Pan-Seared Steak with a Bourbon Cheese Sauce and a Fried Egg on Top

J – Like all good, red-blooded Americans (and most other humans) I love steak. A good steak is a thing to be marveled at. Growing up in the South, I’ve always been told that the way to cook a steak is on the grill, and to cook it rare or medium-rare (relevant King of the Hill scene) – anything else is a waste of good meat. However, our good friends gave us an Alton Brown cookbook for Christmas, and in it we found a method for making steak that piqued our interest. When we got a couple of really excellent pieces of meat from Friends & Farms a little while back, we decided to give it a shot.

IMG_7176 So the basic method needs only the following: a large oven-safe skillet (we used our cast-iron skillet and it was perfect), a kitchen timer, a colander + a pot lid big enough to cover it, your stovetop, and an oven pre-heated to 500 F. Oh, and two steaks – 1-1/2″ thick ribeyes are best, about 15-16oz each. For the sauce, if you choose to make it, you’ll need either cognac or bourbon (your choice; I used some bourbon and it was delicious), a crumbly cheese (I used goat cheese but blue cheese would work very, very well too), and two tablespoons unsalted butter.

Put the skillet in the oven as it heats. Once the oven reaches 500 F, leave the skillet in there for about 5 minutes, then move the skillet (carefully) to the stovetop on high heat. Leave it on the stovetop on high for another 5 minutes, then (carefully) place your seasoned (salt + pepper + some oil on all sides) steaks on the hot pan. Cook for 30 seconds (time it with the kitchen timer), flip with tongs and sear for another 30 seconds on the other side. When the timer goes off the second time, place the skillet in the 500 F oven for 2 minutes. Flip the steaks one more time and leave in the oven for the final two minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the oven and place on a heat-safe surface (I pulled one of the guards off the stovetop and put it on there). Remove the steaks to the colander and place them at an angle such that the steaks don’t lie on top of each other, and the juices drip down into a bowl below. Cover the colander with the pot lid and collect the drippings while you make the sauce. IMG_7178

Add 1/4 cup cognac or bourbon to the still-very-hot skillet and deglaze all of the delicious bits stuck to the bottom with a whisk (just whisk it). Let the residual heat of the pan reduce the cognac for ~30 seconds, then add 1 oz of cheese and whisk.

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When the cheese is good and dissolved, add the butter one piece at a time and whisk in until it, too, is dissolved. Return the drippings you collected from the steak and whisk those in, or just soak them up with a few pieces of toast for a delicious snack. Pour the sauce into bowls or ramekins, or just pour on top of the steak (careful – the pan is still molten lava). IMG_7182We also fried a couple of eggs and topped the steak with those – you’re going to eat steak covered in bourbon/cheese/butter sauce, you might as well throw an egg in the mix, too.

IMG_7183Serve with pan-fried asparagus and home-made fries to soak up all the juices left on your plate. Enjoy!

*Note – the recipe here will get you a medium-rare steak. Leave it in the oven for less time if you want it rare (and I bet you do). If you want it medium or, god forbid, medium well, then you just get out. If you’re thinking well done, just go season some charcoal and call it a day, you barbarian. Just kidding – just cook it longer, Conan.

We’re back! And with more posts!

J – Hey everyone – sorry we took a little impromptu break there. We got overwhelmed with work and cooking became a chore for a little while…lots of pastas and take-out around here for the past couple weeks. However, here we are, awaiting snow, and I’ve got beets boiling right now for a salad. Stay tuned – I’ll be updating the blog today with some of the noteworthy meals we’ve cooked this month, including easily the best steak I’ve ever made (and easily one of the best I’ve eaten, too).

Groceries – Jan 12

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This week, we received – Two fresh cod fillets, hamburger meat, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, red onions, lentils, granola, farm fresh butter, milk and bread.

Edit – Friends & Farms just contacted us and told us we were supposed to have also received arugula and spinach, but there was a mistake. Instead, we will receive some more goodies next week!

Chicken with spaghetti

This is a Portuguese dish, so it’s not cooked like most pasta dishes (by making the sauce separately and adding it to the cooked pasta as it’s served). The pasta is boiled in the sauce and acquires those flavors too.

Ingredients:
- 1 whole chicken, cut in eights (we like brown meat better than white, so we use chicken legs and thighs)
- 1/2 portuguese chouriço, sliced (optional)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large bay leaves
- 1 chicken bouillon
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 12oz can of tomato sauce
- 4 cups of water
- 1 lb spaghetti
- salt and pepper

Preparation:
Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic, mix well and let sit for 5-10 min. In a large pot, heat olive oil and butter, then add onion and bay leaves. Let the onion soften. Add the chicken, skin side down and let it sear for about 5 min in each side. If you have chouriço, add it now too. When chicken is lightly browned on both sides, add tomato sauce and chicken bouillon. Mix well, then add white wine, cover and let cook for 10 min. Add water and let cook for 10 more min. Add pasta, mix well and cook until al dente (about 8 min). Remove bay leaves and serve.

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Sauteed kale with chickpeas

Ingredients:
- 1 lb kale, stems removed and chopped into bite size
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 12 oz cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 tsp salt
- red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Preparation:
Boil the kale in salted water for 10 min then drain in a colander (it will shrink somewhat). In a hot pan, add olive oil and onion, let it soften for 5 min. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and let smoke for 1 min. Add kale and cook for 2 min, add chickpeas and let warm up completely. Remove from heat, add red-wine vinegar and salt, and mix well.

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Sauteed mushrooms

Jeff is not a fan of mushrooms. So, even though I had the immediate instinct of cooking the mushrooms with the chicken, he would end up not eating the chicken. I decided instead to sautee the mushrooms and eat them on top of freshly baked bread. Delicious!

Ingredients:
- white button mushrooms (about 2 cups), sliced
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- salt and pepper, to taste
- parmesan cheese

Preparation:
Melt butter in a pan, add onions and let them soften. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper. The salt will bring out the water in the mushrooms and shrink them. For this reason, in some mushroom dishes you’re only supposed to season at the end. But I like that the mushroom flavor get concentrated as they shrink. Let cook until golden, remove from heat and place on a plate. Shred some parmesan on top.

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Groceries – Jan 4th

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I’m going to start listing the groceries we get from Friends & Farms by the date. It was getting a bit confusing to number them.

This week we got – Two awesome steaks (I believe they were ribeye), chicken legs, pork sausage links, a pumpkin, mushrooms, kale, green beans, bibb lettuce, raw peanuts, maple syrup, eggs, milk and bread.