This is no time for dainty fare. With much of the past week spent below zero here in Chicago, I needed something substantial, rich, and warming. Though I didn't have time for a hefty stew, I still dreamt of a thick red wine based sauce. That's how I ended up with this recipe from Gourmet. It's a straight-forward steak with red wine sauce that tastes a little more haughty than the money I spent on it. Skirt steak can be a real steal, and so can a nice bottle of cheap Spanish red.
Making a good pan sauce takes a little practice and patience. I used to just haphazardly glug the wine in the skillet the moment I removed the meat. The liquid would instantly vaporize and burn, and what was left was both unpalatably bitter and too fatty. The key, I've found, is to pour off most of the fat that has pooled from cooking the steaks, and then to let the pan hang out off the heat for at least a minute or two. Then it's ready for the deglazing liquid, which will reduce to a luxurious sauce worth eating straight from the pan with a spoon.
Skirt Steak with Red Wine Sauce
- 3/4 pound skirt steak
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the salt and a pinch of black pepper on the steak. Place it in the pan and cook it for 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set aside.
Pour off any fat in the skillet, leaving the browned bits. Turn off the heat and let the pan cool down for minute. Then turn the heat to medium and add the wine, thyme, bay leaf, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Dislodge any brown bits that have stuck to the pan. Reduce mixture by half, which should take about 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf and thyme, and add the butter. Stir until the butter has incorporated into the sauce. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Thinly slice the steak against the grain. Spoon the sauce over top and serve.