Pan-Broiled Beef Steak with a Red Wine Reduction
(from boar_d_laze of http://www.cookfoodgood.com )
The pan broiling method is appropriate for steaks from about 3/4″ to 2″ thick. Thinner steaks cook better in the pan only. Thicker are really more roast than steak and the finish timing is a bit different.
The pan allows the cook to control the heat by moving the meat from stove top to oven, and also allows the cook to work with some of the byproducts of the cooking process to create sauces which enhance the flavor of the meat. The only alternative as good is char-grilling, which imparts its own flavor. No matter which direct heat method you choose — pan, char-grill, grill, etc., the meat will be juicy as long as the method is properly employed and the meat not overcooked. Another aspect of proper cooking is the formation of a crust on the steak by the “Maillard reaction,” usually a result of searing. However, this is about taste and not about juiciness.
Let’s get practical: Preheat your oven — I use 375, Suzanne uses 450, whatever. Note the weight of the steak on the package label. Unwrap it, and season. Allow it some time out of the refrigerator for the outside to come to room temperature. 20 minutes is enough for most steaks. (I usually marinate beef steak in a tbs of red wine plus a tbs of worcestershire for 20 minutes before seasoning. Discard the extra marinade (there won’t be much) before seasoning. A little bit of steak juices will have mixed with the marinade, and it will have thickened like a syrup to hold the seasoning to the steak.)
Tip: Use kosher salt for seasoning anything which will be grilled, roasted, seared, etc. It sticks better because it’s not as soluble. For a good steak “rub” try the following proportions: 4 kosher salt, 2 freshly cracked pepper, 1 paprika (smoked is nice), 1 granulated garlic, 1/2 granulated onion, 1/4 (or less) each thyme and sage
Have standing by 3/4 cup of red wine, a tbs of minced shallots (or onion), and a handful of chopped parsley. Have 1-1/2 tbs of cold butter, already cut into two pieces waiting in the refrigerator. Use a metal pan with an oven proof handle. Not non-stick as it won’t sear properly, won’t create fond properly, and can’t handle the beating from making a pan reduction.
Heat the pan to just under the oil’s smoke point. Most chefs use a little bit of oil, some go dry. I use corn oil, but any mild flavor oil with a high smoke point will do. Lay the seasoned steak in the pan, and sear the first side over medium-high to high heat (depends on your stove). Assuming the steak is room temperature, this will take about two minutes. After 90 seconds, check to see if the side is seared by shaking the pan. If the steak un-sticks itself from the pan, it’s seared and ready to turn with your tongs or a spatula. If not, give it another 30 seconds and try again. If still not, give it another 30 seconds, another shake — and if it still won’t come lose and dislodge it by pushing it from the side before turning. When you turn the steak, you’ll see some seasoning and steak juices stuck to the bottom of the pan. That’s a good thing. The side that cooked will have seared, and will present a nicely browned appearance. This is what you want.
Cook the second side for between 45 and 60 seconds, only. Then put the pan, steak and all in the oven, and close the door. At 375 most beef steak cuts cook to medium rare (a point) at a rate of 12 minutes/lb less the time for the sear — call that 3 minutes. At 450, it’s around 10 minutes a pound IIRC. Maybe Suzanne will chip in on that. If you’re cooking multiple steaks, calculate your time by the weight of the largest one in the pan, not the total weight.
FROM THIS POINT ON BE VERY AWARE THAT THE POT’S HANDLE IS HOT. REMEMBER TO POINT IT TO THE SIDE SO YOU DON’T BUMP INTO IT. AND, obviously, USE A POT HOLDER.
When the steak times done, remove the pan from the oven and put it back on the stove, over a cold burner. If you have an instant-read the steak should read at or just under 120F. Otherwise, push test it for very rare. (Don’t worry, it will coast into medium-rare during the rest.) Plate the steaks on empty plates with the best looking side up. You’ll see the seasoning and juices on the pan we discussed, that’s called fond. Possibly there will also be some fat which has rendered out of the steak. If there’s more than 1/2 tsp of fat and/or any other liquid, dump it in the sink.
Turn the burner up to searing temperature again, throw in the shallots, give them 10 seconds on the heat, and add the wine all at once. As soon as the liquid hits the pan, it will start to sizzle. Start stirring up the fond with your tongs, spatula, a metal spoon or a whisk. (Wood and plastic are less good for this.) Make sure you get it all off the bottom of the pan. This is called deglazing.
Incorporate the fond into the wine and stirring frequently, reduce the liquid by about 2/3 its volume — two or three minutes. Throw in half the parsley. Remove the butter from the fridge, add one piece to the pan, and swirl pan to swirl the wine and butter. It’s important to keep the sauce moving to form a liaison. When the butter is half melted, turn off the flame, and add the second piece of butter. Keep swirling until the second piece is entirely melted and incorporated. The sauce should be Congratulations! You’ve made a red-wine pan reduction beurre rouge. Ain’t you the one!
Plate whatever garnish, veg, or starch you’re going to put on the plate with the steak. Spoon or pour the sauce carefully over the steak. Let some dribble over the side of the steak into the center of the plate. You want a small puddle, not a lake. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the steak and sauce — mostly to refresh the look of the parsley already in the sauce.
In the immortal words of Willie Walker: “You cookin’ French now, boy,“