Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vodka-Marinated Steak

Photo 007smThis past weekend, I had two girlfriends over for a long overdue dinner and wiine dance party. Given that I had invited them over on the Friday, I needed to be able to get home from work (I work until 6pm) and turn something around relatively quickly for their arrival at 7pm. While time wasn’t necessarily on my side in terms of prep, I really didn’t want to just throw something together or, an even worse sin since starting this blog, order something in! They were so looking forward to something homemade.

So, this is what I came up with… Easy, fast and impressive enough for Friday night with the girls!

Vodka-Marinated Steak with Dilled Potatoes and Broccolette


For the steak:
2 pounds of a marinating steak – Use what your budget can afford. The vodka, while not adding loads of flavour on its own, will tenderize the most miserable of meats.
1/2 cup vodka
1 tablespoon maldon salt
1 tablespoon herbes de provence (or 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp sage and 1/2 tsp rosemary… or what you have in the cupboard!)
~20 cracks of pepper
4 cloves of garlic

Smash the garlic. Add your salt and herbs. Dump in your vodka. Crack that pepper. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a plastic bag, then smush your meat around in it. Let this sit overnight (or longer).

Nigella has a vodka-marinated steak using fresh herbes, more vodka and some oil. Check it out in Feast.

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For the potatoes:
1 x 2 pound bag of those wonderful small red creamer potatoes
1/3 cup cream
1-2 tablespoons dill
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the broccolette:
1 bunch of broccolette
Ummmm… that’s really it. hahahha. Maybe some olive oil and salt and pepper.

Ok. So, you race in the door on the night of your party. You didn’t get out of work on time. NIGHTMARE! Now, you have a mere 30 minutes before your guests arrive. Sheer hostessing panic ensues.

Breathe. Set your bag down. Walk through the house and make sure things are in order, grabbing a bottle of wine from the one cabinet and a bottle of febreeze from the cupboard as you go. Spritz your house and pretend like your place was never anything but immaculate. Now pour yourself a glass of wine and get down to it.

Take your meat from the fridge to take the chill off. Set your potatoes in a pot and fill with cold water. Set to boil and cook the potatoes until tender. This should take about 15 minutes… but check them to see if your potatoes cooked faster.

Clean your broccolette (a combo of broccoli and kale – yum!) and set in a pan with a little bit of water to steam. Don’t turn this on yet!
Heat your grill pan to medium-high. I was going to do these on the  barbeque but a last minute cold snap deterred me. As your guests arrive, pour each of them a glass of wine and then put your meat on the grill (whichever grill you ended up using). I cooked the meat first on one side for about 1-2 minutes, then flipped to the other. Pour the rest of the marinade over the cooking meat, then cover for those last few minutes. These steaks were cooked to a bit past rare, which worked for my guests.

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Remove the meat from the heat and let it rest for a few moments before thinly slicing it. While the meat is resting, put the broccolette on to the heat to steam (once the water is boiling, it only takes about 6 minutes or so to steam) and tend to your potatoes. Drain your potatoes and put back on the heat, though lower it to medium/medium-low. Add your chopped dill, salt and pepper and 1/3 cup of cream. Stir and cover for about 6 minutes or so, giving the cream some time to thicken (the starch from the potatoes helps the cream along… but it may need a few more minutes, depending on your heat level and how much cream you decided to add). Stir to ensure that all potatoes are covered… my potatoes were so tender that they started to smash a bit as I stirred, which just gave the cream more pockets and divots to rest in.

There really isn’t a lot of fussing and mussing to get this meal to the table. A bit of flipping of the steaks, some chopping of herbs, stir here, stir there, slice and plate. I like to serve this meal family-style and everyone can dish up accordingly. 
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Several hours and several bottles of wine later, there was only a few slices of meat and two or three pieces of broccolette remaining… Just enough for my brunch the next day. :)

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