A friend of mine once told me that at Ruth Chris, the popular national steakhouse chain, the chef melts a stick of butter over every ribeye, porterhouse, and T-bone as it leaves the kitchen. It's probably an exaggeration (an entire stick?!), but it's true that a little extra fat, melted over the meat just before serving, renders it especially flavorful and luxurious.
In this recipe for Grilled Steak with Red Wine Sauce and Bone Marrow, excerpted from Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, author Jennifer McLagan one-ups Ruth Chris by replacing the butter with bone marrow. As she states, "It really doesn't get much better than this...The rich, fatty marrow melts over the warm steak slices, enriching the beef and melting into the wine sauce."
To prepare this dish, you will need two cups of concentrated veal stock, which is easy to make. Simply simmer four cups of good veal stock (preferably homemade and low-sodium) until it is reduced by half. You can prepare the red wine sauce up to a day in advance, just reheat it in a small pan while the cooked steaks are resting.
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Grilled Steak with Red Wine Sauce and Bone Marrow
- 2 cups red wine
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
- 2 cups concentrated veal stock
- 2 bone-in rib steaks, each 3 inches thick
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 pieces whole bone marrow (see note)
Combine the wine, shallots, carrot, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and boil gently until the liquid is reduced to 2/3 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the veal stock and continue to boil gently until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing hard against the solids to extract all the liquid. The sauce can be stored for up to a day in the refrigerator.
One hour before cooking, remove the steaks from the refrigerator.
Preheat the grill or broiler to high.
Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Sear the steaks for 1 minute per side. Lower the heat or move the grill rack farther away from the heat and continue to cook the steaks, turning once, until a kitchen thermometer registers 120º to 125ºF for medium-rare, 10 to 14 minutes. Let the steaks rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes. Remember, during this time the internal temperature of the steak will rise by about 5ºF.
While the meat is resting, reheat the sauce over medium-low heat. Slice the marrow into 1/2 inch slices and poach them in simmering salted water until translucent and no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Drain the marrow on paper towels.
Cut the meat from the bone and slice it thickly. Top the sliced meat with the poached marrow and serve with the sauce.
Note: Once purchased from the butcher, raw marrow bones must be soaked for 12 to 24 hours in salted water to extract the blood. Place the bones in a large dish of ice water to cover, and add 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt. Refrigerate, changing the water 4 to 6 times (be sure to add 2 more tablespoons of salt with each change).