Saturday, July 31, 2010

word of wisdom? what? what was that? smc cooks with the pioneer woman(again) rib eye steaks with whiskey(gasp!)cream sauce

as i mentioned in my cheesecake post, i had friends over for dinner last night and this is the recipe i made for the main course. i also made roasted garlic mashed red potatoes and a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing. train wreck cheesecake for dessert and various biscotti for them to take home. they are both big coffee drinkers and love my biscotti.
i have never minded recipes made with alcohol. i particularly love the jack daniels barbecue menu items at TGIF and always operated under the assumption that the alcohol burns out leaving only a complexity of flavor and richness behind. apparently that is not the case. yes, some of the alcohol does burn off, but not all of it, so....technically i am breaking the word of wisdom by eating this recipe. IT WAS WORTH IT. i kid. a little bit. i guess this is one of my justifications. dont we all have them? some drink "DE"caffeinated coffee and call it good or say that green tea is really a herbal tea. cooking with whiskey, and other spirits, on occasion, is mine. just like dr phil, i would never ask you to substitute my judgment for your own, but if you are liberal with the w.o.w, i recommend you try this amazing recipe.

pioneer woman's rib eye steaks with whiskey(she doesnt gasp)cream sauce. if you need to see pictures(it really does help)click here.

* 5 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons diced onion
* 1/4 cup whiskey
* 1/4 cup beef stock or broth
* Dash of salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup light cream
* 2 rib-eye steaks

1. Begin by melting 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the onion and cook until brown, about 4 minutes.

2. When the onion is brown, turn off the burner temporarily so you won't ignite your kitchen or yourself.

3. Pour in the whiskey.

4. As soon as the whiskey evaporates, turn the burner on medium and pour in the beef stock or broth.

5. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
(taste the sauce before you add salt. the broth/stock i used was really salty andi did not need to add any salt.)

6. Now, whisk in another tablespoon of butter.

7. Allow the mixture to bubble for 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to low.

8. Over low heat pour in the cream.

9. Whisk, adding more cream if the mixture looks too brothy.

10. Allow to simmer on very low heat while you prepare the steaks. Stir occasionally

11. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Generously salt and pepper the steak on both sides, then add it to the hot skillet.

12. For medium rare, cook for 2 minutes on each side for a thin steak, or 3 to 4 minutes on each side for a thick steak. Place the steak on a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the other steak.

(Feel free to cook both steaks at once in the same skillet, if you prefer.)

13. Spoon the sauce over the steak ... and don't skimp! You want to taste the deliciousness.

* from:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl


  1. So I always thought that the alcohol cooked off too. Where did you learn otherwise. Just curious.

  2. i think i was making risotto and most recipes call for white wine. i didnt have any and didnt have time to go to the store, so i was searching for substitutions, which lead to some message board where someone else was making risotto and didnt want to use lead to another link that gave the whole chemical breakdown. i dont remember the specifics, but basically most of the alcohol does cook out, but not all. i think 5% remains or something like that.

  3. Alcohol does boil at a lower temperature than water, so it will cook out faster than water does while you're cooking, although some will remain when you're done. The same thing happens with bread -- the yeast that raises bread dough is fermenting, and that smell you get when bread is baking is ethanol cooking out of it.

    At the risk of feeding a WoW lawyer or hobbyist, the text does not say that alcohol in every form is to be avoided -- it says that strong drink (meaning distilled spirits) is not for drinking. Using some in a cooking environment where most of it will boil off isn't something I worry about. There is alcohol found in most flavors and extracts, like vanilla extract.

    1/4 cup of whiskey is about 2.6 legal drinks. If you drank it yourself, in an hour, without eating anything else, you might fail a breathalyzer test for an hour or so, but are unlikely to be lip-walking unless you're a very light-weight (you'd be more likely to throw it up). Divided over two steaks, and having cooked well before hand, there won't be enough to worry about in terms of intoxication. Most of it will boil off before you turn the burner back on. There will be no health consequences to speak of.

    Looks like a good recipe, though.

  4. I read an article once that aid up to as much as 70% alcohol can remain after cooking, and that apparently the worst culprit (although my guess is most people wouldn't think so) for leaving the most residual alcohol behind is cooking by flambe.

    Also - personal experience - but I suspect that given that most lds persons have NEVER had any alcohol EVER, that it wouldn't take much to get them completely stonkered. One time I had a chocolate from my boss that one of his Swiss "lady friends" had sent him. Only after I had put it in my mouth and tasted a distinct cherry flavour did I think - oh this might have some alcohol in it. Immediately after this I had a warm flush go right through my entire body. YUP. Definitely alcohol. My Dad tells me that liqueurs are 90% proof though so pretty strong stuff.

    One of my comps used mirin when making Teriyaki chicken and we had it in the kitchen in our apartment. She was a convert and I always used to ask her if she ever felt tempted to have a "sip or two" on a bad day. She would always respond blankly "BUT it's for COOKING...."

  5. blain-its a really good recipe! very delicious and my friends nearly licked their plates clean. :) between your stance on rated r movie-s and alcohol in cooking...i just might be headed for excommunication. ;)
    ana-i have had a similar experience with those kind of candies. another "fun" experience is when i was at a bar with my ex husband. i heard him order me a shirly temple and got himself a beer. the drink that came back looked like a shirley temple and tasted like one, but i had never experienced the immediate flush before. i had never tasted alcohol, so my husband took a sip and declared that it had rum(or some other spirit, i dont remember which)in it and called the waitress over. apparently she had misunderstood what he ordered and when he told her that i dont drink, the color drained out of her face. she couldnt apologize enough. our drinks were comped and i got a little buzz.