It’s Winter. Let’s Make Steak
We’re already suited up for Super Bowl in our house, but until Sunday when we break out all that amazing touchdown-worthy food and get a good laugh (or maybe a sentimental tear) from the commercials, we really love a good steak. Medium rare. Juicy. Caramelized outside. Pretty in pink inside. My husband, a true carnivore in every sense of the word and I don’t always agree on the definition of a good meal but when it comes to steak, we’re on the same
plate page. Even though we’re in the throes of winter here in Michigan, we still get cravings for a delicious steak dinner hot-off-the-grill. I can easily picture myself outside, the sun warming my skin, the smell of fresh-cut grass, a dog barking, a goose honking ~ but my reality is knee-deep snow and temps in the teens. When I get these cravings, I make It’s Winter. Let’s Make Steak, an easy recipe for steak made completely indoors and so delicious, you won’t even miss the grill marks.
No need to shovel snow off your grill or blow warm air into your hands to thaw them with this recipe. No freezing your you-know-what off. I love the grill ~ it’s no longer a “man appliance” ~ and it makes the most delicious summer-inspired food, plus no clean-up — but trust me on this one. Take advantage of this easy to follow recipe inside your own kitchen and you’ll find yourself uncorking a bottle of your favorite red and devouring this delicious steak in no time. It’s Winter. Let’s Make Steak.
Here’s the grocery list:
- Mushrooms (clean and cut in half ~ about 1/2 pound for 2 steaks)
- 1 small onion (quartered)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Coarse sea salt (not kosher)
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Olive oil
- Butter (the real stuff)
I’ll warn you, your house IS going to be a bit smoky by the time you’re done searing. This is where the caramelization happens ~ the thing you want most in life (when it comes to steak anyway). You may even set off the smoke alarm if yours is as sensitive as mine. It’s worth it. Go forth. . .conquer the steak.
First things first. Buy the steaks. I like New York Strips. My husband prefers Rib Eye. See what I mean – we have different tastes. Actually, I really love beef tenderloin — as a roast or cut into steaks — sooooo lean and so good. We have an ongoing ‘discussion’ in our house about the value of marbling in steaks. I know it’s necessary so the steak is juicy, but don’t you just love beef tenderloin with literally NO fat? Beef tenderloin doesn’t say he-man though. I’m fairly certain cavemen weren’t gnawing it a gazillion years ago. Don’t ask me how I know this. I just do. But I like it anyway. Today I’m
grilling roasting bone-in ribeyes. Why bone-in and why ribeye? Because they were recommended by my butcher AND they were on sale. . .and because they were on sale, I splurged on a bottle of wine that was a bit more than I typically spend on a bottle. Cheers!
Make sure the steaks are at least 1″ thick. Unwrap them from their butcher paper or whatever is confining them at least an hour beforehand and leave them on a plate in the refrigerator – uncovered – in all their naked glory. This helps get the moisture off the surface and will lead us on the road of our ultimate goal. . . caramelization. About 30 minutes before you’re going to start cooking the steaks, take them out of the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter to come to room temp.
Let’s get cooking. . .
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Using a couple of paper towels blot the steaks on all sides. When you think they’re completely dry, get another paper towel and blot them one last time. I’m always surprised that last bit of moisture is still there.
Season the steaks on both sides. No fancy spices here — just some coarse sea salt (don’t bury them in salt, but don’t be shy about it either – a nice rain) and some fresh cracked black pepper. And don’t be shy about the pepper either. These are the only seasonings and the steaks are thick, so you want to make them count. Press the salt and pepper into the meat using your fingers.
If you read my post on Pan Seared Sea Scallops you know that in some things, I am a purist. I
advised begged you not to baconize your scallops and now I’m going to advise beg you not to empty your spice rack onto these pageant worthy steaks. Salt and pepper. The End.
Start a large, oven-safe skillet heating ~ and I do mean heating ~ on the stove on its way from zero to H.O.T. That takes about 5 minutes over medium-high to high heat. Once the skillet is hot, lightly drizzle some olive oil into the pan – about 1/2 – 1 tablespoon, depending on the size of your skillet. You want a small amount of oil in the pan, so the steaks will sear. Tilt the pan, allowing the oil to move around the skillet. When the oil begins to smoke, gently add the steaks to the pan. You should hear ssssssssssssss. A truly lovely sound.
Sear the steaks for 3 minutes per side. I literally set a timer for this, which probably speaks volumes about my attention span ~ oh – and resist the urge to walk away or multi-task at this point (experience speaking). This is the hardest part of this whole recipe. Don’t peek or flip it back and forth. You want a nice, deep golden crusty brown ~ caramelization.
Once seared, top each steak with a pat of cold butter. The real stuff. No margarine please. Load the skillet into the oven. Roast 4-7 minutes. This time will vary with your oven and the exact thickness of your steaks, but for medium-rare (my personal preference) you’ll want to see 125° on an instant-read thermometer inserted sideways into the meat. Begin checking at the 4 minute point. If your smoke alarm hasn’t gone off yet, you may want to check the batteries. Kidding/Not Kidding. Transfer the steaks to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let them rest 10 minutes.
Though the steaks are resting, you will not be – yet. In the same pan you just took the steaks out of, add another drizzle of olive oil and a pat of butter. Over medium heat, drop the mushrooms and onions into the pan. Season with pepper only. Sauté the mushrooms and onions about 3 minutes adding color to them. Add the Worcestershire sauce (one quick turn around the pan) and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking about 5 more minutes.
Did someone say side dishes?
Now maybe at this point, you’re thinking ~ whaaaat? Just mushrooms for my side dish? I love side dishes as much as I love the steaks. You too? I don’t really count the mushrooms as a side dish any more than I count ketchup as a side dish to french fries. They just go together. . . like Laverne and Shirley.
As far as side dishes go, I will often roast whatever fresh vegetables I have on hand – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. Remember, it’s still winter, so sweet corn on the cob is a distant memory. Roasting is my favorite way to eat veggies — just a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. A few minutes in a 400° oven brings out all their delicious flavor! I also like a big baked potato with my steak ~ just like the ones served in a restaurant. Wendi at http://Loaves and Dishes has you covered with her Perfect Steakhouse Baked Potato. I urge you to try it. As a heads-up, Wendi says this classic potato will take about an hour all told, so you’ll want to start it well in advance of It’s Winter. Let’s Make Steak.
It’s Winter. No problem. Let’s Make Steak.