Let's start with a photograph of the meal and then we will proceed to the recipes:
Braised Brussels Sprouts via Mollie Katzen
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallot (about two 3-ounce shallots)
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons water
1. Use a very sharp knife to cut off and discard the base of the Brussels sprouts. (As you do so, the out leaves will fall off. Keep and use any that are not bruised!) Then slice a piece from one side, place the sprout cut side down (for slicing stability), and cut the sprout crosswise into about 5 slices (more or less, depending on its size). Repeat until you have cut up all the sprouts in this way.
2. Place a large (10- to 12- inch) heavy skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the shallots, and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and salt, pour in 3 tablespoons of the water, and spread everything evenly across the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes.
3. Turn the heat to low, and cook, undisturbed, for another 3 minutes. Stir again, and decide if you like the sprouts cooked to this degree or if you want to cook them a bit more. You can leave the skillet on the stove over low heat for up to 5 minutes longer, in which case the sprouts will brown and become more intensely flavored—it’s your call. Serve with Mollie Katzen's Dijon-Maple Syrup Sauce.
Pan-Seared Hanger Steak with Mushroom-Merlot-Balsamic Reduction Sauce
This recipe is inspired by one I saw in the beautiful and practical cookbook, The Winemaker Cooks, by Christine Hanna.
1 tpsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 5-6 ounce hanger steaks (or other flat steak)
Salt and Pepper
4 oz mushrooms, stemmed, brushed clean and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup Merlot
2 tpsp Balsamic Vinegar
1. In a large, heavy saute pan (I used cast-iron), heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper, then sear in the hot oil until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add the mushrooms to the pan and return to medium-high heat. Ass the garlic and stir to combine. Add the wine and Balsamic vinegar and cook 2-3 minutes. Return the steaks to the pan, cover, and cook for 2 1/2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Serve the steaks with the sauce.
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