The Perfect Steak...

I feel bad doing this, really I do.

It's just that I know you're going to be hungry by the end of this post. More than hungry, you'll downright be salivating. Now while I'm aware that many of you really have no interest in these cooking tutorials, I must move onward. My future audience is depending on me. Who knows what will come of this most spectacular sustenance?

* Some random dude could win over his future bride.
* Angsty teenagers could be restored to their parents.
* Poor, unassuming vegetarians could have their beliefs destroyed by this nourishment.

The possibilities are endless.

The story goes a little something like this:

It all started last Thursday. I had most of my jobly duties wrapped up for the day and I decided to make the trek out to Jungle Jim's. (I just made up the word "jobly" but you knew exactly what I was taking about, therefore, it works.) Jungle Jim's International Market is an amazing place for a foodie like me. It's filled with all the strangest food fare as well as gourmet stuff and really, really hard to find ingredients. It's always fun to travel out there. I spend way too much money and I start to feel better than Food Network Chefs when I'm's really not good for my prideful nature.

Anywho...they had Kobe beef on sale. Holy Moley I've been waiting for this!! Kobe beef is typically for sale in the $20/lb and up range...a little too pricey for a mere clergyman like me. This time though, it wasn't 25 bones a pound. It was on sale for $16.99/lb. This is big news to a foodie. Oh man, I just might get to try some Kobe beef.

You see, Kobe is known for it's marbling. Marbling means flavor...major flavor. This is sought after stuff. $16.99/lb means I can grab a 12oz chunk for Allison and I to try without breaking the bank. Good things come to those who wait:

We'll get started by allowing this puppy to come to room temperature. You know how you feel when it's freezing and you try to jump into a hot shower? It makes you all tense and stressed out because your body isn't ready for all that heat. A better way to do it is to adjust the heat little by little to acclimate yourself to it. The same needs to happen with a piece of meat.

We're going to get this beef closer to the temperature of the hot pan it'll be tossed into and that will allow the meat to stay relaxed, aka tender. 45 minutes on the counter top should do the trick.

Hello lover.

Is anyone curious what will be singing back-up tonight? Fresh Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Couscous...oh my.

Now while the steak is resting, let's learn a little trick the French refer to as Beurre Manié.

Beurre Manié [Burr Mahn Yay] is very simple. Start with equal parts butter and flour:

...and massage them together into a ball. We'll get back to that later.

During our steak's sabbath I would also like to get my pan sauce ready. This would come in until later, but I might as well get it ready now eh? Poor planning prevents proper performance...or something like that.

I'm starting with about a cup of water and I'll add about 1/4 cup of leftover red wine to that. The wine is totally optional.

And then I'm going to add about a tablespoon of some good Sherry Vinegar because I'm obsessive and I can't ever just leave things alone.

Now we're ready. Let's get a good stainless steel pan smoking hot. NOT Non-Stick...this won't work quite right with Non-Stick pans. Don't you can see from the black marks in my pan, I've done this before. Turn your burner up all the way for about 3 minutes...that'll get her nice and sizzly. <---look a new word! Preheat the oven to 400º'll need it soon.
While our pan is heating up we're going to need to rub a thin coat of a highly heat tolerant oil on our steakie. This would be something like canola oil rather than something with a low smoke-point like olive oil. Just a little dab and then even it out with your hands.

Once our beef is glistening with a wee bit of oil we can season it with some salt and pepper. Kosher salt...check. Fresh ground pepper...check. Cover this meat hunk liberally.

Meanwhile, on another burner far, far away: There are some mushrooms getting a nice sauté about them. We'll be using them babies for our sauce. Make sure that pan doesn't go anywhere...we'll be needing it soon.

The moment of truth! Drop that steak into the pan and whatever you do don't move it! You're going to want to fool around with it and make sure that it's not sticking...resist the urge. The only way that steak won't stick is if you let it sit there and form a crust. Yes...there will be some smoke.

Let it sear for about 2-3 minutes for a steak this size and then flip it over. Mmmm...

Something is starting to look tasty. I let it sear on this side for right about 2 minutes. I always do a little less time on the second side because the meat has now warmed up and we don't want it to get overdone.

On a big fat guy like this I grab the tongs and stand the steak up on it's side to form a crust around the perimeter of the beef. Perimeter of the beef...what the heck is wrong with me?
30 seconds will do.

Now pop that bad boy on a plate and let it sit there to think about what it's done.

At this point you should have one very hot pan minus one beautiful piece of cow. Let's dump in our water/wine/vinegar combo to deglaze the pan. Whoa!

Mix it all around and scrape the bottom of that pan to get all those flavor bits off. I think they're called fond or something like that...anyway, scrape away with a spoon and let it reduce down to thicken.

I tossed the sautéed 'shrooms in there. They're part of the sauce and I also need the pan they're living in. Mushrooms are like sponges. Once they're added I expect the sauce to get a bit thicker.

Now that we have a free pan I think I'll plop my steak into the oven to finish cooking. 5-7 minutes at 400º should do nicely. This is why metal handles are nice on good cookware.

Okay so after a couple of minutes simmering away the sauce is still a bit to thin for my liking. Remember that little French ball of butter and flour? Drop it in there. Stir.

Now we're talking! So rich, so thick!

After removing the steak from the oven it's important to give it about 4 or 5 minutes of resting time. This will allow the juices to spread throughout the meat without running all over the place when you cut it open. Speaking of cut it open...let's do that shall we? *faints*

Once you've come to the realization that you've created a masterpiece it's time to slice up the steak and surround it in something to catch all the stray flavors. Couscous is a wonderful vehicle.

Add the thick mushroom sauce and a gorgeous vegetable and you're on your way to being the next top chef wherever you're from. Oh my gosh I'm starving.

The aftermath:

3 waggish utterances thus far...:

Helen Ann said...

You might have had a chance to persuade this unassuming vegetarian if it weren't for the close ups of the raw meat...Ack! Death! ;-)


Ryan Allen Doan said...

that looks so awesome

ginny said...

I'm going to have to try the butter/four ball. I've never heard of that before! And the steak looks delicious. How do you cook conscious?