Healthy Cooking

How to Cook Steak

Steak is a universal favorite, and although the tender cuts are expensive, there’s no waste and you know you’re serving a meal that everyone will appreciate. Cheaper cuts can be prepared in many delicious ways, as shown in the recipes in this feature.

One of the most appetizing features of a well-grilled or pan-fried steak is its rich, brown look. This is easily achieved if you follow these two simple rules:

(1) Before cooking, dry meat thoroughly with a cloth or paper towel. All meat contain sugar, which, when subjected to heat, caramelizes to form a delicious crusty seal.

Any water on the surface of meat is converted into steam during cooking. Sugar will not caramelize in the presence of steam, so the meat, unless thoroughly dried, becomes grayish and flabby when cooked, instead of firm, crusty and richly brown.

(2) Always salt the meat after cooking not before. Salt draws the moisture in the meat to the surface, and this also causes the meat to steam.

Level spoon measurements and the standard eight-liquid-ounce cup measure are used in all recipes in this feature.

1. Beef Stroganoff

Two pounds fillet steak, salt, freshly ground pepper, 1 large onion (finely chopped), 4 tablespoons butter, ½ lb button mushrooms, ½ pint sour cream, hot cooked rice, chopped parsley.

Trim steak, beat with a mallet. Cut into strips about 2 in long and ¼ in wide. Season with little freshly ground pepper. Saute onion in half the butter until golden; add meat, saute briskly about 5 minutes, turning pieces so all sides are browned. Remove from pan, keep warm.

Add remaining butter to the pan, saute sliced mushrooms. Return meat to the pan, add sour cream, and salt to taste. Reheat without allowing the mixture to boil. Arrange rice in a ring on serving-dish, pour the beef mixture into the center. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, serve.

2. Tournedos

Tournedos are small pieces of steak oi uniform size, cut from the narrow portion of the fillet between the chateaubriand and filet mignon cuts. They can be grilled or sauteed.

Below is the simple way to cook tournedos:

Four tournedos, freshly ground pepper, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons oil, 4 round bread, extra butter, little lemon juice, salt.

Ask your butcher to prepare the tournedos. Season them with freshly ground pepper, saute in the heated butter and oil 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving dish, keep warm. Saute bread in little extra butter, sprinkle with lemon juice. Place tournedos on each slice of bread, sprinkle with a little salt. Serve immediately.

The following recipes are some of the classic ways of serving tournedos.

  • Tournedos Rossini: Cook the tournedos as at left, then top with a slice of pate de foie gras. Pour over a Madeira sauce.
  • Tournedos Chasseur: Add a little dry white wine to the pan in which tournedos were cooked. Then add some rich brown sauce, flavored with mushrooms and shallots. Mix well, pour over steaks.
  • Tournedos Maître d’Hotel: Simply top each cooked tournedo with a pat of parsley butter.
  • Tournedos Shepherd-style: Garnish cooked tournedos with tiny sauteed onions, fried diced bacon, and straw potatoes.

3. Pepper Steak

One pound round steak, salt, freshly ground pepper, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 medium onion (chopped), 1 clove garlic (minced), ½ lb tomatoes, 1 tablespoon cornflour, 2 green peppers (diced), 1 cup stock, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, ¼ cup water, hot cooked rice.

Place peppers in cold water, bring to boil, draw aside and drain well. Cut steak into strips, sprinkle with pepper. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add steak, onion, and garlic; cook until meat is well browned on all sides. Then add peppers, tomatoes cut into wedges, and stock; cover, simmer 10 minutes. Combine cornflour, soy sauce, and water, stir into meat mixture. Cook, stirring until the mixture has thickened; season to taste. Serve with hot cooked rice.

4. Chateaubriand

The chateaubriand is a steak cut from the thickest part of the fillet of beef. It usually weighs from 1 to 2 lb and will serve 2 or 3 people. Chateaubriand can be grilled or sauteed, but care must be taken to avoid charring the outside, while letting the inside remain raw. Serve the chateaubriand with any of the classic garnishes for steak such as maitre d’hotel butter, bearnaise sauce.

5. Swiss Steak

Two to 25 pounds round or topside steak, ¼ cup seasoned flour, 3 tablespoons butter, 1 medium-sized onion (chopped), 1 lb tomatoes (peeled and chopped), extra butter, 2 carrots (scraped and sliced), 2 pieces celery (chopped).

Dredge steak with seasoned flour, then rub in as much flour as steak will hold. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan, put in the steak. Brown thoroughly on both sides. Remove meat; brown onions, celery, and carrots in remaining fat. Meanwhile, simmer tomatoes with a little extra butter 15 to 20 minutes. Return meat to the pan, add tomatoes; cover and simmer gently until tender. Remove meat to a platter. Skim fat from pan juices, serve juices as gravy.

6. Entrecote Macon

Six medium-sized entrecote steaks, 1 medium onion (chopped), ½ oz butter, ¼ oz flour, 1½ wine glasses red wine, 4 tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped), 1 tablespoon tomato puree, 1 clove garlic (crushed), 1 tablespoon dry sherry, 1 bay leaf, salt, pepper.

Saute onion in the butter until golden; add flour, cook gently a few minutes, then add wine and tomatoes. Add remaining ingredients except for steaks. Cover, simmer gently 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf, season to taste. Grill steaks until cooked to taste, pour the sauce over and serve immediately.

Note: Entrecote is a trimmed rib or sirloin steak.

7. Entrecote Bercy

Six entrecote steaks, 2 oz butter, 1 tablespoon chopped shallots, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.

Grill steaks until cooked to taste, then transfer to serving platter; keep warm. Melt butter, add parsley, shallots, salt and pepper. Mix well, pour over steaks. Serve immediately.

8. Minute Steaks with Parsley Butter

Quarter pound butter, ½cup finely chopped parsley, little extra butter, 8 small minute steaks.

Soften butter, blend in parsley; chill. Melt extra butter in heavy frying-pan, put in steaks and cook quickly on both sides, over high heat. Transfer to a serving platter, top with pats of parsley butter. Serve immediately.

9. Steak Diane

Six pieces fillet steak, salt, and pepper, 2 to 4 oz butter, 1 large clove garlic (chopped), 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, Worcester sauce.

Trim steaks, pound with a mallet. Dust with pepper. Melt 2 oz butter in frying-pan (be prepared to renew butter liberally). When butter is sizzling, add the first piece of steak. After 40 seconds (for rare steak), turn over. Sprinkle with parsley and garlic. Add salt, moderate dash of Worcester sauce, moving steak round to distribute the sauce. Transfer steak to a hot platter, pour over sauce from the pan. Serve immediately. Add more butter to the pan and proceed as before, one steak at a time.

10. Steak Diane Flambe

For each serving allow: One-piece fillet or sirloin steak, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon heated brandy, 2 tablespoons sherry, extra tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon chopped chives.

Trim steak, pound with a mallet. Heat butter in frying-pan, put in steak and cook quickly, turning once. Pour over the brandy and ignite. Add sherry, extra butter, and chives. Place steak on serving-dish, pour over pan juices. Serve immediately.

11. Brandied Minute Steaks

Six-minute steaks, 2 oz butter, ¼ cup brandy, ¼ pint cream, salt, pepper.

Cook steaks in heated butter until golden brown on each side. Heat brandy, ignite, and pour over steaks; allow to burn out. Stir in cream and reheat without boiling. Season to taste; serve immediately.

12. Steak and Mushrooms Gourmet

Four or six pieces steak, 2 tablespoons butter, ½ lb mushrooms (sliced), 1 onion (chopped), salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons dry red wine.

Saute mushrooms and onion in melted butter 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add wine. Place each steak in the center of the piece of aluminum foil, turn up edges. Divide mushroom mixture evenly over steaks. Fold foil over, seal securely. Place on a baking sheet, bake in moderate oven 30 minutes. Season to taste.

13. Steak with Onions

Six good-sized T-bone steaks, 4 or 5 onions, 2 oz butter, salt, pepper.

Grill steaks until cooked to taste. Meanwhile, slice onions and cook in melted butter until soft and golden. Season steaks to taste with salt and pepper, place on serving platter. Top with the onions, serve immediately.

14. Steak Mirabeau

A thick piece of T-bone or rump steak (about 1½ lb ), 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon anchovy paste, freshly pepper, anchovy fillets, sliced stuff olives, oil, melted butter.

Mash butter and flour to smooth paste, add anchovy paste and blend well. Spread mixture over steak, season with pepper, grill on one side in the usual manner. Remove steak from griller, turn over, make a lattice of thinly sliced anchovy fillets on the uncooked side. Fill each square with a slice of olive, brush with oil, and grill to taste. Serve with melted butter poured over.

15. Marinated Rump Steak

Individual portions of rump steak, salt, pepper. Marinade for each steak: ¼ cup oil, a small piece of crushed garlic, juice of ½ lemon.

Combine ingredients for marinade pour over steaks. Let stand 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally. Drain steaks, pat dry; grill until cooked to taste. Season and serve.

16. Steak Au Poivre

Four or six thick pieces rump or fillet steak, 2 tablespoons peppercorns, butter, baked potatoes, green salad.

Trim steaks (they should be at least 1 in thick), tie into a round shape. Crush peppercorns with a rolling pin, sprinkle over steak; crush pepper into the steak with the heel of the hand. Let stand 30 minutes, brush with melted butter. Grill to taste. Serve with a baked potato, green salad.

17. Hungarian Beefsteaks

Six small pieces of steak (rump or round steak could be used), seasoned flour, 2 oz butter, 1 carrot (chopped), 1 small onion (chopped), 2 stalks celery (chopped), 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1 dessertspoon flour, stock, 1½ cups sour cream, 1 tablespoon chopped capers.

Pound steaks until very thin, dust with seasoned flour. Saute carrot, onion, and celery in little butter until soft; add steaks, brown on both sides. Remove meat, stir in flour, cook 5 to 10 minutes. Return meat to the pan, add stock barely to cover; simmer until meat is tender. Skim off fat, add sour cream, capers, parsley; heat through without boiling. Serve with noodles.

18. Steak Tartare Sandwiches

Lean minced steak, salt, pepper, bread dices, melted butter.

Season the minced, uncooked steak with salt and pepper, spread evenly (about ¼ in thick) on slices of unbuttered bread. Top with another slice of bread, also unbuttered, brush outside of sandwiches with melted butter. Toast sandwiches rather slowly until golden brown; serve immediately.

19. Steak A La Bordelaise

Six pieces fillet, rump, or sirloin steak, melted butter, ½ onion (chopped), 2 shallots (chopped), 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon flour, ¼ pint dry red wine, salt, pepper, little beef marrow (this can be omitted).

Trim steaks, brush with melted butter. Place under the heated griller, cook until done to taste; keep warm. Meanwhile, saute onion, shallots and parsley in heated oil until soft and golden. Stir in flour, gradually add wine. Stir over high heat until sauce boils, reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes; season to taste. Poach marrow in a little hot water, slice and add to the sauce. Pour over steaks, serve immediately.

20. Carpetbag Steak

Piece of steak (rump or sirloin) at least 2 in thick, cut in one piece, and weighing about 3 lb, about 20 small oysters, salt, pepper, melted butter.

Make a pocket inside of the steak, sprinkle pocket with salt and pepper. Stuff with the oysters, sew up or fasten with skewers. Brush steak with melted butter, cook 10 to 15 minutes on each side under the hot griller. Remove steak to a platter, cut into serving portions, serve immediately.

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