After eating very light for the past week, mostly vegetables and salads, I thought I would like to make some meat last night. I went to the freezer and there I saw a package of beef. There were two sirloin steaks, about ½ inch thick and about 200gm each, and I knew they would hit the spot. I had some black pepper sauce, which I had made earlier, in the fridge. The sauce is actually very pasty when stored in the refrigerator and it keeps well. Then it can be brought out for just when you need it. I had most recently used it to sauce some crab claws I had made for a dinner during the holidays. The recipe is included below. Spying that at the same time that I found the steaks, I knew this was a perfect marriage for making something fast and simple. I decided to make black pepper steak, steamed broccoli, and boiled new potatoes tossed in butter with roasted garlic and parsley. I got all these ready in 45 mins, actually beating my own estimate of one hour.
To prepare the steak:
2 fully defrosted steaks, ½ thick, 200gms each, trim excess fat, if any. 1 tbs of the black pepper sauce (recipe below)
Marinate steaks in 1 tbs black pepper sauce, rubbing over both sides of both pieces of meat, and set aside. Rub a stove top ribbed grill with some vegetable oil and heat it up over a high flame, until quite hot. Lay the steaks on the grill and grill each side for about 2 mins for medium, depending on individual preference. Transfer to serving plate and allow to rest a few minutes.
To make the gravy:
1 heaping tbs black pepper sauce
½ cup milk 2 tbs blond roux*
kosher salt for seasoning
* Called blond roux, it is simply equal parts flour and butter blended together and used to thicken a sauce and enrich it. Heat a sauce pan on moderate heat and heat the sauce, stirring a bit until fragrant. Add ½ cup milk and mix well till sauce is well blended with milk. Thicken the sauce with roux, adding a bit at a time until gravy thickens . Season with salt to individual taste.
To make the basic pepper sauce:
Largely adapted from Chef Sam Leong's recipe
Good for 10 servings, keep balance in fridge for use later with some other dishes
30g (2 tbs) butter
15g (3-5 cloves) peeled and minced garlic
15g (2 rounded tbs) red chilies minced
200ml (4/5 cups) water
15g (2 1/2 tablespoons) ground black pepper
30ml (2 tbs) Maggi seasoning (available at Asian markets, can substitute with light soy sauce)
12 grams (1 tbs) icing sugar
1 tbs pear balsamic (other balsamic is fine)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
70g (1/4 cup plus 1 tbs) tomato paste
1 rounded tbs all purpose flour
Heat butter and sauté minced garlic. Add red chillies, mint leaves and water and bring to boil. Add all remaining ingredients except flour. Thoroughly mix flour with some water and stir into the sauce to thicken.
Ingredients for new potatoes:
20 small or 12 medium new potatoes, peeled and rinsed ice water (enough to cover potatoes in the pot)
2 tbs butter
1 tbs minced garlic
½ cup chopped parsley
black pepper and kosher salt for seasoning
Place ice water and potatoes into the pot and bring to boil. Cook potatoes till the skewer can just poke through. Drain and rinse briefly under tap water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside. Cook garlic in butter till golden and pour onto the potatoes. Toss with parsley, ground pepper and kosher salt until potatoes are evenly coated.
Stitch opened a bottle of Pinot Noir for our dinner that turned out to be quite a surpsrise. Here are his tasting notes:
Sybaris Undurraga Reserva Especial Pinot Noir - Chile
I opened and poured a glass and let it stand for 6-8 minutes to allow the cabinet chill to go off, and to let the wine breathe a bit. Great varietal nose, immediately attractive. I quickly poured the second glass for Quaypo and returned to the tasting. This bottle had been a dinner gift from friends during the holidays and I was unfamiliar with it. In the glass it displayed the classic red ruby color of a pinot noir. The wine had very round tannins that were soft on the palate. Rich blackberry with a finish closer to sweet ripe dark cherry but velvety throughout. I was really surprised by this one and hope I can find more. At approximately $18 dollars it is a bargain. It is a terrific wine for attracting new initiates to the glories of red wine. We had, in the past, thought not to add wine tasting notes to the dishes my lovely wife makes. But this one was exceptional.