Recipe: Rib-Eye Steak with Whiskey Sauce & Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

I am not sure if it is a “man thing” but sometimes I crave beef and potatoes.  A stick to your ribs kinda meal that you know will undoubtedly clog your arteries but leave you with a smile on your face.  One of those  meals where you pat your full belly and wonder if your favorite pants come in a style with an elastic waist….

Well for The Partner’s birthday, he wanted something simple and satisfying.  No fancy restaurants, no elaborate presentations and he wanted steak.  So being the dutiful boyfriend I am, I scoured my recipe stash and pulled out two great recipes from Anne Bramley’s cookbook Eat Feed Autumn Winter.  The Rib-Eye Steak with Whiskey Sauce is a super simple recipe with big flavor.  It pairs nicely with the Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes whose spicy sweetness holds its own to the steak.  Add a bold red wine to the mix and you have the makings for a great dinner party or a cozy celebratory dinner for two…….

Rib-Eye Steak with Whisky Sauce

Ingredients

2 Rib-Eye Steals (10-12 oz each)

Salt

Pepper

1/2 cup whiskey

3/4 cup beef broth

Directions

1) Remove steaks from refrigerator and let come to room temperature

2) Preheat the oven to 500 degree (F).  Generously salt and pepper steaks.

3) Heat large oven-proof skillet over high heat.  Add steaks and immediately transfer pan to bottom floor of oven or to the rack in the lowest position.

4) Cook steaks for 4 minutes.  Turn steaks, return to oven and cook for another four minutes.

5)  Move steaks to a platter and tent with tin foil to rest.

To Prepare the Sauce:

6) Using the pan that you cooked the steak in, place on stove stop and add whiskey and beef broth to pan.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to a generous 1/2 cup, approximately 5 minutes.

Notes:

– Make sure that your steaks are room temperature before cooking.  Otherwise, you will end up with an undercooked steak.  This recipe cooks the steaks to medium rare.

– Just like when you cook with wine, make sure you use a whiskey you would drink.  I like Maker’s Mark for this recipe.

– If you do not have a oven-proof pan, wrap several layers of tin foil around the handle of your pan to prevent it from melting.  However, I strongly encourage you to purchase a cast iron skillet.  For less than $10, it is a great pan to have in your kitchen arsenal.

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 medium yellow onions, cut in half and thinly sliced

2 cups half-and-half

3 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cute into 1″ squares

Directions

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  While waiting for the water to boil, melt butter in large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.  Add onions and for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.

2) Cover and cook for 10 more minutes.  Uncover and cook until golden brown for another 10 minutes.

3) Once onions are browned, place in food processor and purée with 1/2 cup of half-and-half and 2 teaspoons of salt.  If mixture is too thick, gradually add 1/2 cup of half-and-half until you get a smooth mixture about the consistency of applesauce.

4) Once water is boiling, add potatoes and cool until soft, about 15 minutes.  Drain and return to pot.  Add pureed onion mixture and remaining half-and-half and mash until smooth.  Or all ingredients can be added to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip until smooth.

Notes:

– It may seem overly complicated but the method described is the easiest way to make perfect caramelized onions every time.  The uncovering and recovering of the pan allows enough moisture to be retained to ensure the onions don’t burn but not so much that they steam.

– I don’t like completely smooth mashed potatoes – they remind me of baby food, ergo I opt to mash them by hand for a chunkier style.  If you use an electric mixer to make the potatoes, be sure not to over whip, or you will end up with wallpaper paste.

So tell me, do you have any dishes that you crave?  Leave a comment and tell me!

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Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie – My “Go To” Winter Dish….

When I was making this dish, I tweeted my progress to one of my former CIA classmates who immediately upon seeing I was using ground beef rather than lamb informed me that actually I was making “Cottage Pie”.  While I normally am true to a dish’s history, I am going to deviate this time around simply because  cottage pie sounds like a dish you make with cottage cheese and honestly that would be gross.

In any case, this recipe is a modification of the one by Mitchell Davis in his cookbook Kitchen Sense.  This book doesn’t have pretty pictures or exotic dishes but does have over 600 recipes and multiple variations on each.  I love Mitchell’s approach to cooking – straight forward, timeless and simple.  While some of his dishes, while simple, are not easy, they all use a common sense approach to cooking.  If you want a solid primer in how to cook or bake a variety of dishes, then I strongly suggest this cookbook.

This recipe is a mainstay in my winter rotation.  It is perfect to make after a dinner party as it allows you to use up leftovers quickly and in a tasty way.

Shepherd’s Pie

Makes Approximately 8 servings

Ingredients

2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold, peeled and cute into chunks

Kosher Salt

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 lbs cooked lamb or beef, finely shredded or chopped (or 2 3/4 lbs of raw ground lamb or beef)

1 cup fresh button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 cup sour cream

1 large egg

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

2) Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and liberally add salt to water, set over high heat and boil until they are soft approximately 25 minutes.

3) Drain well and mash with butter and sour cream.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

4)  In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add carrot and celery and cook until vegetables are soft and the onion begins to brown approximately another 5-7 minutes.

5)  If using cooked meat add now and heat through, approximately 3-5 minutes.  If using raw meat, cook until nicely browned making sure to drain off any extra fat.

6) Add mushrooms and cook until they have wilted and given off their liquid.  Pour in tomato sauce and add peas, corn, thyme rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and a generous amount of black pepper.    Cook until the liquid evaporates somewhat and the mixture comes together, approximately 5-7 minutes.

7) Stir in 1/2 cup of the mashed potatoes to give the meat mixture additional body.  Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper.  Transfer this mixture to a deep 2-quart baking dish.

8 ) Beat egg into potato mixture and spread evenly over the top of the meat.  Smooth out the surface with a flexible spatula and sprinkle with paprika.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the potatoes have browned on top and the meat mixture is bubbling.

9) Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes:

– This dish is a great make ahead dish.  I tend to make double portions and place one of these, in the baking dishes, unbaked, in the freezer.  I  place a layer of parchment on top and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  If cooking from frozen, add 20-30 minutes to overall cooking and place tin foil on top to avoid drying out.

Do you have any “go to” dishes when you need a comforting and easy meal?

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