Remember Kid 'N Play? Did you know Kid is a comedian now? I saw him on that Byron Allen show, Comics Unleashed. He told this joke about how his girlfriend calls herself steak and lobster. She said that when you go to the grocery store, you see Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, Chicken Helper, but you don't see any Steak Helper or Lobster Helper. Because steak and lobster "don't need no help!"
I'm making steaks this week. Juicy, succulent, beautifully marbled, Butcher Box steaks!
Because of the things I learned making Hello Fresh meals, I’m no longer against cooking steaks on the stove. You see, we live in an apartment, so we don’t have a grill. It also gets pretty expensive and inconvenient to grill outside in the winter, anyway, so we don’t plan on buying one. I know…you may be screaming at your computer screen right now. I’m aware of the broiler and I used to broil steaks for my grandparents in their gas oven. I use an electric oven now and it’s just not the same. I really just don’t care for broiled steaks in my current oven.
But searing them on the stove is a whole different story. You see, Hello Fresh taught me how to make a number of pan sauces that make the steaks really pop. I’ve grown comfortable enough with pan sauces that I’ve stopped following recipes and just started throwing stuff together.
When cooking, the first thing you must do is mise en place—or, make sure you have everything in place. The right equipment is essential. I will only use my ceramic-coated non-stick frying pan for steaks. I would never, ever use an aluminum or Teflon coated pan for something that I know I want to burn a little bit. Well, I don’t own any Teflon, actually; most of my pans are stainless steel. They rarely get used, though, as I tend to only cook with the same pan every night.
The right ingredients are also essential. You don’t want to be digging through the cabinets, looking for something, while you should be doing something with the food you’re partway through cooking. Pull out everything you’ll need before you start cooking and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble. Wash your produce and herbs. Get your chopping done before the stove is even turned on. Because I’m betting that if you’re cooking steaks, it’s not the only thing you are cooking. Do yourself a favor and make a game plan to save yourself some headaches—or worse, burnt food—later.
I usually keep it simple—steak and potatoes with some kind of vegetable. This time, I did sweet potato fries in the oven with corn. Easy prep work. Wash and peel potatoes, slice into sticks, and season with olive oil, Falksalt, and pepper, then bake for a while until they’re finished. Turn them after fifteen minutes, then guage how long they might have left. I only bake on parchment paper. You should never bake on foil. I only use foil to tent over things I'm trying to keep warm for a while.
To prep the steak, I just rinse it, pat it dry, and season it with salt and pepper. Of course, I only use Falksalt in my kitchen. It’s just tops, man.
I heat the frying pan over medium for about a minute to a minute and a half. I want to feel a little bit of heat coming off the pan when my palm is held level with the rim. The pan gets pre-heated because it needs to be hot without burning the oil. Once the pan is warmed and making its way toward hot, I’ll drizzle a swirl of olive oil in there so it can heat up, too. If the oil starts to smoke, lift the pan off the stove, swirl it to spread it, set it back down, and add the seasoned steaks. You don’t want it to smoke, though. You want to find the sweet spot right before that, where it’s good and hot, but not burning yet. The steaks should sizzle as soon as they hit the pan. You want to get a good sear on there to lock in the flavor and juices.
Let the steak cook for at least a few minutes before you flip it so that it has time to brown. I usually flip mine several times. Never turn small steaks--like sirloin--in their own footprints, though. Meaning, if you first placed them at 6 and 12 o'clock in your pan, flip them to sit at 3 and 9. The pan will be hotter where it didn't just have food cooking, so it'll give you a better sear on your steaks.
These steaks from Butcher Box are so freaking thick. I have learned that I usually have to sear the sides, too. But it's cool, man. It just means more flavor. I love it when the pan starts to burn and I can swirl the steaks around, rubbing all that charred, flavorful, goodness all over my meat. YUM!
I’m trying to cook one steak well done and one steak medium, so I'll usually press the thinner one a bit and move the medium steak to a cooler part of the pan. Once they’re cooked, though, I’ll sprinkle a little bit of smoked Falksalt on them, tent them with foil, and get started on my sauce.
Let's get saucy!
I’ll add a bit more olive oil to the pan, then toss in one chopped shallot half. Depending on what kind of potatoes I made, maybe I’ll throw a little bit of minced garlic in there after the shallots have started to cook. When the shallots are translucent and fragrant, I’ll add about a tablespoon of some fresh herbs. I like rosemary, thyme, and tarragon, but I usually use just one or two of them at a time. It only takes a few seconds for the herbs to wilt.
That’s when I’ll add some vinegar. Not much—about two or three tablespoons. If I’m using thyme and/or tarragon, I’ll use white wine vinegar. If I’m using rosemary, I add balsamic vinegar. By this point, I'm working with a rubber spatula and I use it with the vinegar to deglaze the pan—to get all of those burnt bits off the bottom of the pan and melted down into flavor for the sauce. Since vinegar is a fully edible cleaning agent, it works wonderfully for this purpose. And because I cook the vinegar down to almost nothing, you can’t even taste it in the sauce.
This is the point where you’ll want to add half a cup of water and some beef stock concentrate. I recommend a low sodium variety, otherwise, the sauce can get a bit salty. You CANNOT use powdered bouillon or bouillon cubes. It must already be some kind of liquid or paste to dissolve into the water. Stir to mix well and boil until it is reduced by half. At this point, I call it finished, though some of the sauces Hello Fresh had me make added butter or sour cream at the end to make the sauces thicker, richer, and more flavorful. I don’t add these. We don’t need the fat.
We might be eating red meat a few times a week now instead of a few times a month like we used to, but I think we can still maintain a balance and have healthy diets that include the delicious, incredible meats from Butcher Box. And this steak, you guys...Oh my God, these steaks are by far the best I've ever had. It's like cutting through butter. The meat just melts in my mouth, which is not something I'm accustomed to, ya know? They are thick, tender, and juicy. I am in love with this meat! Just thinking about it as I write makes me miss the taste and texture of it on my tongue, even though dinner was just a few hours ago.
I can't possibly convey how much you, too, will want this meat in your mouth if you give it a try. Buy from Butcher Box and tell them I sent you. Click here and it'll take you right to the sign-up, while also telling them I sent you. It's worth it, I swear.
Let me break it down for you. In the small box, you pick six varieties of meat. Three basic and three premium cuts of meat. They carry organic chicken, heritage pork, and grass-fed beef. For the basic, I got three pounds of boneless/skinless chicken thighs, a whole chicken, and a pound of premium steak tips. For the premium choices, I got two ten-ounce NY strip steaks, a 1.5-pound tri-tip, and four six-ounce sirloin steaks. The price was $149, but if you click my link, you get $10 off, a free package of bacon, and two filet mignon steaks. That's over thirty servings of meat. It works out to LESS THAN FIVE BUCKS A SERVING! I mean, seriously...where the fuck are you going to get NY strip steaks for ten dollars? Nowhere else. At least, nowhere else is going to have meat this good for this cheap.
Next week, I’ll talk about the chicken they sent me. I can’t freaking wait!