Last night’s dinner was tasty, and I think it’s a good example of something that sounds ambitious but actually comes together pretty smoothly – so I’m sharing it. Even though the pictures are miserably bad. It was dark out and my camera was dying so I just snapped as quickly as I could. Sorry about the greasy smears…
Mister and I suck at meal planning. So as usual I came home having no idea what was for dinner and found a large piece of unidentified meat thawing on the counter. It was a steak of some sort, no idea what cut, that we had bought on super-sale a couple of months ago and thrown in the freezer. I went to find my Mister and asked what his plan was for the meat, and he requested that it be served some sort of gravy and mushrooms. That sounded good to me, so main dish down. We were stuck on sides for a bit, but then I remembered that we had a giant chunk of swiss cheese wasting away in our fridge, and so I suggested a mushroom-swiss rice dish with our steak. Add in some quick roasted asparagus and we were in business. (btw, if you stick with this blog long enough you’ll eventually notice that we put mushrooms in everything. We love mushrooms. You should too, they’re delicious.)
In order to pull this together with a minimum of fuss i highly recommend getting everything all ready to go before you start cooking. So get the meat seasoned and then get the mushrooms sliced, onions diced, and garlic minced. While you are finishing up the slicing and dicing, start your pan heating. Then sear the steak and pop it into the oven and get going on the rice. Once you have the rice simmering away, the steak will be ready to come out of the oven and rest, and then you can focus on the gravy. At that point you can also crank up the oven and throw some green veggies (we went with asparagus) in to roast. Green beans and broccoli are also really good roasted. Just drizzle on some olive oil and give them a sprinkle of salt and pepper and into the oven they go. Once the gravy is done the veggies should be finished too, then just slice up the meat, and you are ready to plate.
So, now details:
Steak and Gravy
Servings depends on the size of your meat. (heh heh)
- 1 large London broil style steak cut (I honestly have no idea what ours was. We labeled it with the date, but no description. You want a big slab of meat. not a roast)
- 6 baby bella’s (or white button mushrooms)
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into large wedges
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 cup veal or beef stock
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Blot the steak well with some paper towels to dry it off. Give it a light sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper and let it rest at room temperature while you get a oven-safe skillet blazing hot on the stove.*
Lay the steak into the hot skillet and let it get good and browned on the first side before flipping it and searing the other side. It should be hot enough to be hissing furiously and smoking all over the place the whole time. This is a good thing; open a window. Once you’ve got both sides seared pull the steak out of the pan and lay it on a plate (and yes, this is a little weird, and possibly unnecessary) and stick it in the freezer. Turn off the heat on the skillet and dump in the mushrooms and onions and pour in about 1/4 cup of water just to stop the smoking and draw off some of the heat.
Give the steak 2-3 minutes in the freezer and then lay it back in the skillet, pushing the mushrooms and onions to the edges to make room. Put the skillet in the oven and let it cook to the point that you consider done. I like my meat medium-rare, which worked out perfectly in the amount of time it took to get the rice going. If you like your meat more cooked it’s going to take longer obviously, so for well done you might want to bump the oven up to 300 or 350.
Once your meat is cooked pull the pan out of the oven (remembering that the handle is just as hot as the rest of it), and transfer the steak, mushrooms and onions to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. How to tell if your meat is done? Just get one of these and no more guesswork.
Assess what you’ve got in your pan. You need at least 1.5-2 Tbsp of grease to make your gravy. If you don’t have that much in the pan just add some butter or oil. Put the pan over medium heat and add in the garlic, salt & pepper and saute for a minute till the garlic softens (but don’t let it turn brown). Sprinkle in the flour and whisk it around the pan till it forms a paste with the grease. Let it cook for a minute to lose its raw flour taste and then slowly pour in the red wine while whisking madly. Whisk whisk whisk. It will be lumpy and messy at first. Just keep whisking and it will smooth out. While you are whisking out the lumps, make sure you scrape up all the good meaty bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Then (still whisking) pour in the stock, whisk till smooth and then turn the heat to medium-low and let it bubble away till it reduces to a good gravy consistency, stirring occasionally to make sure it’s not scorching on the bottom.
Slice up your steak, pouring off any accumulated juices into the gravy. Taste the gravy and adjust seasoning if needed. Then spoon gravy over the meat and dig in. Mmmmmm…blurry meat….
Makes 4-6 servings.
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 baby bellas (or large button mushrooms), sliced thinly
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 1/2 cup rice (long grain, not instant)
- 1 cup veal or beef stock
- 2 cups water
- 1- 1 1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
Melt butter in a large saucepan and saute mushrooms on medium-high heat, till starting to get golden brown and caramelized. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Push the onions off to the edge and scatter in a handful of the mushrooms in a single layer. Let them cook without touching them until they get some color and then push that batch to the edges of the pan along with the onions and add another handful. Continue until all the mushrooms are in the pan. The bottom of the pan should be covered in brown bits at this point from the onions and mushrooms. This is good.
Sprinkle in the salt, pepper and thyme.
Add the rice and mix well to coat with the seasoning and butter. Let it saute for a minute and then pour in the stock, mixing well and thoroughly scraping the bottom of the pot to get all the browned bits loosened and dissolved. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for ~15 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Sprinkle in the shredded swiss cheese and replace the lid to let the cheese get melty. (1 minute or so) Mix in the melted cheese and enjoy!
*A note on skillets: I like to use my 12″ cast iron skillet for steak (and cornbread, and pancakes and loads of other things), but anything that can go from the stove to the oven will work. If you are in the market for a good skillet, cast iron works best. They are cheap too, and pretty much indestructible. I highly recommend them. Lodge brand is good.