Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Quick Petite Tender Steaks

For a weeknight dinner, it’s hard to beat a petite tender steak.  Along with the simple luxury of sitting down to a sizzling hot steak for dinner, petite tenders are only 4-5 oz in weight and cook up quickly in a pan with little added prep time.  There’s no need to fuss with searing a hulking 16 oz ribeye on the stove, only to later finish it in the oven.  As an added bonus, it is easy to whip up a simple side dish in the skillet while the steaks rest on the plates.
Scottish Highland Petite Tender Steak
As delicious as they are, petite tenders are not often seen in grocery stores.  Trimming these steaks takes a butcher's time and finesse to extract from the chuck primal.  Much like the popular flat iron steak, the petite tender is taken from the shoulder of the cow (the flat iron actually sits right above it).  By working with small, independent butchers, North Woods Ranch is able to offer this unique steak.  For any steak lover this petite tender is a cut worth trying.

Before cooking the steaks, they should be removed them from the fridge for about 20 minutes to help take off the chill.  I use this time to begin preparing a side dish.  Start by chopping up a small onion, some mushrooms, and 4-5 stalks of Swiss chard.  Saute the onion and the stalks of the Swiss chard until the onion turns translucent, then add the mushrooms and the sliced leaves of the chard.  Cook down until the chard leaves are wilted and the mushrooms begin to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.  
Next it's time to fire the steaks.  Put the sautéed vegetables aside and heat the pan up to high for the petite tender steaks.  The steaks should be cooked very quickly, so a hot pan is very important. Make sure there is a bit of oil or ghee in the pan (the fat will shimmer in the pan when it is very hot).  Season the steaks on both sides with salt and cook about 2-2.5 minutes per side.
Since the petite tender is cut out of the shoulder, it should be served in the range of rare-to-barely medium to avoid a dry and tough texture.  I like to aim for medium rare.  After searing, remove the steaks from the pan and cover to keep them warm.  Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes so the juices can redistribute within the steaks.
North Woods Ranch Petite Tender Steak
To finish the steaks, I garnished them with a mixture of cream and whole grain mustard.  Pouring the cream/mustard mixture into the skillet helps to deglaze the pan and infuses the cream with a rich, savory flavor from the beef drippings.  Then pile up a mound of vegetables, place the petite tender off on one side, and garnish with the cream sauce.  A deluxe, one-skillet dinner in 30 minutes!

Recipe at a Glance:
2 Petite Tender Steaks
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 small onion, sliced
4 ounces mushrooms (here I used shiitake), sliced
Small bunch of Swiss Chard (about 4-5 stalks)
Oil or Ghee to cook

Remove the leaves from the stalks of chard.  Slice the leaves into strips and cut the stalks into small 1/4" pieces.  Heat some oil or ghee in a skillet and saute the onion and chard stems.  Cook until the onions turn translucent, then add the mushrooms and the leaves of the chard.  I like to cut everything into strips, so there's a weave of vegetables all twisted together, creating a bed for the steak.  Season everything with salt and pepper, and cook until the leaves have softened and the mushrooms are beginning to brown.

Set vegetables aside on a warm plate.  Wipe out the pan and add fresh oil or ghee.  Heat pan to high.  Season steaks on both sides with salt and sear in the hot pan.  Cook to your desired degree of doneness, then remove and place on a plate covered with foil to keep warm.  While the steaks rest, whisk cream and mustard into pan, lowering heat to medium.  Scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan, stirring all the time.  Taste the sauce and adjust for salt or pepper if needed.

Put half of the vegetable mixture on each plate, then place a steak on one side of the vegetables.  Top with mustard cream sauce and serve.