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    Steak with Brandy Pan Sauce

    I'll probably spend the rest of my life searching to the perfect steak pan sauce. I usually marinade the steaks and then make a side sauce while I grill them, but a pan sauce is much deeper and at the same time more subtle (somehow). This one isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn good.

    A couple notes about this first. 1) Pan grilling will fill your house with smoke. Open the windows, turn on the fan, be ready to silence the smoke alarm. 2) It's easy to get the pan too hot and burn the steaks a bit. Don't worry about it. It happens. 4) Don't be moving the steaks around in the pan. Put them in and walk away. You need to create a crust. 5) Make sure your pan is big enough. If the steaks are pressed together they'll steam instead of sear. Leave about 1/2 inch between each. 6) Don't use a non-stick pan. 7) If your steaks are too thick this method doesn't work too well. They'll end up very rare in the middle.

    • 2 rib eye steaks, 1 1/4 inch thick
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1/3 cup chopped shallots (about 2 medium)
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 cup brandy
    • 3/4 cup chicken stock (preferably not canned)
    • 2 cloves garlic (pressed)
    • juice of 1/2 lemon
    • 1/2 tablespoon prepared whole grain mustard
    • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 sm serrano pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 Tbsp butter (or 2 whatever)

    1. Get all your ingredients ready and at hand. Turn the burner to high and leave the pan there for several minutes. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper and pat it in.

    2. Turn the burner down to medium high and let the element wind down for 15 seconds or so. If you have a gas stove you may snicker and skip the wait. While the pan is still very hot place the steaks in the pan. Don't move them for 4 minutes. I warned you about the smoke. Don't panic as your apartment fills with smoke. Clean air can still be found near the floor. The idea is to create a sort of crunchy crust and sear in the juices. This doesn't really happen if you mess with them.

    3. After 4 minutes use tongs to flip the steaks over. Let them cook for another 4-5 minutes. You can cut into the center to see if they are cooked, but keep in mind that they'll cook quite a bit more after you take them off the heat. When you feel the time is right, put the steaks on a plate in a warm (not hot!) oven.

    4. Leave the burner on, but take the pan off and then add the shallots and sugar to the fat in the pan. Saute off the heat for a minute until the shallots are cooked through.

    5. Put the pan back on the heat and add the brandy and chicken stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrap loose all the tasty bits on the bottom of the pan. Some of them may not want to be scrapped loose. Don't worry about that. Turn the heat up to not quite high and let the liquid reduce to about 1/3. Stir frequently. After it's reduced add the mustard, garlic, and lemon juice. Fish out all the lemon seeds you squeezed into the sauce by mistake. Let that cook for a minute.

    6. Toss in the parsley and chopped pepper. Take off the heat and add the butter in about 4 pieces. Swirl the pan while the butter melts to incorporate. Most recipes call for 2-3 tablespoons butter, but only use 1. It tastes better with 2-3. If the idea of heart disease and stroke don't bother you, I suggest going with 2-3.

    7. And you're done! Pour the sauce over the steaks. Dig in.

    Any comments? Let me know and I'll include them below.

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