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Another Simple, Modest Meal Suggestion: Steak Frites

Dinner last night. A long time staple of any French Brasserie: Steak Frites. While you can use a culotte (tri-tip), the entrecôte (ribeye) is the traditional cut to use, likely because of its delicious fattiness, such that if you cook it to at least medium rare, you basically have a sauce to go with your frites. In this case, I made my standard simple red-wine reduction, method detailed here.

  1. Slowly reduce about 1/2 C of red wine per serving until you get a syrup, like a few Tbsp.
  2. Add your beef stock. I typically use about a cup of Trader Joe’s organic (per serving).
  3. Reduce the whole thing to about 1/3 C per serving.
  4. Add a pat of butter per serving.
  5. Bring to a boil and add 1/4 tsp potato starch per serving to just enough cold stock to make a slurry. Stir, watch it thicken, serve.

I’ve changed that up a bit in that now, once I have my syrup from reducing the wine, I add the butter and let that moisture boil off as well. Then the stock. In this way I rarely need to thicken to get the butter fat to bind with the liquid, for whatever reason. This is done while the fries cook in the oven. You can also do a pepper sauce, green peppercorn made with crème fraiche being the more traditional. That’s an easy preparation as well.

The problem is, making frites is a pain in the ass if done in the traditional way of deep frying (lard, tallow, or some other real fat, please!). So here’s the simple way to do this whole meal. Prep time is about 40 minutes, but it’s not hard. Helps if you have a mandoline slicer to make the potato prep quick & easy. You’ll slice your fries in 1/5th the time it takes to do by hand. Click for the hi-res version.

Steak Frites

I use a cast iron skillet. In this case, a couple of tablespoons of lard, melted down and then toss your fries in them to coat, dump them onto a cookie sheet, spread them out and toss ’em in the oven at 400, 20-25 minutes until brown on the bottom. A couple minutes under the broiler to finish will get the tops a little more browned.

In the meantime, get the sauce going in a separate pan so you can be done by the time the fries are done. In the last 10 minutes, add your steaks (grassfed, bone-in ribeyes in the case, 1 lb each) to the case iron, on medium, which is already coated in lard. I use a glass lid so I can see what’s going on inside, while boosting the ambient heat so you get the fat melted inside the steak. About 4 minutes, then turn them and cover for another 3 minutes. For a ribeye, I’m looking for a medium rare. Pink & hot, not red & warm. I save the rare, or blue, for a good filet.

Eat up, and if you want to share a simple, classic meal with your friends, there’s always the Facebook and Twitter buttons up top.

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