Friday, September 25, 2015

Coffee-Rubbed Cowboy Steaks with Chocolate Stout Pan Sauce

Red meat, anyone? Yes, please! Salads and roasted or grilled vegetables are undeniably healthy and tasty, and appear daily on my plate, along with some chicken or fish for protein. But every now and again I really crave beef. Visions of juicy chile cheeseburgers and thick well-marbled steaks dance in my brain. Even a well-flavored meatloaf sounds good. Okay, not as tempting as a perfectly cooked steak, but meatloaf does occasionally call my name. 

This week Food52's spicy Coffee-Rubbed Cowboy Steaks with Chocolate Pan Sauce hit the plate. A really good steak doesn't need much beyond salt, pepper and a quick sear over high heat to provide a tasty entree. But, when you begin with a rub packed with intense, tongue-tingling flavors and then finish with a rich, velvety pan sauce... oh! my! it makes the taste buds sing "hallelujah" with each bite. Yes, it was that good.

Hil took over dinner prep, with RL shining as salad-maker and #1 assistant. Me? I parked my crutches and sat at the kitchen table, sipping a cup of tea, while that cheery duo dealt with dinner prep. The aroma of warming spices and coffee was the first indication that dinner would be flavorful. Initially the familiar aroma of coffee filled the kitchen, with cumin and smoked paprika barely noticeable, but the scent of spices became more pronounced when the meat was seared over high heat. A meat thermometer helped achieve the desired level of doneness, medium-rare for this crowd. Removed from the oven at 120-125 degrees f,  the steaks were a perfect medium-rare after resting while the pan sauce was prepared.   

Photo: Checking the steaks for "doneness"
The steaks would have been a hit straight from the oven, but the pan sauce with a chocolate stout reduction and a dollop of butter added an amazing finishing note. It will be fun in the future to play with different flavored beers, spirits and herbs to see how much that changes the taste. We are definitely going to enjoy this preparation again. Thank you Hil, RL and Food52.   

Photo: Ready to reduce the pan sauce liquid by 50%
Spicy roasted cauliflower florets and a Greek salad provided some welcome crunch and healthy vitamins to the dinner, proving almost as popular as the rubbed and sauced slices of steak... almost. This was definitely a dinner to remember, and to repeat.  

Coffee-Rubbed Cowboy Steaks with an optional Chocolate Stout Pan Sauce

recipe from the Food52 Cookbook and online blog

serves 2-3

2 New York steaks, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
1 tablespoon ground coffee (not powder or instant)
1 tablespoon sea salt (less if you use table salt)
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 cup chocolate stout (taste test to find one you like)
1/2 cup beef stock
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon vegetable oil to oil the pan
  1. Mix together the coffee, salt, paprika, black pepper, pepper flakes and cumin. Toast lightly in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Empty immediately into a small bowl to stop the cooking. Mix the spices and brown sugar to make the rub.
  2. Spread the rub all over the steak and let sit for awhile, at least an hour but overnight is better. If you hold it in the fridge, be sure to bring the meat up to room temperature before cooking.
  3. Adjust an oven rack so the meat will be roughly 6 inches below the broiler element; preheat the broiler.
  4. Heat a cast iron pan until it's really really hot ("a drop of water flicked into the pan should sizzle and bounce"). Add vegetable oil, wait a few seconds to heat up the oil, then carefully place the steak in the pan. Leave it undisturbed for 3-4 minutes to brown the bottom. 
  5. Then move the pan to the oven and place it under the preheated broiler; broil to medium rare (about 125 degrees F) or desired doneness.  Transfer the steak to a warm plate or platter, tent with aluminum foil and let it rest while you prepare the sauce.
For the sauce:
  1. Pour the chocolate stout into the skillet and stir over medium-high heat, scraping up all of the brown bits as you deglaze the pan. 
  2. Add the thyme and the beef broth; whisk together and reduce by half over medium heat. Whisk in the butter. Taste and adjust seasonings.

  3. To serve:
    Slice the steak across the grain and drizzle a bit of sauce over top. Serve the extra sauce in pitcher or small bowl.

1 comment:

  1. All chocolate stouts do not taste the same from the bottle/can, and especially after heating. We felt Young's Double Chocolate Stout had a slightly bitter aftertaste when reduced, but a dollop of honey and a bit of butter transformed the pan sauce into a delicious treat.


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