Thanks for bearing with us last week! Work and life alike needed our undivided attention and we made the decision to take a week off. We’re back again, though, and glad to be here!
Let’s say it’s Friday night (I know it’s Monday morning, but go with it). Let’s also say you want to do something special for your man (assuming you have one; if you don’t, again, please just go with me here). Instead of going out to one of the usual restaurants, you want to make him something at home- something awesome. Something that will have him saying “Hey, love of my life, remember that time you made me ________? That was so amazing that I want to buy you ten yards of that expensive fabric because you deserve it.” Because really, let’s face it. It might sound cliche, but it’s true: the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Feed him something to knock him off his feet and he’ll be putty in you hands the rest of the night and hey, we’re crafty ladies, right? I’m sure we can all think of something to do with putty in our hands.
So what putty-inducing meal do you make? Spaghetti with some monster meatballs? It could work, but all that pasta might just put him in a food coma and send him off to la-la land for the night. Curried veggie stir fry? Not so much. Let’s face facts here. In this situation, there’s only one go to make a man weak in the knees: meat and potatoes… and not just any meat and potatoes. Pan seared steak with homemade mashed potatoes and a boozy, mushroomy sauce to drown it all it. That’s the way to fabric-buying, shoe-shopping man putty.
What’s even better is this recipe only takes about 30 minutes and uses only two pans. The steak is cooked in a cast iron skillet instead of on the grill, so you don’t even have to infringe on his man-grill territory.
Pan Seared NY Strip Steak with Homemade Mashed Potatoes and a Mushroom and Vermouth Cream Sauce
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
For the Steak
2 New York Strip Steaks (or any steaks you have handy), at room temperature
Salt and Pepper
For the Sauce
1 small onion or 2 shallots, diced small
1lb fresh mushrooms, lightly rinsed and chopped (I like Crimini)
3/4 c. Dry Vermouth
3 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper
For the Homemade Mashed Potatoes
4-5 large potatoes
1/2 c. milk
4 Tbsp. butter
Salt and Pepper
1. Peel and cube your potatoes into roughly 1″ cubes. The shape as important as most of them being a uniform size. Put the potatoes in a large sauce pan and cover with cold water. Add several pinches of salt to the water and place on high heat to boil. And please ignore all these yellow pictures: I forgot to white balance most of them.
2. Preheat your oven to 525 F (it’s hot, I know, but necessary). Place your cast iron skillet in the oven as it preheats. A word of caution: Only put cast iron and oven safe stainless steel into the oven . DO NOT place non-stick cookware in the oven. At high temperatures the Teflon (or other non-stick surface) can give off harmful fumes. Not good!
3. While your skillet preheats, lightly coat the steaks with olive oil, then generously coat with salt and pepper. Notice we’re using a plastic cutting board: never put raw meat on a wood surface! Wood is porous and will soak up anything (like salmonella from raw chicken). Plastic cutting boards can be disinfected and put through the dishwasher.
4. Carefully take your cast iron skillet out of the oven. It will be HOT (as in 525 degrees F hot), so make sure you use a thick oven mitt! Place it on the stove on high heat. Working quickly, place each of your steaks in the skillet. DO NOT TOUCH THEM FOR 30 SECONDS. Really. After 30 seconds, flip, and repeat the not-even-thinking-about-moving-the-steak-thing.
5. When the second thirty seconds is up, place the entire skillet, steaks and all, back into the oven for two minutes. After two minutes, turn the steaks a final time and pop them back into the oven. When they’re done, remove them from the skillet and allow them to rest (covered loosely with aluminum foil) for about 10 minutes. This will make medium-rare steaks. If you like you’re a little more done, add a little more cooking time in the oven.
6. Your potatoes should be boiling away right about now. To test doneness, pull out a large-ish potato cube. Place it on the counter and mash it with the back of a spoon. When it smooshes easily and smoothly, the taters are done and can be drained in a colander. Watch out for the steam! Return them to the pan (or a big bowl) and add the 4 tablespoons of butter. Let ’em mellow for a bit.
7. While the butter is melting in the potatoes, you can start the Vermouth sauce. Add a tiny bit of olive oil to the cast iron skillet. When it begins to look shimmery, add your onions/shallots and saute them until they start to look translucent, then add the mushrooms. Cook them until the mushrooms reduce in volume by about half. They should look like the ones below.
8. This meal is all about juggling the components. While the mushrooms and onions are doing their saute thing, add the cream, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Hit them with a hand mixer until they are light and fluffy and (mostly) lump free.
9. When the mushrooms are ready, turn off the heat to the pan and add the vermouth. Turn the heat back on and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen all the yummy brown bits stuck there. Allow the vermouth to reduce by about a third, then add the last few pats of butter. When they’re melted, stir to combine and Viola! Mushroom and Vermouth cream sauce!
10. To plate (the fancy way), start with a dollop of mashed potatoes. Place a steak on top of the mashed taters, then spoon plenty of the sauce over the top. Serve it with your man’s favorite beverage (or maybe a nice dry martini made with some of the same vermouth that’s in the sauce, like this one).
This meal should be enough to make your man putty in your hands. Who knows, you might even get lucky… he’ll do the dishes.
So what have y’all been up to in the last week?