Just add steak


Carolyn March 2012Thinly slice sweet cooking onions until you have about a cup. Sauté in butter until the onions just start to brown. No seasoning. Place onions in a warming dish.

Increase heat (same pan) until it’s very hot but not burning. Add more butter and coarsely chopped mushrooms (about a cup). Toss mushrooms quickly on high heat to sear. Do not over-cook. No seasoning. Add to the onions in the warming dish. Deglaze the pan with your favourite brandy, perhaps Asbach Uralt. Use about a quarter cup. Add liquid to mushrooms and onions dish.

While onions are cooking in a small saucepan, on medium high heat, reduce a half-cup of good, red Balsamic vinegar until it is very thick syrup. (Careful not to burn and careful because it will turn hard like sugar candy, and you don’t want that to happen). Into the small saucepan, add the onion mushroom mixture and a few ounces of cold Cambozola cheese. Take away the rind first. Cover until the cheese is melted. Incorporate with a quick stir.

Serve this mixture over your favourite grilled or barbecued steak, done any way you like it, with or without garlic rub or steak spices.

If there is enough sauce for leftovers, it will keep in a covered container in the fridge for a couple of days, and will taste even better. Double or quadruple ingredients and store ahead of time for a large dinner party.

Since this recipe can be made in less than 15 minutes complete, it is a very easy recipe for entertaining with steak of any kind. Try this sauce with flank steak, thinly sliced or with strip sirloin done medium rare. It is also a great topper for any kind of rice as a side dish.


The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.


  1. “My Parsley Chimichurri”

    Mince a whole bunch of very fresh Italian parsley. Spritz with red wine vinegar and Mazola Corn Oil. Stir in just a tiny dab of my homemade golden oven-roasted garlic purée from your refrigerated glass sterilized jar. Sprinkle just a pinch of fresh lemon zest and a drop of fresh squeezed lemon juice.

    Pour just a bit of my delicate citrus Beurre Blanc over top just when ready to eat. Serve the beurre blanc in a tiny tasting side dish with an espresso spoon.

    Serve my chimichurri alongside your favourite steak and delicious creamy mushroom Marsala sauce.

    Compliments of MS:

    © Lady Ralston’s Canadian Contessa Kitchen gets Saucy ~ Sauces, Aolies, Dressings, Drizzles, Drops, and Puddles

  2. Top Sirloin Angus Special – A most easy and memorable meal

    When Angus top sirloin is on sale, stock up.
    How to get six meal-size servings for thirty dollars…

    Ask the butcher behind the meat counter to choose what he would take home to his family and cut for you two one-inch thick generous size steaks, (10-12″ and 1” thick). Ask for Angus beef. I’m no expert, but my butcher has said what makes the Angus beef special and tender as well as tasty is the type of marbling in the meat.

    When on sale this will cost about $30. but of course prices vary depending on where you live and where you shop. Get to know your butcher, and never be afraid to ask questions.

    Either ask him to cut or cut each of the two thick steaks yourself when you get home, into three equal pieces. That amount of meat per serving is plenty of beef.

    Wrap each of the six pieces in individual sandwich bags, place in a stable container in a larger vegetable storage plastic bag. This makes for easy access if you just want one steak. Perhaps before you go to work put a steak piece in its individual package on a plate in the refrigerator to thaw. The steak will be ready to slice in quarter-inch thick slices on the diagonal when you are. If you are home when the meat is thawing you might find it easier to slice when not quite unfrozen. Note: Of course always use the blade pointing away from your other hand.

    But this choice really makes a real treat; and especially easy if you are cooking for one. Using just one of the six pieces and a sharp thin serrated knife, cut the piece of steak into quarter inch thick slices, on a severe diagonal, against the grain.

    I’m not a big salt user, but for this group of slices laid out on a large platter, not overlapping, generously salt the slices on one side only, cover with a napkin and let sit for 10-15 minutes while you work on another part of the meal; maybe prepare vegetables or pasta.

    Allow a generous knob of butter to melt in a hot skillet, but unless you really prefer noisette, don’t brown the unsalted butter.

    Sprinkle the salted steak slices with fresh ground pepper. Place the steak slices in the large skillet in the very hot minimal butter, on high heat, not overlapping. Don’t move away from the stove. Don’t move the steak slices. Add a quarter teaspoon of refrigerator stored homemade golden oven-roasted garlic purée to the hot butter.

    Set your smart phone or microwave timer for three minutes. Turn the steak one time only and only let the thin steak slices continue to cook for just one additional minute. This is seriously important.

    Remove the steak from the skillet and let rest, tented, for five minutes.

    Keep the skillet hot. Add a small knob of unsalted butter. When butter is very hot add halved firm, white, fresh button mushrooms. Don’t salt. Sprinkle with a little crushed dry thyme and fresh ground pepper. Salt when ready to serve. Salt during cooking makes mushrooms weep their high liquid content. You don’t want that.

    Let the mushrooms sear on the cut side till browned, without moving them then toss quickly to sear the rounded side, and remove from the skillet using a slotted spoon or egg turner. You don’t want the mushrooms to wilt.

    Into the still very hot skillet, add a cup of half and half cream. It will bubble and reduce as you stir the cream, removing any struck on bits. Add minced fresh flat leaf parsley, a little pinch of dried thyme, a little salt, a quarter teaspoon of Dijon and a teaspoon of cognac.

    Put the mushrooms back into the hot cream sauce. Toss quickly and be ready to eat the rested steak accompanied by the cream sauce mushrooms.

    You won’t need any additional seasonings. Best steak ever. Perfectly cooked. Melts in your mouth. You can cut the steak with your fork.

    ALTERNATE: When steak is cooking for one minute on the second side and you have added the garlic purée, add a half teaspoon of Hunt’s tinned thick tomato paste (not sauce) and gently move it, using a fork, to incorporate with the hot garlic butter.

    Remove the steak and deglaze the skillet with a little red wine. (George’s Beaujolais works nicely.) Pour the deglaze liquid over the steak. Add the extra knob of butter and sear the mushrooms and continue as above.

    If you would like onions or shallots with your steak, sauté them in another knob of unsalted butter after you have removed the mushrooms, before adding cream. Lower heat and sauté just until translucent. Sprinkle just a little salt, and a tiny bit of crushed dry thyme on the onions or shallots. You might like to add a generous heaping of very minced parsley.

    If you want instant caramelized effect, drizzle a little maple syrup just when ready to serve, or choose to use a little congealed cognac figgy jus from your black mission fig marinating jar.

    This instant, sliced, Angus top sirloin recipe goes beautifully with my Instant Rose Sauce Pasta on the side. Make the pasta sauce a day ahead; it’s even better the second day.


    You might choose to mound thin diagonal steak slices onto a grilled garlic bread, and top with a second bread slice, lay a thin slice of your favourite cheese on top of the beef, and drizzle a little of my Caesar Salad dressing over top, or choose to use my warm blue cheese dressing. A sandwich like no other. You might want to put it in your panini press.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

  3. Oh, my! Ginny Brown.
    Thanks so much for your note.
    This recipe is sooooh simple and soooooh delicious.
    And not hardly fattening; just plain good and good for you.
    A girl after my own heart (and tastebuds).
    Doesn’t get much easier than this one.
    It’s important not to overcook beef, even if you want it well-done.
    Next in importance is to let the cooked beef “sit” a bit before serving.
    Cut too soon after freshly cooked and you will spoil the texture completely.
    If you get organized in advance with preparation, everything will just “melt into place…”
    This applies to poultry as well as meat. Undercooked is almost not possible, because after removing from the heat source, the food keeps on cooking for a bit. Cover it with a tinfoil tent briefly before cutting. as it “rests.” This will help keep the moisture in the food, not running out.
    Always slice on the diagonal, for more tender experience.
    Experiment and I think those of you who are frightened of undercooking will discover this method works really well.

    Carolyne L

  4. All my favourite things.
    I’m dying to try it .. Allso trying to diet (’tis the season)
    .. but I’m going to make it anyway :)
    Thanks for a great recipe.


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