Steak and chips is a classic I think will never die. It’s on the menus of restaurants across the land and if they can deliver a juicy steak with a caramelised crust and a quiveringly tender middle within, (we’re medium-rare people) then you know they are serious about good food. Just please don’t serve me three gigantic chips stacked up like an edible game of Jenga. Over the years, there have been plenty of things to celebrate but often, not the cash for a really good steak dinner, so I’ve gotten good at turning out a steak reliably medium-rare with all sorts of sides. It’s more common for me to potato wedges than deep fry chips at home (mostly because it’s not a good idea for me to be in charge of a pan of boiling oil when I’ve had a few glasses of something sparkly) but lately, I’ve been challenging myself to be more varied in the way I put out dinners together so here comes my Steak, Mushrooms and Bulgar dinner.
The first thing I always want when I send recipes out in to the world, is for folk to try them and tell me they are delicious. The word that gives me restless nights however is “healthy”. Sigh. It is a fully loaded shotgun of a word and quite frankly, I’d want no part of it. I think the word that should be applied to what we eat everyday of our lives is balance. Enjoy a cake, but not every day. Add sea salt to your meals in moderation, rather than get it surreptitiously in lots of processed food. Fry your food occasionally but grill, bake, poach or steam it more often. There is no magic to it, but that isn’t to say it is easy to balance your lifestyle out but the brilliant thing is, it is implicit that this is a process – think of an old fashioned weighing scales where you nudge the slider along until you arrive at a level pegging and your weight is revealed. Splurge on a steak dinner one night, go for a run and steam some fish for tea the next. It’s trial and error, or as my old Maths teacher insisted on referring to it – trial and improvement.
My Steak with Mushrooms and Bulgar is truly delicious. It’s a treat of a meal but not one you should feel bad about eating (really, I think the only food anyone should feel bad about eating is highly processed junk food). Unlike couscous, bulgar is a wholegrain and it has a wonderful nutty wheat flavour that pairs exceptionally well with the mushrooms. Speaking of them, I wanted to add enough mushrooms to make them a vegetable side dish and sauce in one. The sauce is a play on the creamy and rich peppercorn sauce popular with restaurant steaks of the 70s and 80s and it will really surprise you when you learn that this one does not have one drop of cream in. Instead it is made with a spoonful of cashew nut butter. Again, the nuttiness pulls this whole dish together. You won’t taste the cashew as a distinct flavour but this secret ingredient would be sorely missed if left out – it makes the sauce creamy and velvety as well as so tasty. If you marinate the steak a day in advance, it is a fast meal to pull together – less than half an hour from pan to tummy (or enough time to enjoy a glass of prosecco whilst you sauté 😉 ). I use one sauté pan for the steak and the mushrooms and if you have one which is well seasoned (or super nonstick like those ceramic ones), then you may reduce the oil added if you prefer. Whatever, this is a steak dinner you will be looking for occasions to cook it for. You really wont miss the chips, I promise!
- 225g ribeye steak
- 1/3 cup dried bulgar wheat
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3-4 tsp lightly crushed green peppercorns
- 2 tbsp white Vermouth
- 2 tbsp (level) cashew butter
- 4 tbsp (60ml) water
- 1 tbsp parsley
- Sea salt to season as liked
- It's well worth putting your plates on to warm for a steak meal so everything is good and hot when you heat (just checked they are oven proof first!).
- You can marinade the steak overnight in the fridge or 30 mins at room temperature - if stored overnight, still bring it up to room temp before cooking (it makes a massive difference to how long you need to cook it for).
- Place the bulgar in a small saucepan and cover with cold water - I use a scant cup measure. Bring to the boil, stir well then reduce to a gentle simmer and allow to cook - it will take hardly 10 minutes. Take off the heat when the water has evaporated and the grains light, soft and fluffy.
- Cook the mushrooms first - over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until they give up there juices (about 5 mins).
- Add in the garlic and most of the peppercorns and stir well. Remove to a plate when fragrant.
- Return the sauté pan to the heat and turn it up full blast. Place the steak down and pour over all of it's marinade. Cook for 2 minutes each side (use a timer!). Remove to a warmed plate or chopping board. Sprinkle with salt and the reserved peppercorns.
- Reduce the heat down to low and deglaze with the Vermouth, quickly following with the cashew butter and water, mixing well to a sauce which has the texture of double cream.
- Return the mushrooms and any of their juices to the pan. Reheat then sprinkle with parsley. Leave on low heat whilst you attend to the steak. It made need a splash more of just boiled water before serving if you like it a little thinner.
- Slice the steak on the diagonal, against the grain and pour any juices into the mushrooms.
- Plate up the bulgar, then the steak, then the mushrooms. Add extra parsley if liked to serve.
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