And the winner is… STEAK!
Impostor Southwestern Steak Dinner
1.5lb steak—Sirloin or T-Bone
8oz canned corn
fresh turnip greens (not pictured)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (alternately, use chili powder)
Cooked rice (to be done simultaneously—I went with basmati)
I am about to admit something quite—QUITE—embarrassing. I was, until recently and in spite of numerous sincere efforts, just plain BAD at cooking steak. I didn’t do a very good job baking, broiling, or pan-frying it. Part of the reason may have been that my “wing-it” style just doesn’t mesh with something that has an ideal cooking temperature resulting in a medium level of doneness.
I haven’t posted any failures on A Fork and A Bowl thus far, and this is not one of them. But as you make this recipe, consider that it was preceded by about 11 relatively unsuccessful ventures, and rejoice in the fact that you won’t have to go through what I did. Furthermore, the reason I have used the word “Impostor” in the name of this dish is because I have no idea what people in the Southwest US actually eat, nor how they prepare foods. But I do know they eat corn and beans. So there you have it.
A quick heads up: the way I prepared this meal actually involves a large (for me) number of dishes. While this might go against my generally “Fork and Bowl” nature, there is a good lesson contained in this recipe, which is that timing is everything. Cold rice is gross; starting the meat too early means it will end up overcooked (which was often my previous problem); depending on how crappy or amazing your oven is, preheating takes forever… so nailing down how to arrange steps is a good thing for everyone to learn. Starting with me.
Step 1: Trim excess fat off steak. Cut into pieces three inches wide and marinate in salt (1/4 tsp is plenty), pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. About 1:1 ratio of oil and vinegar… you don’t have to use a lot, just flip the steaks every five minutes or so to make sure they’re soaking evenly.
Step 2: Cook beans in your non-stick pan, which you will later be using to fry steaks. I used beans that I’d rehydrated the previous night in the fridge in a ziploc bag of water, but canned will also work—just drain well and rinse them with cold water before using. Cover beans in water and cook at medium heat (low boil) about twenty minutes.
Step 3: While beans are cooking, make rice. I’m sure you can figure this part out. Also, all rice packaging already has directions on it.
Step 4: While the rice is making (let’s be honest, rice pretty much makes itself, doesn’t it?), preheat oven to 375F. Dice bell pepper, chop turnip greens, slice scallions, and mince garlic* (this can all be done with a paring knife if you’re lazy/looking to do fewer dishes). Open can of corn and drain excess water.
Step 4: Butter a 13″x9″ pan (or drizzle a bit of canola/olive oil on the bottom), scoop rice in, scoop beans on top (should be almost or completely cooked by this point), and then cover with veggies and minced garlic in a fancy way. Sprinkle with a little oil and smoked paprika, and stick in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Step 5: Meanwhile, rinse your pan and pan-fry steak—pre-heat your (preferably non-stick, but whatever) pan to medium-high, and throw steaks on there, pouring remaining marinade over top. I covered the pan while cooking to get the outside nice and browned, while leaving a nice pink center because I like my steak medium for this kind of thing. Now that I know how to cook it, that is. Flip once, cooking three to four minutes per side (you can check for your preferred level of doneness by cutting open one piece near the center to look for pink) for medium.
Step 6: Assemble—scoop rice/veggies onto plate, top with steak, and drizzle some of remaining meat juice over top for maximum flavor—and eat! Pretend you’re in the Southwest where it’s warm this time of year. Unless you actually are in the Southwest, in which case, look—there’s a mesa outside your window!
This dish can serve three people a very satisfying amount of food for dinner. However, I prefer to just share it with one person, because then you have enough leftovers for two wonderful lunches!
n.b.: continued appreciation to Craig at Lucid Eye Studio for the outstanding photography!
*mincing garlic, if you haven’t done it before, can make your fingers smell strongly of said substance. The way I prefer to do it is to chop the ends off of the clove, then smash it with the broad side of my knife. After that, it’s easy to remove the outer layer and dice the remaining garlic without becoming overly pungent.