Cooking a Steak
Steaks are best cut very thick – at least 2 inches – so that a better crust can be formed without overcooking the interior. It’s better for two people to share one thick steak than try and cook two thin steaks.
Season your steak up to 2 days ahead of time with a lot of salt and pepper. This will allow the salt to permeate the steak and it will be equally seasoned throughout; it will not cause the juices to come out of the steak.
If grilling, start a very hot fire, preferably from lump charcoal and/or wood. We like oak and pecan for wood, oak and mesquite for lump charcoal. Let the fire burn down to white hot coals, clean the grate well with a brush, and oil it with a cloth.
Grill the steak for about 8-10 minutes on one side, then turn 90 degrees and cook a few more minutes. Flip and repeat. Use a thermometer to test for doneness. 128-130 degrees is about perfect for medium rare, as the steak will continue to cook a bit after being removed from the grill. If not done yet, concentrate cooking on the hottest spot on the grill and the portions of the steak that are least browned. Try to achieve a very deeply browned, flavorful crust all over the steak.
Rest the steak in a warm place (between 100-130 degrees) for about 20 minutes, or even longer. If desired, return to steak to the grill for a few second before serving to rewarm, though steaks are more flavorful around warm room temperature.
To pan sear a steak, preseason the meat as directed above. Select a very nice pan -preferably cast iron or enameled cast iron – that is just larger than the steak(s). Heat this pan over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes.
Add the steak to the pan. If using a ribeye or strip with a fat cap intact, place this side down first, holding it with tongs. This will crisp the fat somewhat and also provide some (beef) fat for cooking the steak in. Turn the steak and brown the fat side for a couple of minutes, then lay the steak in the pan on one side. Do not move the steak for a few minutes, letting the crust develop. Now, turn the steak and brown the other side. repeat the turning of the steak until cooked to 128-130 degrees. As it cooks and fat is released, carefully tilt the pan and use a metal spoon to baste the top of the steak with the rendered beef fat. Do this often. (Try throwing a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme in the pooled fat and basting with the thyme-infused fat, too.)
Now, rest the steak as directed above, and pour any remaining fat left in the pan over the resting steak.
Enjoy with potatoes.
Slow Roasting a Sausage-stuffed Leg of Lamb
1 sausage-stuffed leg of lamb
salt and pepper
1-2 large onions or 10 spring onions, sliced
1 bunch carrots, sliced
1 pint lamb stock
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the roast with salt and pepper and place in an ovenproof pan just large enough to hold the roast. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and remove the pan. Add the onions, carrots and stock to the pan, under the roast. Return the pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 3-4 hours, or until very tender. Add water as needed if the pan starts to become dry, keeping about an inch of liquid in the pan. Once tender, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes to an hour. Cut the twine and slice, against the grain. Serve with the carrots, onions and jus. Fava beans, lettuces, beets, potatoes and peas would make good sides.
Slow Roasting a Sausage-stuffed Lamb Porchetta
1 lamb porchetta
salt and pepper
1 pint lamb stock
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Season the porchetta with salt and pepper, and place in a roasting pan just large enough to hold the roast. Cook, uncovered, for 3-4 hours, or until tender and nicely browned. If the porchetta is browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil. Once cooked, remove the porchetta to a warm plate and add the lamb stock to the pan and place over a burner, stirring and scraping to pan with a wooden spoon. Boil the sauce slightly to reduce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Rest the porchetta for 30 minutes to an hour, then cut off the twine and slice against the grain. Serve with the sauce.
Roasting the Easter Bunny
1 boned-out, stuffed, brined rabbit
2 oz. butter or lard, softened
1 pint rich rabbit stock
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rub the rabbit roast all over with softened butter or lard and season with pepper. Place in a roasting pan in the middle of the oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning once. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and cook the rabbit to an internal temperature of 155 degrees, turning once to brown the bottom.
Remove the roast and allow to rest for 30 minutes while you prepare the sauce. Place the pan over a burner on high heat and add the rabbit stock to the hot roasting pan, stirring and scraping up any roasted bits. Cut the strings from the roast and cut into 1” thick slices. Serve with the sauce.
How to Roast a Stuffed Duck
1 Semi-boneless stuffed duck, about 6-9 pounds
Potatoes, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and rutabagas, cut into 1″ pieces, as needed
Cabbage, cut in eight pieces with the core left in
Apples, cored and cut into quarters
8 ounced reduced duck stock
2 cups Argus apple cider (available from East End Wines)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Dry the duck very well and season with a little pepper. Place the duck on a roasting rack over a roasting pan or directly into a cast iron or enameled pot just big enough to hold the bird. Roast for 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the rendered fat.
After 3 hours, carefully remove the duck from the oven and pour off all of the rendered fat from the pan, saving this delicious fat for another use (we got almost 2 cups off of one duck), and turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Combine the vegetables, cabbage and apples in another pan, and toss them well with a few spoonfuls of the rendered fat and some salt and freshly ground pepper and place the pan to the oven. Return the duck to the oven for 15 more minutes to brown and crisp the skin. Remove the duck from the roasting pan to a warm platter and allow to rest while the vegetables roast and you prepare the sauce. Roast the vegetables for 30-45 minutes, or until browned and tender.
To make the sauce, place the duck roasting pan over a burner and turn to medium-high. When the pan gets hot, add the reduced duck stock and the apple cider. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, stirring the browned bits into the sauce. Season to taste.
Slice the duck thickly along the breast, and remove the legs. Serve the sliced, stuffed duck with the roasted vegetables, spooning the sauce over everything.