One of my favorite meals to eat is just a simple steak dinner. Of all the cuts, I have to say that I think my favorite of all is the rib eye. it has a little more fat than some other cuts, but this does help to give it tremendous flavor and when it is cooked just right it melts when you cut it. Serve it with a nice pan sauce and a couple of good sides and you can have an elegant meal any night of the week. I made some steaks last night when we had a friend visiting and chose to make some nice rib eye steaks I had picked up at. I just followed this simple recipe from Cook’s Illustrated and made a nice pan sauce to go on the side.
Simple Pan-Seared Steaks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 (8 to 10-ounce) boneless strip steaks or rib eye steaks, 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick
Salt and pepper
1 pan sauce recipe (to follow)
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper.
Lay the steaks in the pan, leaving 1/4 inch between them. Cook, without moving the steaks, until they are well browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the steaks and continue to cook until the meat registers 115 to 120 degrees (for rare) or 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare), about 3 to 7 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a serving platter and tent them loosely with aluminum foil to rest while you prepare the pan sauce, if using.
Very, very simple. My preference is always to cook the steaks to about medium so they are still nice and pink inside. Letting them rest while you make the pan sauce will help them come up to just the right temperature and doneness. This particular sauce I made does require a little preparation beforehand, so you can make the wine reduction earlier before you cook the steaks.
Red Wine Pan Sauce
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped fine (about 2 tablespoons)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 medium white mushrooms, chopped fine (about 3 tablespoons)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cup red wine
1 medium shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Ground black pepper
For the red wine reduction, heat the carrot, shallot, mushrooms, bay leaf, parsley and wine in a large nonstick skillet over low heat; cook, without simmering (the liquid should be steaming but not bubbling) until the entire mixture is reduces to 1 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and return the liquid (about 1/2 cup) to a clean skillet. Continue to cook the liquid over low heat, without simmering, until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Transfer the reduction to a bowl.
For the sauce, follow the recipe for the Pan-Seared Steaks, transferring the plate with the steaks to a 200 degree oven to keep them warm. To the same skillet used to make the steaks (do not clean the skillet or discard any accumulated fat), add the shallot and cook over low heat until softened, about 1 minute. Turn the heat to high; add the chicken and beef broths. Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the pan bottom with a wooden spoon until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 6 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low, gently whisk in the reserved wine reduction and any accumulated juices from the plate with the steaks. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until it is melted and the sauce is thickened and glossy; add the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve.
The red wine sauce for the steaks turned out very nice and adds some great flavor to the steaks. Of course, you can always skip the sauce completely and just go with the steaks, but I think it added something quite nice to the meal. I served the steaks with the fall vegetable risotto recipe I posted last week and some pan roasted asparagus and sautéed spinach, a recipe I will post later this week. For dessert that night, we also had the fallen chocolate cake that we have made before to completely round out the meal.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. I raided the freezer this weekend and took some things out to make this week, so look for recipes using wild salmon, pizza dough, Italian sausages, boneless chicken breasts and some spare ribs, among others. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!