Beef – It’s what he wants for dinner

Let me tell you a little something about Eric and me. We are what some might call…a bit of an odd match. So here I am, a suburban girl through and through. I grew up in the land of subdivisions, malls, 30 screen movie theaters , huge schools, crowds, traffic…pretty much all the things my adoring husband can’t stand.  It’s just not his thing.

See, Eric is a bonafide country boy. Corn-fed and farm raised. Dairy farm raised. (See, get it?? Dairy…Milk…The Milkman’s Wife! HA!) I knew nothing of the country life before I met Eric. I knew nothing of Southern Illinois. (Come on…southern Illinois is anything south of I-80, right? Kankakee was southern Illinois when I was growing up!)  Seriously, it’s like a different world down there. There are hills and thick forests of trees. Milder winters and slight southern drawls. Nothing at all like the flat, wind-swept prairies and city skyscrapers you see in other parts of the state. And I certainly had never stepped foot on a real working farm before.  He and I come from two completely different worlds. I don’t know how it works…it just does. We complement each other perfectly. Plus, we are both good communicators and compromisers. I know he doesn’t want the big city life, he knows I’m probably not cut out for country living, so we settled somewhere in between. Not too small…not too big! We are like peas and carrots!

Well, of course, everyone has disagreements every now and then and we are no exception. A while back, I stayed behind at home while Eric went to visit his family on their farm for a long weekend. He returned with an entire third of a steer. Turns out, his parents were butchering (they have a small beef operation on the farm) and he decided to buy in, with his aunt and uncle picking up the last third. I was beyond shocked. Do you realize how much beef that is??? It’s hundreds and hundreds of pounds of meat. I couldn’t believe he agreed to do that without consulting with me first. We had to go buy and extra freezer to store it. Needless to say, I was rather annoyed. Well, I got over it…seeing it as a chance to try new things.

I am STILL trying to figure out how in the world to use all this beef…I use the hamburger and stuff for chili and tacos, but I have a hard time with the steaks, I just don’t love it. I only like it when it’s done exceptionally well, and I’m just not that talented. Plus there are a couple mystery cuts I’m not that thrilled to dig into (what the heck is a cube steak?? Sounds awful…) And beef roasts are not my favorite either. I guess I just don’t love red meat. I’d be perfectly content to never eat it again. LOL! Eric would flip! Forget I said that….

I will continue to try out recipes like this one from Cooking Light (September 2008 cover recipe)…to keep my corn fed, farm raised, red meat eater happy. Even I enjoyed this. Very flavorful, and so easy! It came together so fast, I had call Eric in from his mowing way earlier than I thought I would have to. He sat at the table, all sweaty and dirty and chowed down on this.

I cooked my potatoes a bit too long, so I’d make sure and check them after 30. Mine were a tad on the crisp side. I was going to serve with some roasted broccoli but some how I managed to forget…oops. So I just threw together a tossed salad to serve on the side instead. Plenty of food!

My photo looks a little like something you might find if you looked down into the depths of a trash can at McDonalds…a pile of slop surrounded by french fries, but I SWEAR this is really really good! LOL! That’s just brown food for ya…not very camera friendly.

STEAK FRITES WITH SHALLOT PAN REDUCTION (Recipe Source: Cooking Light, September 2008)


  • 1 3/4  pounds  baking potatoes (about 2 large potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch sticks
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4  teaspoon  kosher salt, divided
  • 2  teaspoons  chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 1  pound  boneless sirloin steak, trimmed
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped shallots
  • 2  tablespoons  brandy (I didn’t have any brandy and didn’t want to buy a whole bottle so I just deglazed with two tablespoons of the wine we drank with dinner.)
  • 3/4  cup  less-sodium beef broth
  • 1  tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  butter


1. Position 1 oven rack on the highest setting. Position another rack on the lowest setting.

2. Preheat oven to 450°.

3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheets. Coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring potatoes and rotating pans halfway through. Toss potatoes with 1 teaspoon thyme. (Check those potatoes after 30…they cook up quicker than you think! I cooked mine too long!)

4. Heat a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add steak to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; keep steak warm.

5. Add shallots to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add brandy; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add beef broth, Dijon mustard, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 3 minutes). Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add butter, stirring with a whisk.

6. Slice steak. Serve with shallot pan reduction sauce and potatoes.



Filed under beef

5 responses to “Beef – It’s what he wants for dinner

  1. Amy

    The picture on this edition of cooking light has been taunting me. It looks great! Now that I’ve heard a positive review I might have to try it! I had a good laugh at your story about southern IL as I am a born and raise Chicago suburbanite :).

  2. I can totally relate! I was raised in the ‘burbs and married a dairy farm boy. I never dreamt in a million years I’d marry some guy from a town with one 4-way stop, 3 gas stations, and more cows than people. We saw my in-law’s this weekend and came home with a bunch of beef (they’re no longer dairy farmers). I’m not crazy about red meat at all. I’ll eat it every once in a while, but that’s it. I saw this recipe in cooking light and have been trying to decide if I will make it. I think I might now – so glad you blogged about it!

  3. That looks so good!

    My husbands family always raises cows for beef and I love when I get a freezer full! Cubed steak is just steak that is ran through a machine that tenderizes it. Its usually used for stuff like chicken fried steak.

    I gave you the e for excellence blog award, so check my blog for details!

  4. Sara

    My hubby and I bought a big meat bundle at Fareway one year and cube steak was included. I didn’t know what to do with it either…I ended up finding and adapting a beef curry dish for our cube steak. Adam (hubby) loved it.

  5. Pingback: Steak Frites with Shallot pan Reduction « Laura’s Home Cookin’

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