Thursday, August 5, 2010

NY Strip Steak with Wild Mushroom Risotto

Beef is my favorite protein. The best beef, of course, is a good steak. Strip Steaks come from the short loin of a cow which is located along the back of the cow, right behind the ribs. This part of the cow see's very little muscle work which is what gives strip steaks the flavor and characteristics it has. A T-bone steak contains the both the strip steak (larger pieces) and a piece of the tenderloin or filet mignon. This makes the strip steak a more costly piece of meat and is why I usually only purchase it on sale, or for a special occasion.
Wild mushroom risotto is the perfect side dish for steak. It's hearty and full of flavor itself so it complements steak nicely. I buy dried mushrooms when I make this for a couple reasons. First, I'm in a small area and finding any fresh mushrooms besides the button kind and portabellos just isn't possible. Second, they last a long time so I can use part of the package and save the rest for another time or dish. You can use whatever mushrooms you like too. I used Morels, Oyster and Chanterelles this time around, and just an ounce of dried mushrooms gave me plenty for the risotto.  I also decided to mix in a little marscapone cheese at the end of making the dish. It didn't do much for the flavor of the finished dish but gave it an incredibly silky, creamy taste. The marscapone is completely optional and I only put it in because I had a little left over from making Tiramisu.

What You Need:

4 NY Strip Steaks
Salt and Pepper
1 c aborio rice
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ounce dried mushrooms
3 cups beef stock
1/2 c white wine
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/4 c marscapone cheese (optional)

What To Do:

Place the dried mushrooms into a bowl and pour boiling water over the top to rehydrate them. It only takes a few minutes. Remove from the liquid and give them a chop before setting them aside. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter or cheese cloth to remove the grit that the mushrooms leave behind. You want about two cups of mushroom liquid. If you don't have two cups, use beef stock to make up the rest. Combine the mushroom liquid in a pot with the beef stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is just barely simmering. Keep hot while you make the risotto.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and butter together. Add in the onion and the garlic and sauté until fragrant and soft. Add in the mushrooms and  rice and stir so that the fat coats the rice. Let it cook for about 5 minutes so that the rice gets a little toasty. Add in the white wine and give it a stir. Once most of the wine has been absorb, pour two ladles full of the hot beef/mushroom stock into the rice. Cook the rice, over medium heat, stirring occasionally until almost all the stock is absorbed. You want to be cooking the rice between a simmer and a boil. If you you boil it to quickly, the rice won't cook and it will be crunchy. If you doing boil it enough, it will end up mushy. It takes about 30 minutes to makes risotto. On my stove top, I set it to medium and that works well for me. Continue ladling in the stock, two ladles at a time until the rice is soft and the dish is creamy. Stir in the thyme, Parmesan and marscapone to finish the dish.
To cook the steaks, preheat your grill on the highest setting for about 10 minutes. Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper and drizzle a little veg oil on each side. Turn the heat to low and grill the steaks to your desired done-ness. If you like the cross grill marks, grill the steak for two minutes, then give the steaks a 90 degree turn and grill another two minutes. I cooked my steaks a total of 6 minutes and they came out medium rare.

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