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New Orleans Cut Strip Sirloin Steak with True Bordelaise Sauce

My favorite cut of beef is a bone-in strip sirloin, about twenty-four ounces. Of course, nobody should eat a steak that big. Not often, anyway. I usually split one that size, because there is no question that a thick steak cooks better than a thin one. This also works with porterhouse steaks cut about 40 ounces big. Those feed three to four people each.

The best way to cook steaks like this is on a very hot outdoor grill or in an equally hot black iron skillet. In either case, it will throw off a lot of smoke and perhaps even flames, so this is best done outside. You could also broil or pan-broil the steaks, but in either case use the highest heat you can.

Bordelaise sauce in New Orleans usually means a garlic-and-parsley butter. This version is closer to the French original, involving the most revered product of Bordeaux: red wine.

SirloinStrip

  • 1 bottle red Bordeaux wine or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 whole shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup intense beef or veal stock
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • Salt
  • 2 boneless strip sirloin steaks, about 24 oz. each, cut about two inches thick
  • 6 Tbs. butter

1. Make the sauce first; it will take about an hour, although most of this needs little attention. In a saucepan, bring the wine to a simmer boil with the thyme, peppercorns and shallots. Reduce slowly to 1 cup of liquid.

2. Cut each of the steaks into two pieces resembling filets mignon. Generously season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Leave them out on the counter, covered with a sheet of waxed paper, for about a half-hour.

Turn the oven on to 375 degrees, with a rack in the center.

3. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 Tbs. butter until it sizzles. Put the steaks into the pan and sear them. They will stick to the pan at first. When they begin to break loose, turn them and sear the other side. When both sides are seared, move the steaks to a metal baking pan in the preheated oven at 375 degrees.

4. Strain the wine and the stock into a skillet and bring to a light boil while whisking to dissolve the juices and browned bits from the steaks. Reduce by about half over medium heat.

5. Check the steaks with a meat thermometer. For medium rare, look for 130 degrees. When they reach that point, turn the oven off and leave the oven door ajar.

6. Remove the sauce skillet from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve the steaks with the sauce right over them, saving some for adding later.

Serves four.

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