I try not to participate in many blog events, since about a third of my entries are already committed to Tuesdays with Dorie and the Daring Bakers. But Elly’s Eat to the Beat is such a great idea, and I thought it could be a fun way to meld my favorite hobby with Dave’s, which is music.
Dave learned to play guitar from his uncle, who plays lead guitar in this song. His best friend, Sid Faiwu, does the drums and synthesizer in this song. The three of them played together for years until Dave and Sid both moved away from their home town as well as from each other. Now they try to send around mp3’s of new songs, but that obviously doesn’t work well.
Dave wrote this song, Bustle, in grad school after a particularly stressful test. It’s one of my favorites. The song is very dark, and really not about food in any way. The only line that I could think to apply to food was “dripping red.” Because of the nature of the song, I wanted something that would look as bloody as possible. And what’s bloodier than red wine sauce dripping down animal flesh?
I know I’ve been overdoing the Cooks Illustrated recipes lately, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I turn to their recipes for classics, like this steak with pan sauce. I feel like their recipes are less mass-produced and therefore more carefully developed than a lot of those from the Food Network or epicurious. And I’m generally bad at cooking steak, so I needed as much detail as possible.
The steak came out really well. I only undercooked it a little, and at least I didn’t burn the outside like I often do. The sauce was good as well. I think next time I’ll reduce the sugar by half, but other than that, it was perfect with the steak. And it certainly looks as gory as the song sounds.
Pan-Seared Steak with Red Wine Pan Sauce for Two (from Cooks Illustrated)
CI note: Pan sauces cook quickly, so prepare the ingredients before you begin cooking the steaks. Use a heavy skillet with a nonreactive cooking surface.
Bridget note: I used strip steak, because it’s my favorite.
2 boneless 8-ounce rib-eye steaks or top loin steaks, 1 to 1¼ inches thick, thoroughly dried
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
¼ cup dry red wine , such as Cabernet Sauvignon
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1. Heat heavy-bottomed, 10-inch skillet over high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper.
2. Lay steaks in pan, leaving ¼-inch of space between each; reduce heat to medium-high, and cook without moving until well browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip steaks; cook 4 minutes more for rare, 5 minutes more for medium-rare, and 6 minutes more for medium. Transfer steaks to large plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
3. Off heat, add shallot and sugar to empty skillet; using pan’s residual heat, cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are slightly softened and browned and sugar is melted, about 45 seconds. Return skillet to high heat, add wine, broth, and bay leaf; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits on pan bottom with wooden spoon. Boil until liquid is reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Stir in vinegar and mustard; cook at medium heat to blend flavors, about 1 minute longer. Off heat, whisk in butter until melted and sauce is thickened and glossy. Add thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf, spoon sauce over steaks and serve immediately.