Thursday, November 21, 2013

Steak Tips with Mushroom-Onion Gravy

The Background

Who isn't a sucker for something warm, rich and satisfying on a cool, Autumn evening?  A cool night, maybe a bit drizzly and dreary begs for "umami", that elusively savory and utterly delightful culinary trait.  Mushrooms are so umami, steak too.  Oh, and onions that have been richly caramelized, very umami. 

I am also a huge fan of America's Test Kitchen, and their sister sites, Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country.  These guys take a lot of time to break down dishes and dissect how they work, why they work, how to make them taste better, how to make them easier to prepare and then publish the recipe along with why the other 87 iterations didn't work, just so you don't make the same mistakes.  I have mentioned before how I frequently take a recipe and compare it to several others I find online.  I take the best parts of "this" recipe and add parts of "that" recipe, sprinkling in a cool technique that was found in yet another recipe.  Not this time.  Nope.  Completely unnecessary.  So with 100% credit to America's Test Kitchen, where I originally got the recipe via an email newsletter, and to Cook's Illustrated, where the recipe and the picture above is published, I proudly pass along one of my new all-time favorite recipes.

The Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (see note)
  • 1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed well
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium beef broth (see note)
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps wiped clean and cut into 1/4-inch slices (see note)
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Making it Work

1. Combine soy sauce and sugar in medium bowl. Add beef, toss well, and marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, tossing once.
2. Meanwhile, cover porcini mushrooms with ¼ cup broth in small microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife, and microwave on high power 30 seconds. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Lift mushrooms from liquid with fork and mince (you should have about 1½ tablespoons). Strain liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towel into medium bowl. Set mushrooms and liquid aside.
3. Sprinkle meat with 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add meat and cook until well browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to large plate and set aside.
4. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add remaining tablespoon oil, white mushrooms, minced porcinis, and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until all liquid has evaporated and mushrooms start to brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Scrape pan to loosen fond. Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt; continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onion begins to brown and dark bits form on pan bottom, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Add garlic, thyme, and flour; cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are coated with flour, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1½ cups beef broth and porcini soaking liquid, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, and bring to boil.
5. Nestle steak pieces into mushroom and onion mixture and add any accumulated juices to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until steak registers 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 3 to 5 minutes, turning beef over several times. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

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