Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chicago Peppercorn Steak

Peppercorn Steak photo 18743E3D-641D-454A-8B62-C5043D719FBD_zpspf8jayaj.jpg
Steak was an occasional Saturday night dinner treat I experienced growing up in the Chicago area.  It was also the item to order when going out to a fancy restaurant. Over the years, my Mom waitressed at high end restaurants, country clubs and steak houses, and I think she learned this recipe from the chefs.

Midwest beef was corn fed, but when moving to the West Coast, one of the first things I noticed was the difference in the taste between grain fed and corn fed beef. I've come to accept and enjoy grain fed and use Mom's recipe to make peppercorn encrusted steak.

Watching for steak sales at $6.00 a pound or under I figure a 10 to 12 oz. steak is ample for the two of us. Often the store packages several small steaks in a package. I purchase, repackage, vacuum seal and freeze in 5-6 oz portions. I then have them on hand for a Saturday night dinner, surf and turf dinner, or special occasion dinner for guests.

Every bite of steak with the crack and crunch of the peppercorn with the sauce makes for a Saturday night treat.  Add a salad and baked potato and you'll think you've eaten at a high end restaurant at a fraction of the cost. It's also a way to turn a less expensive cut of meat into a gourmet meal.
Peppercorn Steak photo 29A9DB9D-C1BD-4FD7-9B86-2EDA998E2630_zpsbzfbiacq.jpg
Chicago Peppercorn Steak
2 New York strip or sirloin steaks (5 to 6 oz. each), 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, patted dry
salt
garlic powder
1-2 Tbs. whole or coarsely ground black peppercorns
olive oil for the pan and to rub on steaks
2 to 3 Tbs. butter, sliced
1/2 cup of wine or beef broth to make sauce

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Light rub oil on each side of the steak and lightly sprinkle with salt and garlic powder on both sides, then press peppercorns into steaks on both sides. Let set to room temperature, Set a large cast-iron skillet over high heat and add enough olive oil to coat pan. When oil is very hot, add the steaks, cooking until browned on each side, about 2-3 minutes each side. Remove the skillet and put in preheated oven. 

For medium-rare steaks, roast for 5-6 minutes. Transfer steaks to a warm plate and tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes for juices to redistribute.

Put the skillet back on the burner and heat to medium high. Add any juices from resting steaks. Add wine or broth and cook until it's reduced, scraping up the browned bits and peppercorns with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the butter, until melted. Taste and adjust seasonings, drizzle sauce over steaks, and serve immediately with more sauce on the side. (Variation: a little cream may be added to the sauce, if preferring cream sauce)

Pan drippings and sauce can also be used to make gravy, by thickening with flour, if desired.

Estimated cost: $5.00 or less; $2.50 per serving