Friday, February 25, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Pan Seared NY Strip with Mushroom and Red Wine Sauce

From Debbie's Kitchen:

  • 2 boneless Grass-fed strip, rib eye, or filet steaks (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Pat steaks dry with paper towel. Cut each steak in half vertically to create four 8-ounce steaks. Season entire surface of steaks liberally with salt and pepper; gently press sides of steaks until uniform 1 1/2 inches thick. Place steaks on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet; transfer baking sheet to oven. Cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of steak registers 90 to 95 degrees for rare to medium-rare, 20 to 25 minutes, or 100 to 105 degrees for medium, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until smoking. Place steaks in skillet and sear steaks until well-browned and crusty, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, lifting once halfway through to redistribute fat underneath each steak. (Reduce heat if fond begins to burn.) Using tongs, turn steaks and cook until well browned on second side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer all steaks to wire cooling rack and reduce heat under pan to medium. Use tongs to stand 2 steaks on their sides. Holding steaks together, return to skillet and sear on all sides until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 steaks.
  • Transfer steaks to wire cooling rack and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes while preparing pan sauce. Arrange steaks on individual plates and spoon sauce over steaks; serve immediately.
Prepare all ingredients for the pan sauce while the steaks are in the oven. Once the steaks are done, tent with foil and prepare the sauce.
  • 1tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8ounces button mushrooms , trimmed and sliced thin (about 3 cups)
  • 1small shallot , minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1cup dry red wine
  • 1/2cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2tablespoons cold unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces
  • 1teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Pour off any fat from skillet in which steaks were cooked. Heat oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown and liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Increase heat to high; add red wine and broth, scraping bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Simmer rapidly until liquid and mushrooms are reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, mustard, and any juices from resting steaks; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in butter and thyme; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over steaks and serve immediately.
  • Adapted from Saveur Magazine

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tips for Cooking a Great Steak

From Debbie's Kitchen:

  1. Decide before you start cooking on how you want the steak done. A few people like "blue" steaks but most tend to prefer their steaks from medium rare to well-done. If you decide in advance, you're more likely to pay attention to it and remove the meat in time. A meat thermometer is one of the best kitchen tools for us omnivores.
  2. Give your meat time to come to room temp. When the meat hits the pan you don't what it to have cook longer to overcome the cold from the fridge.
  3. Dry the surface of the meat well with paper towels. Again, you don't want the oil in the pan to cool down from the moisture on the surface of the meat.
  4. Try to avoid turning the meat too many times. Ideally, you should have one flip — two at most. Resist the temptation to touch the meat too much.
  5. Use a set of tongs to turn the steak. Poking it with a fork puts holes in it and allows the juice to seep out — and then you're just asking for dry beef.
  6. Don't mash on the steak with your tongs. That's just as bad as poking it with a fork, and presses out all the juices. If you're testing for doneness, just gently press with the flat part of your tongs. The harder the meat is, the drier it will be.
  7. Give your steak at least 10 minutes rest before cutting. Put it on a plate or rack, tent it with foil and let it rest for a few minutes. You'll notice that a lovely juice oozes out as it settles which I like to use in my pan sauces.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cut of the Week: Thick Cut Steaks

From Debbie's Kitchen:

Whether you are trying to pan fry filets, rib eyes, NY Strips or chops of any variety it is important to know how to cook your steaks to retain all of the moistness and tenderness. The bane of all pan frying is the thick gray band of meat that is tough and chewy and depending on how much you overcook your steak determines how wide a band you end up with. You can't imagine how desperately I want to explain expanding and contracting proteins, retention of enzymes etc. but I will save that for another time. Suffice it to say that if you cut open your steak and find that treacherous gray band you can be certain that you are going to have to chew a little harder and you will certainly need to add a dollop or two of butter to replace some of the lost moisture.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Piccata

From Debbie's Kitchen:

This recipe is a real confidence builder; almost foolproof and very impressive. I have made it with both chicken and veal and it is absolutely delicious. I like to pound the meat with my French rolling pin to keep it nice and even. Keep tasting the sauce if you use organic lemons because the flavor tends to be stronger and deeper so you don't need as much.

This Italian dish illustrates the cooking technique known as pan frying. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are pounded into tender cutlets for even cooking and quickly pan fried. Then a flavorful sauce is prepared in the same pan.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each 8 to 9 oz., cut in half horizontally and pounded 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. capers, drained
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken in it. Shake off the excess.

In the nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Place 2 pieces of chicken in the pan and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter or individual plates. Warm the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in the pan and repeat to brown the remaining chicken.

Reduce the heat to medium and melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in the pan. Add the shallot and cook until softened and golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, lemon juice and broth, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining 2 Tbs. butter, the capers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and pass any remaining sauce alongside. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cut of the Week: Skinless, boneless chicken breast

Our customers tend to fall into two very distinct and separate groups of chicken lovers. They either cook chicken breast only and are intimidated by the idea of a whole chicken or, like Debbie, aren't excited at the thought of dry, tough chicken breast smothered in some sauce for flavor.

Debbie's thoughts on chicken:

And then Chicken Piccata! A chef in Indiana made it for me and I left with a new determination to conquer this fear of frying - pan frying that is. All my favorite things in one dish - chicken, wine, lemon and capers!! Need I say more?

What I needed to find out was how to keep my chicken from drying out and becoming tough. Most people tend to look to poaching or brining but I like the idea of pounding chicken breast to a thickness of 1/4" and very quickly pan frying.

While poaching works for some recipes I love the bits of caramelized crust left stuck to the pan that make your sauce or gravy have a depth of flavor that you just can't get any other way.

The trick to pan frying success is the thickness of the meat, making sure that the oil in the pan is very hot and only turning the chicken once. Also, using a heavy bottomed pan will keep the burning to a minimum.

It is also important not to crowd the pan or the flour coating will come off due to the steaming rather than frying of the meat.