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.