Beef: It's What's For Dinner


With the change of the seasons comes the transition of my appetite. Fresh summer fruits and salads are no longer as appealing to me now that fall is upon us and I'm starting to think more along the lines of hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals to combat those long, cold and dreary winter days that are just around the corner. My menus become heavy on the meat 'n taters!

Flank steak makes a regular appearance on the Harris Teeter weekly sales flyer and while it's not one of my absolute favorite cuts of meat, I'm learning to like it. If it is cooked and cut properly, it can make for a tasty, fairly inexpensive entree. This cut of meat is also incorrectly referred to as London Broil, which technically describes a method of cooking instead of an actual cut of meat.

Special care must be taken when preparing flank steak or else you'll end up with something equivalent to shoe leather on your dinner plate ~ over-cooking is detrimental so it only requires a few minutes of cooking per side. Marination is also important for a successful flank steak ~ look for marinades that contain acids like vinegar or citrus juices because they break down the fibrous tissues in the meat. After cooking, the meat needs to rest for about 10 minutes and most importantly it MUST, MUST be sliced against the grain.

An excerpt from Beef Recipes from Lowes Foods' Kitchen explains it best:  "When a recipe calls for slicing meat against the grain, looked at the cooked meat and located the direction of the string-like fibers (the grain). Slice the meat in the opposite direction of the grain to provide a tender slice of meat.  If you cut the meat in the same direction as the grain, the result will be a chewy slice of meat.  Example:  if the grain is going north/south direction, then cut the slices in an east/west direction." 

This Cooking Light recipe called for marinating the meat with whiskey and I was curious if it was acidic enough to do the job like vinegar or citrus juice.  But I suppose since drinking whiskey rots your liver, surely laying in it for at least 24 hours would tenderize a piece of meat, right?  I'll admit to leaving this in the marinade for more like 36 to 48 hours because I'm lazy like that and it didn't appear that my flank suffered from cirrhosis.  If anything, the sweet and mellow whiskey flavor was a very nice compliment to the overall flavors.  Served with a side of oven roasted vegetables, it got my vote for hearty and delicious!

Rubbed Flank Steak with Horseradish Cream
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2000

Ingredients

Steak:
1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak
1/4 cup rye or bourbon whiskey
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

Horseradish cream:
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced

Rub:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Preparation

To prepare steak, trim fat from steak. Place whiskey and soy sauce in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak; seal and marinate in refrigerator 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.

To prepare horseradish cream, combine yogurt, horseradish, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl. Cover and chill.

To prepare rub, combine sugar and next 5 ingredients (sugar through salt). Remove steak from bag; discard marinade. Rub sugar mixture over steak; chill 30 minutes.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Place steak on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray, and cook 8 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve with the horseradish cream.

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