Mouthwatering Steak Diane inspired by Marcus Wareing’s skill test

Safe to say that I am not exactly the biggest lover or eater of red meat, however on occasion I do enjoy “steak night”. I was watching MasterChef Professionals 2016 when Michelin starred Chef Marcus Wareing cooked Steak Diane as his invention test. It looked damn delicious!

With Marcus as my inspiration, this recipe is based on a combination of his preference with a fusion of other proven versions and my personal touch, of course! And the result…?? Dinner out of this world!

Steak Diane is traditionally made with a thinly pounded sirloin steak, good splash of cognac, butter and shallot sauce that is flambéed right before serving to add some theatrical effect!

Doing some research into “Steak Diane” I found that the exact origins are unfortunately as hazy as the cigarette-clouded restaurants that originally served this dish. It is not a classical French recipe, though its preparation is a “distant relative” to the French Steak au Poivre (steak coated in cracked peppercorns and often accompanied by a cognac and butter sauce). Although there is no proof, the evidence suggests that Steak Diane was probably invented c. 1950 in New York. It symbolised luxury and continental glamour for post-WW II diners.

 Like Pasta Alfredo and Bananas Foster, Steak Diane was regularly prepared table-side by a chef de rang or head waiter who claimed to have the secret recipe. Everybody loves a bit of theatre!

PREP: 10 minutes          COOK:10 minutes          SERVES: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sirloin steaks, approx. 8 oz.
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped finely
  • 5 ounces of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tbs salted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed lightly with the flat of a knife
  • 3 – 4 tbs of rich beef stock (made from 1 cube of jelly Knorr beef stock and 50mls of water)
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 ts Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup of cognac, (I use Courvoisier Imperial XO Cognac)
  • ¾ cup of whipping cream (UK) or heavy cream (US)
  • 2-3 springs of fresh thyme
  • Small handful of parsley

Method:

Trim the steaks of excess fat. Using a rolling pin or tenderiser gently pound steaks to flatten them to ¼ – inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper on one side only (the one which will be placed down first). Heat a little olive oil in a skillet pan large enough to accommodate the 2 steaks side by side.

Quickly sautée the steaks for up to a minute on each side (when turning over, season the other side of the steaks) then remove from the pan and set aside to rest. Important: the sauce is then prepared in same pan!

For the sauce, slice the shallot finely and add to the pan, allow to soften briefly before slicing and adding the mushrooms. Then add a tablespoon of butter, crushed garlic cloves and springs of thyme. On medium heat cook covered for about 1-2mins until shallots golden and garlic soft.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, then mustard. Heat through for a minute. Turn up the heat and tilt the pan away from you; pour the cognac into the far end then light it! Be careful that the flame doesn’t singe your eyebrows! Once the alcohol has burnt off, swirl the juices around the pan.

Add the cream and beef stock. Allow the sauce to thicken before turning down the heat and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Place steaks back into the pan and finish cooking them to your taste. Chop the parsley and add to pan, stir everything nicely together.

It’s time to plate! Serve the steaks topped with the yummy sauce with a side of either sautéed potatoes or potatoes croquettes.

Bon Appetite!

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