My sweet sweet man sent me some flowers today – just ‘cuz – and to reward him I thought he needed him a manly man steak, served with tenderness. Whole Foods fit the bill, by providing some lovely veal rib steaks at a mere $14.99/lb ($8 off!), which I served with beautiful twin sweet potatoes, fresh spinach, and a rich soy wild mushroom cream sauce. This is one of my fav-o-rite gravies – it goes perfectly with pan seared tuna steaks, or beef, or chicken breasts, or pork chops. And this was one dy-no-mite dinner!
What you’ll need, for two (for $36):
Two 10-12oz bone in veal rib chops
1lb mixed fresh wild mushrooms (these are chanterelle, Portobello, and wood ear)
2oz fresh chives
1lb fresh leaf spinach
1 cup heavy cream
pale dry sherry
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2lb sweet potatoes (not pictured, because they’re already roasting)
My sweet potatoes have been in the oven on 400° degrees for about an hour, so I’m ready for the last 40 minutes of my meal’s preparation. Here’s the order in which I’ll cook everything… you’ll see.
Add a few tablespoons of EVOO to a hot skillet.
Add your steaks, seasoned with salt and pepper, to the hot oil. We’re using the “flip-every-minute” method, which makes a perfect pan-seared steak every time, but it also mean you have to hover. Sear for one minute…
… until the down-side edges just start to brown.
Then flip. Sear for one minute.
Then flip. Do this every minute for 5-7 minutes, depending upon the level of doneness (pinkness? uncookédness?) you want. I want medium rare, so I flip 5 times total.
If your steaks are very thick like these, consider standing them up along their edges, holding them together with tongs if necessary.
If one of your steaks is significantly thicker than the other (was was my husband’s, ‘cuz he’s a MAN, baby—and he likes his more cooked than I like mine), rest your thinner, already-almost-perfectlycooked steak atop your thicker, still-needs-a-bit-more-time steak for the last moment or two of cooking, to maintain the heat while you finish the rest of your meal.
Remove your steaks to a plate (or bowl, if you can’t reach the plates and your sous chef husband is mashing sweet potatoes and can’t get them for you), to rest, allowing any juices to accumulate. They need a few minutes to settle, which will make their sweet soft meat even more succulent. In the pan with all the reserved juices and oil, add your mushrooms and stir well.
Add about 1 cup of pale dry sherry (or mirin, if you have it).
Let the fresh mushrooms suck up all that sweet wine, reducing it to a thick sauce.
Then add about ½ cup of soy sauce, and let the fresh mushrooms suck up all that salty brew, reducing it to a thick sauce.
Whoops! Sorry, Clayton! He’s gonna have to clean this later. I’ll try to make it worth it.
Meanwhile, in the background, melt a tablespoon of butter or EVOO and add your pound of cleaned spinach leaves. Toss well to sear and melt. In the foreground, your mushrooms, sherry, and soy are *so* sexing it up.
Add cream. ‘Nuff said. This is about a cup of heavy cream. Stir well, heating through to a boil to thicken, until the back of your wooden spoon turned through emerges nicely coated. For a final swirl of flavor, when you plate your chops, spill the savory drippings from the bottom of their holding bowl into your simmering sauce, and stir well. Remove from heat and allow to thicken for a moment.
Plate your mashed. And mountain your seared.
Tender veal chops nestled between twin mountains of green and gold, slathered in a rich cream sauce redolent of earth and savor. A hearty meal of the first order, enrobed in delight, filled with the perfect balance of sweet and salty, herbaceous and creamy, tender sinew, pillowy fluff, and stemmy toothsome greens. Food for the heart this is – metaphorically speaking, at least. Nutritionists beware: that’s the perspective that best suits my world-view.