Finally, beef! We had friends over a few days ago and barbequed some steaks, and had two steaks left over, a lovely fillet (about 1.5cm (1/2″) thick) and a striploin (about 2.5cm (1″) thick). So we stuck them in the freezer (I know, I know, certainly not a great start for resounding success) and took them out last night to make some super tasty, but sadly, terribly calorie-ific steak Diane. A steak Diane is basically a piece of pan fried steak (usually fillet or tenderloin) that’s topped with a tasty mustard, mushroom, cream and brandy sauce. I can’t emphasize just how damn tasty this piece of meat ended up being; I mean, we practically licked our plates clean! The recipe I used is based on an Emril Lagasse recipe, but it’s a pretty standard set of ingredients with minor variations here and there. If there’s one tiny criticism, it would be that the cream was possibly a dash too much and that the amount of sauce was too much for the meat.
In the instructions below, I’ll go through how I think one can cook the perfect piece of meat, briefly, but I hope to one day give the process an independent post by itself.
2 Pieces of steak, relatively thick, I’ve outlined what meat I’ve used above. Also, since the sauce was plenty for the steaks, I think the quantities can handle at least another similarly sized steak.
For the sauce:
1/4 cup of cooking cream (I would use just a dash under this)
1/4 cup of veal demi-glace (beef stock can be a decent replacement, although, the end product will be a tad lighter in color than a proper Diane)
1//4 cup of cooking brandy
1 minced garlic clove
1 minced small shallot
2 tsp of Dijon mustard
2 tsp of Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp of unsalted butter
In a large frying pan on a high heat, pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil to make sure that most of the bottom of the pan is lightly coated (about 2 tbsp). As the pan and oil heat up, season your steaks with ample pepper and some salt. Make sure your steaks are room-ish temperature when they hit the pan as a cold steak will toughen up quicker. A good tip on making sure your steaks are tender is to marinade them in fresh pineapple juice. The enzymes in the juice help break the meat down, keep larger tougher sirloins in the juice for about an hour to 1.5 hours (no more) and smaller fillets or tenderloins about 30-45mins. Rinse the steaks quickly with water and pat them dry before seasoning them.
Once the pan is screaming hot (make sure not to burn the oil though, smoking oil will usually impart a bitter flavor on what’s cooking in it) use tongs to place your steaks in the pan. You want to hear that beautiful sizzling sound, that way you know the pan’s hot enough. Cook the meat on one side on the high heat, about 4mins for the thinner fillet and up to 6min for the thick sirloin, as a rule, turn your steaks only once! Make sure the first side is nice and browned but not burnt.
Flip the steaks over at the appropriate times, and once you do, put in a couple of knobs of butter in the pan (this is just for taste and is not included in the quantities above), melt the butter, and using a spoon, pour the melted butter over the cooking steaks. Keep the steaks on the other side for about 3 minutes for the fillet and about 4 mins for the sirloin. Your steaks are now cooked to a perfect medium rare, take the steaks out of the pan and place on a large chopping board and allow to rest for at least the duration of cooking. Since my wife likes here meat cooked a little to the medium well side, I usually preheat the over to 180 degrees C and put the steak in the oven for no more than 5mins.
While the steaks rest, you can now work on your sauce.
In the same pan you fried the steaks but on a lower heat, add the butter and melt it. Wait till the foam subsides, then toss in the shallot and garlic, saute in the pan for half a minute, then add the mushrooms and fry till lightly browned, about 2 minutes, but before the shallots and garlic take on any color. Once the mushrooms are brown, pour in the brandy and flambe with a lighter, watch out because it can really burn! Once the brandy flames die down, add the demi glace, the mustard, the Worcestershire Sauce and whisk in the cream, allow to reduce for a few minutes until the sauce covers the back of a spoon. Make sure that you consistently taste the sauce for seasoning as you go along. I really find frequent tasting (in small amounts) is the best way to really make a balanced sauce… mind you, tasting in too large quantities can overpower your palate and throw you off. Finally toss in your parsley and add the steaks back in to warm up through (make sure to add back all the nice juices that might have seeped out of the meat while it rested) just for half a minute or so.
All that’s left now is to plate up and enjoy! (Highly recommended with a nice Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon)