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Posts Tagged ‘steak’

2 1/4lbs of porterhouse lightly aged and seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper, browned on a hot, hot, hot cast iron skillet, then wrapped in foil with butter, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, Meyer lemon zest and shoved in a low-temp oven to slow cook for an hour.  And in the last act, the steak rested before I ate it or even cut it.  Because you always let it rest.

Oh, there was a side too: A hybrid caprese/panzanella salad composed of toasted bread in olive oil, salt and pepper, with tomatoes, mozzarella, and dressed with thyme, rosemary, Meyer lemon juice/zest, and olive oil.

Wine: R. Lopez Heredia’s Viña Bosconia 2004

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Notes:

While eating red meat all the time is certainly frowned upon in health and environmentally conscious circles, I find it entirely appropriate and perhaps the most luxurious thing one can do to have a perfectly cooked steak once in awhile.  Once in a blue moon may be too much time in between, but certainly no more than once every full moon.  Vegetarian and Vegan concerns aside, there’s nothing quite like the taste of highly saturated animal fat melting in your mouth.

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I had to include this shot showing the marbling on the steak because it’s my job to make you jealous in an educational way.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with various forms of cooking a thick steak, which of course I’ve always had with wine. I can say emphatically that if someone tells you you have to pair a certain wine with a steak they are most certainly trying to sell you something.  A wonderfully cooked steak, that has a bit of semi-crunchy texture on the exterior from the Maillard reaction (Which doesn’t “seal in the juices” or whatever people tell you) and a juicy interior regardless of any additional herbs and spices that have been added can go with a myriad of wines.  This steak could have gone wonderfully with a heavier bodied white that carried lemony aromas, or a sparkling wine, or a dry rosé, or one of a hundred different red wines.  Having said that, this steak was wonderfully accompanied by the Viña Bosconia because it is also a fabulous wine.  It’s mostly Tempranillo, as all riveting red Riojas are, and this one was displaying more bright red fruit flavors while the earthier flavors played back up.  Surprising myself, I actually let this wine sit in a decanter for a full hour before even looking at it.  That’s willpower.

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Rating: 5/5

A 1lb New York Strip steak cooked for 3hrs Sous Vide in butter, shallots and thyme then browned on the skillet.  Side of (who cares really when you have a piece of meat that good?) sauteed kale and mushrooms.

Wine: Dusted Valley Stained Tooth Syrah 2009

Notes: 

There are many ways to cook a steak, but only a small few if you want it to be delicious.  My preferred method is to use a combination of iron skillet and in-oven cooking.  However, if you have the time, I recommend venturing into sous vide territory.  The expression literally means ‘under vaccuum’ and is generally how a lot of of high-end restaurants do their exquisite pieces of meat.  You seal the meat up with a fat (butter in this case) and some assorted herbs and spices to your liking, remove all air and then submerge the package into water that is the exact temperature that you want the meat done at for however long it takes to cook the meat (An hour per inch thickness at minimum is a good rule of thumb, but you can let it sit in there for as long as you want).  Don’t forget to reserve the juices for dipping after! Now, the high-end restaurants have very expensive contraptions that make this process insanely easy, but with a little McGuyver-ing you can do it with a heavy duty freezer back, a big pot and a temperature probe.  There are plenty of on-line resources for this one so have at it and for a special treat, try poaching an egg sous vide style.  But back to the wine and food experience!

The steak was cooked to a medium-rare level which is how I like them and was oh-so-tender with a dash of finishing salt just before I dove into it.  The wine was a big, fruit-forward Syrah from the lovely folks at Dusted Valley with plenty of tannin and acid which was all beginning to come together nicely here at the beginning of 2012.  I’ve been loving the Washington state Syrahs these days and this is no exception.  The base of this wine is Syrah and Viognier, the blend that originated and was made popular by Northern Rhone.  This blend is also doing spectacularly down in Aussie-land as I’ve featured before.  However, Dusted Valley takes a quick trip down to Southern Rhone and blend in some small amounts of Grenache and Counoise which gives it a bit more depth.  Any remaining tannin that would have stuck out was absolved by the light salt application and you are left with are the dark fruits and a bit of earthiness working with the mushrooms.  Simple meal, wonderful results.  For the steak lover, this is pretty much the tops.

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Rating: 5/5

A nice thick Ribeye Steak marinated and seasoned then put on the grill with a side of steamed broccoli and wheat berries.

Wine: Errazuriz Single Vineyard Syrah 2007

Notes:

Holy buckets was this steak delicious!  100% pure grass-fed beef and grilled to the cooked side of medium-rare.  The meal itself was fairly simple and the marbling on the steak softened so nicely that it didn’t require an overly tannic red to enjoy.  A great piece of steak that is cooked to that melt-in-your-mouth perfection really doesn’t need a Cabernet Sauvignon with it no matter what you’re friend’s cousin thinks who claims to know everything about wine.  Tannins, those polyphenols found in the solid parts of grapes (and thus in red wine) and from oak aging help break down the fatty parts of meats.  Too much tannin and too little fat results in that cottony feeling in your mouth and too much astringency.  Too little tannin and too much fat results in you chewing on that gristle and hoping you don’t choke.  Given the prevalence of bad steaks cooked in America, I believe the over-generalization of having a Cab. Sauv. with your steak came about.  While you certainly want a big Cab. Sauv. with a big, tough steak, my ideal piece of red meat lays in succulence.  Marinade and/or slow cooking is the only way to go if you have a good cut.  However, if you’re invited to a backyard BBQ and you’re uncertain of the hosts grilling skills, bring a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon.  You can at least cover the taste if you have to choke it down.  However, the Single Vineyard label from Errazuriz produces a delicious Syrah with a bit of complexity behind it and a decent finish to add to the succulence of a perfectly cooked steak.

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