Monday, March 10, 2008

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

If you asked most children what their favorite food was, what do you think they'd say? Pizza? Mac and cheese? Chicken fingers? Hot dogs? I was a bit of an odd bird as a kid (and possibly as an adult, too) and wanted nothing more than a steak and a salad. Even though I actually ate pretty much anything you tossed in front of me, my all time favorite meal (especially when we ate out) was always a perfectly cooked steak and a plain side salad. Seriously. I know it's simple, but I also think it's surprisingly hard to come by these things done right these days. Unlike my childhood of the 80's, these days most restaurants tend to overcook my steak in the name of "public health" or have some psycho chef that insists the meat be prepared to his desired doneness (I'm looking at you, BLT Burger and Resto). As a result, it's on rare occasion that I bother to order a steak when eating out.

And frankly, why bother, when it's so easy (and soooo much cheaper) to prepare a steak properly for yourself at home? Most steaks are just quickly grilled, broiled, or pan fried, and topped with a fairly quick pan sauce, so why bother paying for the mark-up of eating them in a restaurant? I always have a steak or two in the fridge and several in the freezer in anticipation of late nights at the office. This week in particular, talk of Paris had me craving a nice medium rare steak with a red wine sauce. I've been making the same one for years, chock full of onions and fragrant with the scents of oregano and rosemary. It only just occurred to me that it also contains more butter than I'd care to mention. So, I decided that I would reformulate it to be slightly left of healthy.

The butter was more than just delicious, it was also compensating for all of the acidity in the wine, so I not only cut the amount of butter, but I also cut the total quantity of wine in half and replaced it with beef broth. This way, the sauce was still deliciously robust, but less likely to kill me with every spoonful. I was also looking for a sauce that would complement the steak without overpowering it, so I swapped the onion for their milder cousin, the shallot. It turned out great, and I even used the leftover sauce to make a vinaigrette for my lunch the next day. Here's what I came up with:

Red Wine Shallot Sauce

2 large shallots, thinly sliced into rings
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cup red wine
1 3/4 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp butter

1. Sauté shallots in olive oil over medium heat until caramelized, 7-10 minutes. Turn heat to high and add red wine to deglaze pan. Cook until reduced by half. Add broth, oregano and thyme and also cook until reduced by half.

2. Check for seasoning then remove pan from flame and stir in butter until melted. Serve over steak. Enjoy!


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