Allow me to introduce myself… I am your regular blogger’s BH and I’ll be guest blogging this installment. My role as BH means that I am basically the happy and willing guinea pig for all of the recipes that have come and gone on this blog. To paraphrase Monty Python, I’m not a foodie, but I know what I like! In our house, I am normally the one that cooks up the steaks. (I’m not all that shabby in the kitchen, and have been known to cook food that has been survived by actual guests in our home.) One thing led to another, and we decided that I should have a shot at this food blogging thing. This then, is the result…
Steaks. The Final Frontier.
Every man should be able to cook a good steak. From cavemen to pampered hipsters, we should all possess the skills necessary to cook up some meat for our loved ones. Whether you are cooking on a barbecue, or on a stove top, a good piece of meat deserves to be cooked properly. And whilst most men would be satisfied with a hunk of meat and nothing else for dinner, my wife will always insist on some vegetable matter of some description. We’ve compromised, and I made potatoes. So this then is a proper steak and chips meal. This entire meal should take you no longer than 35 minutes, from raw ingredients to plating and eating.
First off, our line up of ingredients. Obviously, you’ll need steaks. Don’t try and buy the flaccid excuse for meat that most supermarkets have pre-packed in their fridges. Take the time to go to a butcher, or the butchery counter and get some steaks cut for you. You want them thick, and you want the meat to be of the best quality you can afford. I settled for some Aberdeen Angus 28-day aged Sirloin Steaks. They’re roughly 375g each. (That’s about 13oz for you Imperials.) Don’t worry overmuch about the weight though, it is the thickness that counts. I always ask for the steaks to be cut at least an inch thick. Insist on it, and check that all the steaks are the same thickness so that your cooking time is consistent. You will need potatoes, a good Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Black Pepper and some Smoked Paprika. You don’t need anything special in terms of cooking equipment, although a cast-iron grill-pan and flat cooking tongs are going to see you through this with a minimum of fuss.
Assemble your ingredients and start the clock! Pre-heat your oven to 185 degrees. (That’s gas mark 4, 370 Degrees Fahrenheit)
Wash your potatoes thoroughly. Nobody wants cajun-style fried dirt with their steaks. Then cut the potatoes into medallions roughly a half centimeter thick. (I’m not working that out in inches, Imperials can go buy a ruler.) Toss them into a metal bowl. (Hot tip – Metal bowls are MUCH easier to clean cooking oil out of than glass bowls. Trust me.) To the potatoes you need to add about two level teaspoons of Smoked Paprika, a good wallop of salt and good grinding of black pepper. Liberally splash your Olive Oil over this mixture and then get your hands dirty, and mix it all through. You’re aiming for a consistent mix of spices and a smooth coating of oil over all the pieces. All of the spices are to your taste, of course, although I would urge caution with the Smoked Paprika… it gets really strong in large doses, and too much of a good thing will kill your potatoes. You can also use barbecue spicing, mixed herbs, fresh rosemary and thyme, garlic, onion or curry powder instead of the Paprika. (Let’s face it, you can dress up potatoes in a LOT of ways.) When you are done, your potatoes will have gone from the picture on the left to the picture in the middle. Pour your potatoes into a baking tray and spread evenly. (No need to pre-grease the tray, the potatoes are oiled enough) Bang them into the oven, and leave them there for 25 minutes.
Crack open a beer, and have a swig. You deserve it. Time for the steaks. Take a flat dish and pour some Sunflower Oil into it. Put your steaks in the dish and rub them in the oil, flipping them to ensure that both sides are well coated. Then sprinkle a LOT of salt over the steaks. A good two or three pinches per steak, per side. Grind black pepper over the steak to taste. Do this for both sides of the steak, and leave for about 3 or 4 minutes. Use this time to heat your grill-pan. There is no science to this, I set mine up to maximum heat and let it sit there for a good 3 minutes. Do not oil the pan, the oil is already on your steaks. Basically, you want your grill-pan to be a scarily hot piece of metal when you start this up. When the 3 or 4 minutes is up, it is time to get cooking. (Your potatoes should have roughly 15 minutes to go at this point.) You can use other oils for your steaks, but be aware of the smoke-point of the oils you use. Sunflower oil has a high smoke point, meaning that it only gets smoking at high temperatures. Olive oil has a much lower smoke point, and can actually burn if you’re not careful.
Put the steaks into the pan. If there is a lot of fat on the steaks, press that against the edge of the pan so that it grills too. The idea here is to put the steaks into the pan in one smooth movement, and then NOT to touch them. DON’T fiddle. DON’T move them about. Give them 2 minutes. When those 2 minutes are up, flip them. Again, DON’T fiddle with them. Leave them alone. The salt and pepper mixture will sear with the meat, creating a seal, and also gifting your meat with that awesome grill pattern. Give them 2 minutes. Then flip them again. How much longer you cook them is up to you at this point. I like my steaks Medium Rare, so I tend to do the steaks in for 2 minutes each side, then 1 minute each side. You be the judge. For a one inch thick steak, 2 minutes each side with another 2 minutes each side is roughly medium well. Going much beyond that mark costs you tenderness and taste. When you have your steaks done the way you like them, put them in a dish and cover them to let them rest. They can rest for 5 minutes.
By now, your potatoes are about done. Get them out the oven, shake, scrap or bang them loose from the baking tray and serve. Bring your steaks from their place of rest, and serve. During the rest, your steaks will have bled juices. Pour these juices back over the steak once you have plated them. It serves as an excellent sauce for the meat. And there you have it. Steak and potatoes. Man-Style!