and cover with the 400 ml of hot water. Leave to soak for half an hour, drain and pass the water through a cheesecloth - do not throw away the water as it will be used to make the sauce.



In the same frying pan for roasting the sirloins - do not clean it, just remove the excess fat, the garlic and the bacon - sauté the shallots and, when they are translucent, add the sherry wine along with the morels. Wait for all the wine to evaporate then add the ham stock and the reserved water used to hydrate the mushrooms.


Allow the liquid to reduce then remove four morels—the most beautiful ones to be used for decoration when plating. Transfer the remaining morels and liquid to a blender and, while blending, slowly pour in a thin thread of walnut oil to emulsify the sauce.


Pour the sauce into a double-bottomed casserole, return it to a boil and, if it is very liquid, reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon. Season the sauce with salt, freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of sugar and a couple of drops of Modena vinegar.



To serve the Iberian sirloin with red cabbage marmalade: Fill the bottom of a plate—better if it is a bowl—with sauce, set one or two cubes of sirloin in the center, place a little red cabbage jam on top—you can also embellish it with chopped walnuts or fried shallots—and finish by laying a whole blood sausage on one side and add drizzle of walnut oil.





*Some useful tips:

  • If you can't find morels, you can substitute Boletus edulis .

  • **The ham stock is made by sautéing a piece of ham, two shallots, a mirepoix (carrot, celery and leek), 125 ml of brand and red wine and water. Make a broth that has to reduce a lot, at least five hours.

  • The Iberian ham bacon is neither the Iberian bacon nor the bacon that is added to the stew. Iberian ham bacon is the excess fat that is removed from a cured Iberian ham (pata negra). If you go to the butcher's shop first thing in the morning you can order it from them, many times they give it to you because very few people use it.

  • The sirloin can also be roe deer, but it should be marinated the day before in wine and herbs.