Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Recipe: Perfect Black Currant Steak Sauce

A good upbringing means not that you won't spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won't notice it when someone else does. – Anton Chekhov 

Black currants are delicious. So is black currant jelly. Photo: mwri, Flickr ccl
About a week ago I was lucky enough to find cap-off rib eye steaks on sale (50% off!) at a local grocery. Since you have to take a second mortgage out to purchase steak most of the time I quickly nabbed a package and put them in the freezer. And forgot about them.

Before leaving for work I usually check the freezer to see what can thaw out to have for dinner in the evening. This day I pulled out the steaks. The freezer is a little bit packed and they were in the way…

Sauce just coming to a boil.
This time of year, unless you're a hardcore barbecue enthusiast, the logical place to prepare them is under the broiler. So one has to think… the oven is already on. What can I make for side dishes that can be done at the same time? 

I opted for roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and Hubbard squash. Veggies take about 45 minutes at 425°F. The steak broils for about 16. Not a perfect match, but nothing quite hits the spot like roasted veggies. 

I had one last need. What goes on the steak? There are lots of options, that is for certain. My all time favorite is Béarnaise sauce (see here), but I didn't want to go through the process of making it. It's not difficult, just "involved." The packaged powder is awful, regardless of brand. Never buy it. It's not the same at all.

You can also make balsamic caramelized onions quite easily. That was a possibility. I also like Worcestershire sauce on steak, but it can be a little strong. If I could only combine the onion and Worcestershire...

There's a sauce named after the Duke of Cumberland that is currant-based and used with lamb. It's very good. So desire and knowledge were my starting points. This sauce turned out extremely well – velvety, smooth, fruity and somewhat vinegary. 

Sauce after reduction.
I used a full 1 tsp of cayenne. It was spicy, but matched the tender broiled steak to perfection. To perfection I say.

You "finish" the sauce by whisking in butter after cooking. The butter adds a creamy smoothness, but if you decide not to add it the sauce will still be fine.

This recipe makes more than enough so I now have leftovers in the refrigerator to deal with. I'm sure I can either use it "as is" again or transform it somehow. Stay tuned for a transformation in the week ahead. That's the way I'm leaning right now. Maybe a simmering sauce…

The sauce has a decent amount of vinegar so will probably keep sealed in the refrigerator for much more than 1 week. I have seen similar vinegar-based sauces that state upwards of one month. 

I doubt this sauce would last that long before you want to use it again!

Black Currant Steak Sauce
Prep: 2 min  |  Cook: 10-12 min  |  Yield: about 3/4 cup
This sauce was delicious. I can't wait to use it again.
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup black currant jelly
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp butter

This sauce is simplicity itself. Combine all the ingredients – except for the butter – in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Stir often so it doesn't stick to the pan.

At about 10 minutes the sauce will be noticeably thicker. It will thicken up more as it cools.

Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter and serve.


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