Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recipe: Food Network's "Cocoa-Rubbed Steak with Bacon-Whiskey Gravy"

This month's Food Network magazine was all about chocolate: how to cook and bake with it, how to temper it, where to buy the best, news about it, and more. All of the recipes in this issue incorporated chocolate in some sort of way, big or small, and a twist on the traditional "steak and potatoes" caught my eye. I don't cook red meat often, nor do I try to juggle too many things at once while I cook (in this case, steak, gravy, baked potatoes, and broccoli), so rather than play around with this recipe and make it my own the first time out, I decided to basically stick with it as is, tweaking just a few ingredients and whatnot, and it came out wonderfully. The rub on the steak has just a touch of heat and a subtle chocolate flavor that is savory rather than sweet. The gravy, a bacon-y, salty, creamy affair, goes well with the steak, and is even better on the baked potato and broccoli sides. So, kudos to you, Food Network, for a delicious, chocolate-themed steak-and-potato dinner!

(Bacon-Whiskey Gravy not pictured)

Yields: 2-4 servings (gravy serves about 6)
Prep. time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 min.-1 hour
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Special equipment: Broiler pan


  • 1 baking potato per person (I bought the "just pop in the microwave for 7-8 minutes" baking/russet potato to save time)
  • About 2 heads of fresh broccoli, cut into florets (you can just cook half a bag of frozen broccoli to save time)
  • Butter and sour cream for the baked potatoes, if desired
For the steak
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. packed brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 steak, preferably NY strip, per person (I bought two large Delmonico steaks and split one with my mom)
*The rub is enough to cover 3, 1 lb. NY strip steaks, so if you do smaller or fewer steaks, use less of the rub

For the gravy
  • 3-4 strips bacon
  • 1 leek, finely chopped (clean thoroughly, because they're very dirty; do not use the dark green part at the top of the leek)
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 3 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Mix together the ingredients for the rub and lightly rub the mixture into both sides of each steak. Set the steaks aside on a broiler pan and turn on the broiler setting in your oven in preparation for the steaks. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil in preparation for cooking the broccoli. In a large pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy, then remove the bacon and place on paper towels to soak up excess grease. In the pan with the bacon grease, add the diced leek and cook until tender (about 3-5 minutes). Add the flour, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute. Add a little butter if desired. Remove the pan from the heat and add the whiskey. Return the pan to medium high heat and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened (about 3 minutes). Add the bay leaves and chicken stock, bring to a boil over medium high heat, and cook until the mixture is reduced by about one quarter (about 8 minutes). Slowly whisk in the heavy cream, then allow the gravy to simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. While it's cooking, put the steaks in the oven and broil for 8-15 minutes (less time will yield medium rare steak, more time will yield medium to medium well), turning occasionally. Returning to the gravy, crumble the cooked bacon and add it to the gravy, along with the butter and parsley, then stir to combine. The gravy should be just thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon (add a little cornstarch-and-water to make it thicker, if desired) and will be a cream color when it's done. Reduce the heat to keep it warm. Cook the broccoli florets for approx. 5 minutes in boiling water and heat the baking potatoes in the microwave for 7-8 minutes. If you've timed this right, everything should finish up at about the same time. The steak, once removed from the oven, should be allowed to rest for a few minutes on a cutting board before being plated and cut. Serve the meal with a gravy boat full of the gravy.

This is a delicious little twist on a classic and is quite a filling meal. Fresh broccoli and fluffy baked potatoes are the perfect compliment to the steak, coated in this lightly sweet-spicy rub. The gravy, a salty, creamy, buttery mixture, goes perfectly with every part of this dish.

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