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Eating well – Preparing a good steak | Nikola Howard

I wrote this over on my general life-coaching website, but it’s all about low-carbing! Enjoy.

Source: Eating well – Preparing a good steak | Nikola Howard


How I cook steak: When your ingredients are good, cooking them well is only respectful to the animal. I’ve found a method that gives me never fail excellent results – The basis of this method is to cook for half the cooking time in an open pan, and half in a closed space.

I like Rib-eye myself, but this method works well for Rump, Sirloin & Fillet also. I cook my steak rare, so the timings below are for that –  I’ve added some notes in the comments for cooking to medium and above.

Take the steak out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you are going to cook it – it needs to come to room temp. Season it with pepper & salt.

The key to the frying is a good heavy based non-stick or well seasoned to be non-stick pan. Heat the pan on the hob until HOT – do not add any oil.

Lay the meat straight into hot pan. If the cut is of an average thickness (about 1.5cm), leave it alone for 1 minute. Do not prod, poke or otherwise disturb it during this time, as the mixture of direct high heat and no movement caramelises the sugars in the meat, giving a tasty brown crust.

Flip it and leave it again for 1 minute. Again, no poking or prodding – let the maillard reaction do its funky thang!

steak dry pan fliped once

If the steak is a thin cut,  I decrease the timings  by 30 secs each side, if the steak is thick, increase by 30 if thick. I also open the kitchen window, cos it’s gets a bit steamy/smoky!

Once done, remove the pan from heat and pop it onto a trivet or heatproof mat and slap a lid on it for a further 2 minutes. As the pan is still very hot, the cooking will continue, and the lid is trapping moisture, which steams the meat –  which you want to retain a juicy steak.

Once this is done, remove the steak to a warmed plate and rest for twice as long as you cooked it. Do not miss out the resting period; Resting relaxes the meat fibres, allows the steak to rebalance and release the juice and blood it is holding in the centre back out into the fibres, which makes for a juicer and more tasty eating experience.

resting steak de-juicing

Don’t believe me? Here is the science to prove that a rested steak is 7% more tasty.

What to do whilst the steak rests? Steam some broccoli or other green veg to go with the meat and make a cream based sauce (the best steak sauce IMHO):

Over high heat, de-glase the steak pan with good big splash of Red Wine, grind of pepper, splash of Balsamic and/or Worcester sauce.deglasing the pan

Allow to reduce until that is “not much liquid” then add ~200ml Double cream.

adding cream to reduced wine

Stir continuously and scrape down pan sides to incorporate the caramelised cream for a few mins (Maillard reactions again!), then add the meat juices from the rested steakadding meat juices to the sauce and then stir again until sauce is reduced to “glossy and rather thick”.
reduced and glossy cream sauce Take off heat immediately at this point and pour over your steak and broccoli.

steak with veggies and sauce

Don’t leave it to sit in the pan, and/or leave it not stirred as the extra heat will make it split. It also splits if you overcook/reduce it too far, but it still tastes really good, even if it not looks a touch unattractive. You can bring it back by adding another good splash of cold cream ad stirring manically, but then you may have to reduce it again some more.

Also, if you are wondering why I didn’t season it, that’s because I already did, when I added the meat juices. The meat juices carry some of the seasoning from the steak.

This method of making tasty steak, veggies and sauce for dinner never fail me. Leave me a comment below about your experience with cooking steak and we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!

2 comments

  1. As an addendum: If you are going for anything above rare, increase the timings above by a minute each side for various done-ness as desired. Also, reduce heat to medium after first two minutes then flip as many times as needed for each extra minute to get your level of done-ness.

    Also, the pan will cool too much in the “closed space” stage before that’s done if you just leave it lidded on a trivet. At this point you have to use the oven at at least 220C to finish the cooking.

    Note that if you are using the oven, your pan needs to have a heat-resistant handle.
    WEAR AN OVEN GLOVE, put it on your hand as soon as you pop the pan in the oven so you do not forget to wear it and do not take it off until your steak is on the plate and served.
    (I’ve given myself some nasty burns doing this…)

    Rare – Open Pan 2 minutes – 1 each side & 1 flip, then closed pan for 2 minutes – Rest 4-6 minutes
    Medium Rare – Open 4 minutes (2 each side, 2 flips), closed 4 Mins – Rest 8-10 minutes
    Medium – Open 6 minutes (3 each side, 3 flips), 6 mins in the oven – Rest 12-14 minutes
    Well-done – 8 minutes (4 mins, 4 flips) and 8 mins in the oven – Rest 16-18 minutes

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