Thursday, March 24, 2011

Here's the Beef

I seem to have raised a family of ardent carnivores. For the most part, they eat their veggies happily and everyone at this house enjoys a good salad.  But just hand over the meat, man - to see smiles all around.  And the meat of choice?  Unfortunately for the budget, that would be steak!  Buying $12/lb rib-eyes for this crowd pretty much destroys all semblance of a weekly grocery budget, so my answer is London Broil.  This inexpensive cut of beef regularly goes on sale for under $3/lb.  Marinated overnight, tossed on the grill or under a broiler and it turns into a flavorful, juicy steak dinner.

London Broil
1 2-3lb London Broil.  I look for a piece that is evenly thick, not thinner at one end.  This ensures even cooking.

1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon (or two tbsp. bottled lemon juice)
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
zest of one lemon
2 tsp fresh rosemary (or dried)

Method:  Combine olive oil, lemon juice, worcestershire, vinegar and mustard in large resealable plastic bag.  Rub around to combine ingrediants.

In small bowl, combine salt, pepper, lemon zest, rosemary and minced garlic. Set aside.

Rinse meat with cool water.  Pat dry with paper towels and lay on cutting board.  Using a sharp knife, score the surface in a diamond shaped pattern by cutting on the diagonal across the meat.  Rub thoroughly with lemon rosemary mixture, stuffing into score lines as you go.  Place meat into bag with the marinade.  Squeeze all excess air out of bag and seal.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. Pull out about an hour before you are ready to cook and the meat come up to room temperature.  Room temp meat, cooks faster and more evenly. However - if you forget this step and only remember to yank open the fridge seconds before you turn on the oven, breathe.  It will be fine how it is.  Just cook it anyways.
Broiler method:
I prefer making this under the broiler instead of the grill, because it easier to accurately predict the cooking time. You can use a broiler pan for this operation - or if you're like me and don't have one, you can hack your own.  Layer a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet.  Like this:
 Disclaimer:  Please do not judge this recipe by the beaten and battered state of my cookie sheet.   The old girl has been put to hard use.

Adjust your oven racks so when you put the tray of meat on the top one, the meat will be 6-8 inches from the broiler. Turn on your broiler - to high.  About 500 degrees or higher is what we are aiming for here.  That's right.  Your oven may never have cooked so high in it's life, but it will OK!

Slide the tray of meat on  in there.  Decide how you like your steak.  Well-done, Medium or Rare?  Cook steak for 10 minutes on per side for well-done.  8 minutes for Medium.  6 minutes for rare.

The next part is IMPORTANT:  Set meat to the side.  Cover and let rest for a good 10 minutes. This allows the juices to settle down and redistribute and makes for a juicier bite of meat.  Thinly slice against the grain. Lay on platter and drizzle with juices that collected on your cutting board. There!  That oughta make your meat lovers happy! 

Sides: If I am making this in the broiler, I start a tray of roasted vegetables about 20 minutes before I put in the meat.  Roasted veggies can handle the high heat of the broiler just fine.  Especially since they go on the oven rack under the steak.  I like to do a mixture of white & sweet potato chunks, onion, maybe some bell pepper, garlic, carrot, parsnips or whatever root veggies I have around.  Place veggies on cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with a good tsp of kosher salt, some freshly ground pepper, and a little rosemary or parsley.  Toss with several tablespoons of olive oil.  Preheat oven to 425.  Roast veggies for 20 minutes.  Turn oven to broil, add steak tray to the top rack.  Now all you have to do is throw together a salad while the meat and veggies cook.  Dinner is done!

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