Re-blogging from a Friend: Mike Somerset makes our Pan-seared Steak on the trail!

We here at Dear Martini strive to inspire and teach folks how to cook. When this blog post from Mike Somerset came through the chute, the feeling is indescribable. Mike lives in England and took our Pan Seared Steak recipe with him while hiking a trail in the Lake District.
It looks delicious, Mike! Thanks for sharing!

Mike Somerset

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For me one of the highlights of a day out and about on the Lake District fells is when I stop for a light lunch. I like to find a quiet, out-of-the-way spot off the trail where I can relax, contemplate and connect with the landscape. But mostly to eat. In this case it was, pretty much, a straight lift from my good friends at Dear Martini. I’m doing this on the trail, on a small gas burner. So I’ve had to adapt. For you to do this properly, don’t do what I do, instead, you should check out this posting Steak… With Benefits.

I have no pretence about my cooking knowledge and skills which are, shall we say, lacking. You see, for me food and cooking is a happy distraction from my main line of work. This is the reason why I love it when someone puts…

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A Winner of a Chicken Dinner!

A Winner of a Chicken Dinner

As a follow-up to our blog post on pan-seared steak, and for the folks who are more inclined to have chicken for dinner, this is for YOU!

In this episode, we feature the pan-seared chicken breast and a garlic-rosemary pan sauce.  If you watch closely, you’ll see that the elements and techniques for this chicken recipe are almost exactly the same as the methods for the steak recipe.  In fact, it’s DESIGNED to be similar – once you master the basic techniques, you can apply them to virtually anything as long as you understand heat management and flavor profile.  And those two foundations of cooking only come with experience – the more you cook and taste your own food, the more you’ll figure out where to add a little here, push it a little there…  you’ll be on your way to eventually cooking WITHOUT recipes!

Here’s a great base recipe to follow and make your own.

Pan-seared Chicken Breast with Garlic-Rosemary Pan Sauce

Serves 2

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 half chicken breasts, boneless, skin-on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Make a beurre manié:  In a small bowl, use your fingers to rub together the butter and flour until it forms a paste.  Roll the paste together into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sear the chicken breasts:  Take the chicken breasts out of the fridge, unwrap and set them on a large plate.  Generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and set aside until they come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before cooking.

Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high flame and add the grapeseed oil.  When you see the oil shimmering, place the chicken breasts in the middle of the pan, skin-side down and sear for 4 minutes.  Check after 4 minutes – if the skin is still sticking to the pan, leave it alone.  It’s not ready to be flipped yet.  If the chicken lifts up with no problem, check the color – the skin should be golden and crispy.  Flip the breasts to the other side and sear for another 4 minutes.

Transfer the entire pan to the oven and roast for another 7 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°.  Remove the breasts from the pan to a clean plate and tent with foil to rest.  In the time it takes for the breasts to rest, you can make a tasty pan sauce with the pan drippings that are left in the pan!

Make the Pan Sauce:  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan and return the pan to medium-flame.  Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until it is fragrant.  Pour a small amount of chicken stock in the pan and use a wooden spoon to rub and scrape up the hardened pan drippings from the bottom of the pan.   This step not only cleans the pan, but also dissolves the pan drippings (or fond) back into the sauce, boosting the sauce’s flavor.  Add the remainder of the chicken stock and rosemary and increase the heat to high.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer.  Simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by a third.   Turn off the heat and swirl in the butter and flour mixture, gently stirring to melt the butter.  As the butter melts, the sauce will thicken slightly.  Remove the garlic and rosemary or strain the sauce.  Taste and add any additional salt and pepper, if needed.  Stir in a couple of drops of lemon juice if you feel the sauce needs some acidity.  Keep warm.

To serve, slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch thick slices across the grain and drizzle the sauce over.  Serve hot with a side of pasta tossed with minced garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes, and some vegetables, like blanched peas.

As always, you can check out the video collections on our Vimeo Channel!

Steak… with Benefits

It’s a universal truth that all cooks have to know how to properly sear a steak.  And yet only a few well-trained cooks know that properly searing a steak pays off dividends in the end.  Our preferred cut of steak is the New York; also known as the strip steak, the club steak or the  Kansas City, this particular cut of steak is flavorful and tender so there is no need to marinate.   The dividend?  When pan searing steaks, you can use the pan drippings to make a quick sauce.  In the time it takes for the steaks to rest, you can make a delicious light pan sauce.  It’s a benefit you should really take advantage and try.

Pan-Seared New York Steak with Red-Wine Pan Sauce

Serves 4

2 (10-ounce) New York strip steaks, cut 1-½ inches thick
Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper
1-½ tablespoons clarified butter
1 shallot, minced
½ cup dry red wine
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup low-sodium beef  or chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and frozen until ready to use

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.  Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, when hot, add the clarified butter and sear steaks 3 minutes on both sides.

Transfer pan to the oven and roast until medium-rare (a thermometer inserted into the center of the steak will register 127˚F), approximately 7 minutes or roast to desired doneness. Remove steaks from the oven and transfer to a clean plate. Tent steaks with foil to keep warm and let rest for 10 minutes while preparing the pan sauce.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots to the pan and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme and stock to the pan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half; about 7 to 8 minutes.  Add any accumulated beef juices from the resting steaks to the pan; simmer another minute.  Turn the heat off and swirl in the cold butter a couple pieces at a time until blended into the sauce.  Taste and season sauce with salt and pepper if needed.  Strain sauce (optional) and transfer to a small serving pitcher.

Slice steaks against the grain into 1/3-inch thick slices and serve with sauce.

*Cook’s note:  This Red-Wine pan sauce is an example of a simple sauce lightened and slightly thickened by swirling in a couple of tablespoons of butter.  The consistency of this sauce is light and not thick like traditional gravy.  It’s just a quick little sauce you can drizzle over your steaks.