Oregon, Jefferson and Peanut Clusters

Founded in 1859, Oregon is a quirky yet amazing place. It’s said that the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland is in Oregon. And the world’s largest living organism also calls Oregon home.

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National Drink Wine Day and a Good Steak – Can Life Be any Better?

Step one in observing Drink Wine Day – select a bottle or two of your favorite wine. Hubby likes a good Merlot so we always have a few bottles in the wine rack.

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Marinated London Broil with Mushroom Sauce

Let’s get one thing clear right from the start – there is no such cut of meat commonly known as a London Broil. The name isn’t for a cut of meat but rather a way of cooking that particular hunk of beef. Make no mistake about it – London Broil is nothing more than a thick cut of top round, and as such is an easy cut of meat to turn into something akin to shoe leather. If you don’t like your meat bloody, avoid – I repeat – AVOID this hunk of beef.

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Grilled Flank Steak with Mushrooms

This yummy steak dinner was cooked up for my loving family a year ago – long before I thought about blogs and pictures beyond a snap shot to go with a recipe card. I came across it today while searching for ideas for next week’s meal planner. Hubby and I picked up a nice Flat Iron Steak on sale this week, hence the search. While the original recipe was done with a flank steak, since discovering the yummy tender goodness of Flat Iron Steak a few months back, I’m always checking the meat counter for good deals and snapping them up whenever they go on sale. Hey, that’s what my huge freezer is for, right? Stocking up when the price is right.

Flat Iron Steak can be used in just about any recipe that calls for flank steak, although they are completely different cuts of beef – the Flat Iron is from the forequarter while the flank from the hindquarter.  Both cuts have excellent flavor, and take to marinades well. The flank steak can get a bit tough and dried if cooked too long – you ‘ll want to keep it on the medium-rare side while the Flat Iron is a bit more forgiving if over-cooked.

Two things I love about this recipe – the use of red wine (some for the steak, some for me, some for the steak, more for me, some – oh forget the steak, just more for me!) and a variety of mushrooms.

Crimini and shiitake mushrooms are a must – morel if you can get them are also wonderful. If you cannot get a variety of fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms will do. Re-hydrate your mushrooms before using by soaking them in hot (not boiling) water for about 20 minutes, changing water as needed. Re-hydrated mushrooms have a more intense, concentrated flavor than fresh, so select a blend that will not overpower the flavor of the sauce.

Grilled Flank Steak with Mushrooms
2 pounds flank steak (or Flat Iron)
Salt to taste
Olive oil as needed
Black pepper to taste
2 pounds mixed mushrooms (if possible include shiitake mushrooms, they’re especially flavorful), cleaned, rough chop
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 cup red wine (or beef broth)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

Remove steak from the refrigerator. Salt the meat and allow it to come to room temperature.

Dry sauté the mushrooms. Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan, as is (no butter or oil). Stir the mushrooms occasionally, and shake the pan a bit. You should hear the mushrooms squeak when they move in the pan. Continue to cook until the mushrooms release their moisture. Add a large pinch of salt and stir to combine.

Add the butter, rosemary and shallots. Stir to combine and sauté over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Pour in the red wine (you can substitute beef broth) and boil until the sauce has reduced by half. Turn off the heat.

While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare the grill for high direct heat. The grill is hot enough when you put your hand about an inch over the grill and you can only hold it there for 1 second. When the grill is hot, clean the grill grates with a wire scraper and then moisten a paper towel with vegetable oil. Using tongs, wipe down the grill grates with the oil-soaked towel.

While the grill is heating up, massage olive oil into the steak. You want the steak well coated. When the grill is hot enough, place the steak on the grill. Sear for 4-6 minutes without moving.

Turn the steak over, touch it to test for doneness (see the finger technique for checking for doneness). You might only need a couple of minutes on this side, depending on how thick your steak is. Flank steak is best rare or medium rare; it becomes tough if it gets too well done. Flat Iron steak, being thinner, will require less time on the grill.

Remember to under-cook the steak just a little as it will continue to cook in its own residual internal heat while resting. When the steak is almost done, transfer to cutting board and tent to keep warm.  Let rest about 10 minutes. If desired, grind black pepper over steak before tenting.

Finish the mushrooms. Turn the burner on high and boil down to reduce almost to the consistency of a glaze. Add any meat juices that have accumulated with the resting steak. Taste for salt and add any if needed.

For larger steaks, first cut it in half along the grain of the steak fibers. Then slice it thinly, on an angle, against the grain. Thinner steaks such as Flat Iron can be sliced thin just before serving. Pour mushroom sauce over steak and serve immediately.

Happy grilling everyone.


Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus Western Steak

Last Saturday, I shared with you an awesome recipe for Whiskey Marinated Rib Eye Steaks. Today, I’ve got another great recipe for T-Bones. The best part about June has to be all the great deals to be had for steaks. Everyone’s gearing up for Father’s Day and the stores want to lure you in with a few grilling specials. I like to take advantage of the nice weather and great deals. After all, nothing says summer better than a big steak straight off the fire.

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