Sunday, March 01, 2009

Top Rated

I have to head off on a business trip, but I wanted to leave you with a good recipe. This is, without a doubt, one of the best pan sauces for steak you will ever make. It's a 5.

I should explain what I mean by a "5" in case you weren't around all those years ago when I explained how and why we rate recipes. It's like this.

Once upon a time, when I was a lighthearted young newlywed, I made chicken stock from scratch using a whole chicken (come to think of it, I still make chicken stock from scratch using a whole chicken). I had a magazine spread that provided the recipe for the stock, along with uses for the leftover chicken (before I realized that a chicken that had been poached to Hell and back shouldn't probably be eaten at all, but that's youthful inexperience for you). One of these recipes was for Chicken a la King. I thought it turned out well, and when I asked how it was, I was told, "Fine."

Three weeks later I was out of chicken broth, so I made some more, and another batch of Chicken a la King. When we sat down to dinner that night, there was a distinctly disappointed look on Alex's face. When queried about what the problem was, he responded, "I don't really like Chicken a la King that much."


Which is how it came to pass that I now demand a rating for 1-5 for every meal I cook. Anything less than a three is banished, never to be made again. A three might be spruced up to improve it, but if we can't think of anything, it might get made again, but odds are it won't. A four could be put in the regular rotation (although considering my recipe collection--14 binders of recipes torn from magazines, every back issue of Everyday Food, Cooking Light back three years, 43 issues of Donna Hay magazine and counting, countless other saved cooking magazines, and 300+ cookbooks--I could make a recipe every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the rest of my natural life and never cook everything, so the odds that there will ever even be a regular rotation are sort of slim). A five is incredible, stupendous, don't change a thing. There have been two recipes rated a five in ten years.

One of these is the recipe I'm about to share with you. We often make this for special occasions when we're eating in. It's fast and easy, and the flavor is so incredible you can't believe it's three ingredients and takes three minutes to make. The original recipe serves the steak with Parmesan Mash, which is wonderful, but it's also wonderful without. The next time you make steak, you must make this.

Pan-Fried Steak with Parmesan Mash and Pan Gravy
from Donna Hay magazine #16
serves 4

4 russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2" cubes
2 ounces butter
8 ounces heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 - 5 ounce Filets Mignon
oil for brushing
for pan gravy
1/2 cup beef stock
2 teaspoons grain mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Place potatoes in a large pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15-20 minutes or until just cooked through. Drain, return to pan, add butter, cream, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in Parmesan cheese and set aside to keep warm while the steaks cook.

Brush the steaks with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat, and cook steaks 4-5 minutes per side (for medium-rare, or longer to desired doneness). Remove steaks, set aside, and keep warm. Make the pan gravy by stirring the stock mustard, and sugar into the pan. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve steaks with mash and pan sauce.


Molly said...

I have to ask. What is the other "5"?

TD said...

It's another Donna Hay recipe. Honestly I can't recall which one it is off the top of my head, but it's marked in the cookbook or magazine. If pressed, we might declare a third "5"--Alex said the roast chicken I made from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook was "the best roast chicken [I'd] ever made."

Chef E said...

This is why I do not cook things over and over, I learned too that my hubby did not like certain comfort foods, and wants a variety of cuisine, so then I get to 'practice' for my real job and make him and I both happy, but he loves chicken a la king, lol, but not served close together!

I need to get into all the magazines I have piled up!

TD said...

E--My problem is that I could make a different recipe every day for three meals a day (and probably snacks!) and never get through all that I have--I'm sure you know how that goes! :) So occasionally I try to make a recipe a second time, but this time it backfired on me! Gah!