Steak and chips, probably up there in many people's 'last meal' but the variety and combination of what that entails is endless. A Delmonico Ribeye with Beef dripping triple cooked chips & Bearnaise would probably be my choice but a very close second would be this. A rare Hanger steak with pepper sauce. The first time I tasted Hanger steak was in Deanes Meat Locker (previously reviewed here) last Christmas Eve for lunch. From memory the menu stated 'best served rare' to which I was sold. I had a fair idea of what a Hanger steak was but it was the first time I had seen it on a menu never mind on display in a butchers. Probably because it is known as the 'butchers cut' because the butcher kept it for himself as there is only one per animal. It is the beefiest tasting steak and if you are of the fillet steak cooked medium to well persuasion it probably isn't for you. The reason that it has to be served rare is due to the make up of the particular muscle in that it is slightly tough if cooked any further with little fat to compensate compared to a ribeye or sirloin. As you can see from the price it is a fairly thrifty cut of cow and not much cheaper than my luxurious version of it's accompaniment, shiitake pepper sauce. If I am honest this post is probably more about the pepper sauce than the steak, a sin I know. But the combination of the ingredients is really something special.
- Hanger steak (or what ever cut you prefer)
- Cognac 4 Tablespoons
- Shiitake Mushrooms 120g
- Sweet Smoked Paprika 1 Teaspoon
- 4 Shallots
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- Butter 25g
- Ground Black Pepper 1 Tablespoon
- Double Cream 250 ml
- Worcestershire Sauce 2 splashes
- Sea Salt 2 Teaspoons
To begin finely chop the shallots and cut the shiitakes into quarters and crush the garlic.
Put a frying pan on medium to low heat, allow it to come up to temperature and add the butter. You don't want the pan to be overly hot otherwise the fat solids in the butter will burn which will ruin the sauce before you have begun. Once the butter has gently melted add the shallots and stir for 10 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Next add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Again, it is important to ensure the pan is still on medium to low heat so the garlic doesn't burn and turn the base of the sauce bitter.
After the garlic has been frying for a minute add the Worcestershire Sauce which will halt the frying process and add an excellent depth of flavour. Cook for a further minute to allow for the onions to absorb the unique flavour. Add the pepper and continue to stir the for 30 seconds to release the flavour. The final step before cooking the steak is to add the sweet smoked paprika and set the pan aside off the heat.
For the hanger steak I simply seasoned with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Set the BBQ to it's highest temp and cook for 2 minutes per side. Simple.
After four minutes the steak should be rare so remove and rest while you finish the sauce. Put the pan back on the heat, high this time, add another knob of butter along with the mushrooms and stir the mixture together for 3-4 minutes. I find that if you add the mushrooms at the beginning they lose their structure and some of their woody, earthy flavour. Now for the fun part of adding the cognac. The aim is to tilt the pan towards the gas flame so the alcohol catches fire and flambés. Take care though as it will burn fairly aggressively so if you value your eye brows keep the pan at arms length.
Once the alcohol has burnt away all is left is to add the cream and slice the steak.
If you have rested the steak for long enough there should be a significant amount of resting juices. DO NOT WASTE. Pour the juices straight into the pan along with the double cream.
Turn the heat down low, season with salt and simmer for around two minutes until everything has combined. Have a taste and if more seasoning is needed then add more salt or pepper.
I obviously served with a few heavily salted chips as anything else just wouldn't be deserving.
Hope you Enjoy,