Friday, January 11, 2008

Advice Gone Bad

Sometimes, being a trained cook (from a previous life) can get you into a little trouble. People ask your advice, and then you can't help giving it. When we are making "simple food" at home that does not take much time or effort, I want to shout if from the rooftops. "It's not hard to do, really. Just a few simple steps.........." I had a conversation at work with someone about pan frying steak. They were quite intrigued by the idea that you could make a good steak in a fry pan. I said that we pan fry steaks often in our house when going out to the barbecue does not seem like such a great idea. (6 months out of the year where I live) I gave advice about using a good pan. Then, about ensuring the heat was even. Then, I suggested "kicking it up a notch" by making a simple pan sauce for said steaks. I gave a brief overview of the concepts of the steaks and the sauce.

A few days later, I was approached with the reproach " steaks were good......pan sauce was awful". I felt bad.

To make amends, after I got home from work on Friday, I prepared a "panfried steak", and recorded the recipe to share.

Pan Fried Bison Tenderloin with a Red Wine Pan Sauce

2 -4 small tenderloin steaks
2-4 oz good red wine
1/2 shallot finely diced
Small clove of garlic, diced finely
Fresh thyme leaves.
1 oz of cold butter (optional)
2 oz Reduced Beef Stock (optional) (Homemade - unsalted)

Preheat a saute pan until hot. Make sure the pan is not too big or too small. A big pan will get too hot and a small pan will cool down to fast and will not sear the steaks. I used a 12 inch pan for 3 steaks. Pour in a small amount of oil. Sear your steaks on both sides until almost done. Adjust your heat so that your pan residue is not turning black. Remove your steaks from the pan, place in a small oven proof pan and finish them in a 375 degree oven. (probably 5 - 10 minutes)

Put a little more oil in your pan. Add shallots and garlic and stir around, dislodging the brown bits (fond) in the bottom of the pan. Saute until translucent. Add the wine, and stir up the bits some more and cook for a few minutes. The wine will reduce. If you use the higher volume of wine, let it cook longer to reduce. If you use the concentrated (reduced beef stock) you can add that now too. Let cook and reduce until almost by half. Add the fresh thyme and some salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Taste. You can add the optional butter at this time for some extra richness.

Remove your steaks from the oven and test that they are done to your taste. Place the steak on your plate and spoon about a tablespoon of sauce on each steak.

We served this with pommes frites and some sauteed zucchini and tomato. It was a nice little Friday night supper with a good Spanish Rioja.

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