I may love food and cooking and wine tasting and recipes, but I’m no chef. Sure, I can whip up a few decent dishes that look moderately impressive, like risotto, Thai curry or roasted seasonal vegetables. And I make a mean vegetable omelet. But if I’m being honest, I never really know what I’m doing.
I call my mom often to ask questions about technique, flip through cookbooks to get ideas, and peruse the Food Network website multiple times per day (even while I’m watching it on TV). On top of that, I’m so used to cooking for just one or two people that I doubt I could handle a big family meal or even an impromptu dinner with friends. While I may not be the most experienced cook, I do know one thing: I darn well love doing it.
Which brings me to the purpose of this post: how to make simple, flavour-rich dishes that look gourmet but are actually easier than following the Healthy Choice Gourmet Steamers package directions. I have several tricks up my sleeve on how to make food that tastes amazing, looks impressive and is easy to make, but the one I’d like to share today is a crowd-pleasing, restaurant-worthy meal suitable for a dinner party, date night or casual supper. This meal is so easy that I don’t even want to call it a recipe; therefore, follow my basic instructions below on how to make a simple Pan-Seared Steak with Red Wine Sauce.
All you need is a couple of steaks, a bottle of red wine (some for cooking, the rest for drinking!), some shallots (those small bulbs that look like a cross between garlic and onion) and a handful of fresh herbs such as Italian parsley or thyme.
Start by searing the steaks in hot oil to form a nice crust on either side. The key to getting a good sear is to leave the meat be (no poking, shifting or lifting!) for a few minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and broil for several more minutes until done to your liking. Aim for medium rare, since no one likes to eat tough, leathery meat. Tent with foil and set aside.
To the same pan, add a bit more oil along with some chopped shallots and sauté until softened. Now reduce the heat to low, add ½ cup red wine and scrape up all the flavourful brown bits with a wooden spoon (this is called ‘deglazing’). Simmer for several more minutes until thickened, stir in a bit of butter and add some chopped parsley at the very last minute. Slice the steak against the grain, plate it, and pour the sauce overtop. You could even spoon the sauce on the place in an artful, chef-like manner and then fan the steak over it. Serve with a simple salad of mixed greens with oil and vinegar dressing. You can even take the menu a step further and whip up some roasted rosemary potatoes as a side dish. Simply halve mini red potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh or dried rosemary and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes.
And that’s it. Fast, simple and oh so gourmet!