Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Night Dinner: Steak and Chips

Steak and Chips
Home Cooking

Here we go again - another attempt at reproducing a MasterChef dish. Last Friday, they went through some really classic classics; I'm talking about fish and chips, pancakes and steak with red wine sauce. I LOVED that episode because they also did risotto (which is why I made the pumpkin risotto) and all up, it was just a really educational show for me.

I've been spoiling myself recently. You can obviously see by the frequency of blog posts that my whole day is spent cooking and eating. I planned a steak with red wine sauce + home made chunky chips for dinner. This is not an easy task and also involved purchasing a lot of groceries: steak, red wine, potato, onions, shallots, rosemary - you name it.

You can watch the videos for the lessons yourself: steak with red wine sauce and fish and chips. As a summary, they talk about the importance of having the steak at room temperature before you cook it, cooking for a short time and turning as minimally as possible and resting your steak. As for chips, you cut them and cook them and then let them dry in the fridge for at least half a day before frying. It was recommended to fry the chips in peanut oil.

Steak and Chips (divided into 3 parts)
Makes a meal for one lucky girl

Part 1: The chunky chips


  • 1 potato
  • 500mL peanut oil
  • salt

1. Cut the potato into even chip shapes. This should mean you don't have to peel it because those curvy surfaces get dumped anyhow.
2. Dry the chips thoroughly on absorbent paper towel. Sprinkle some salt on.3. Place the chips in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
4. Put the saucepan on high heat until the water comes to the boil.
5. When the chips are cooked, drain and place them on paper towel once again.
6. After you've dried the chips, spread them out on a tray and place them in the fridge. They should remain there for at least 1/2 a day so that the surfaces dry out.
7. When you're ready to cook the chips, heat up the peanut oil to about 130 degrees Celsius. I didn't have a stove thermometer so I used an ugly chip to check for how hot the oil is. The oil is hot enough if when you put a chip in, it starts bubbling and sizzling immediately.
8. Swirl them around with a slotted spoon and bring them out of the oil and onto absorbent paper when they're golden and crisp.
9. To serve, sprinkle a bit more salt on.

Part 2: The red wine sauce

I'm not going to give ingredients etc for this because mine was a bit of a 'wing it' process. Read below to see that it didn't turn out perfectly. Watch the video (link given above) to see how the MasterChefs did it and try it for yourself.

My veggies for the sauce

I fried up the excess fat from my steak in a small saucepan, tossed in chopped shallots, onions and garlic, poured in some stock and waited. Then, I added the red wine, salt, rosemary and bayleaves.

More waiting. The red wine reduced. Soon, there was nearly none left. In a panic, I put the whole mix through a sieve and saved the red wine that remained. I added more red wine the the rest of the stock and repeated the process... dodgy dodgy. In the end, I had enough red wine reduction to put back into the saucepan and reheat. I added some butter and let it reduce a bit more before serving.


Even after all that reducing, it was still not as dark and thick as it should be, visually. It did taste good though and complimented the steak nicely.

Part 3: The steak


  • lovely piece of steak (I got a 300g piece of grain-fed Porterhouse steak and chopped off the tail to get a 200g circle)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

1. Have the steak at room temperature. Dry it well on some paper towels.
2. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Drizzle with olive oil to cover and sprinkle some salt on both sides.
3. Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan on high.
4. When the frying pan is really hot, place the steak on. Cook it for exactly 3min before turning. After you turn, cook the other side for 3min also (note: I realize this cooking time depends on how you like your steak cooked and how thick the steak is. Mine was about 2-3cm thick and this cooking time brought it to medium well).
5. After the 2 sides are caramelized and sealed, quickly seal the edges of the steak too.
6. Place your frying pan in the oven and cook for another 4min. If your frying pan is not ovenproof, quickly transport the steak onto an oven tray and cook for 4min.
7. When time is up, turn the oven off and rest your steak for half the time you cooked it (in this case, 5min resting time). Rest the steak standing up so that less surface area is touching the tray.
8. Once the steak is rested, heat up the butter and rosemary in a frying pan till hot and quickly toss the steak in it to coat and gloss the surface.
9. Serve the steak with the chips and red wine sauce.

You'll have to coordinate yourself in terms of how to get the 3 components ready at the same time. I had multiple stove tops going at once and arms and legs flying...

The chips didn't work out well. They looked fantastic and I was SO looking forward to biting in but they weren't crunchy at all! No idea what I did wrong - hypothesizing that maybe they weren't cooked enough. ONE of them was crunchy. The rest were soggy. Maybe I didn't drain them fast enough? I blame my lack of absorbent paper towels. Oh well - can try again next time.

I had the opposite problem with the red wine sauce. I didn't follow any recipe - just used whatever quantities of whatever I thought was appropriate. Honestly, I expected the sauce to fail fail fail but it tasted good. The problem was it didn't LOOK right. Everyone else's red wine sauce is dark and thick. Mine is purple. I'm assuming I didn't reduce it enough. Or else, the wine was a bad choice. I know zilche about wine. Make that less than zilche. It only took me about 10min deciding whether something was red or white. *sigh*

Perfectly cooked to my liking

Finally, my steak. The steak was a winner. It was great. I know a lot has to do with the quality of meat itself but hey, mine was from Woolies. Granted the most expensive cut I could find at Woolies but still, I think I can take some credit for the success. Some people (in fact, most people) will say I overcooked the steak. It was brown around the edges and pink through the middle but very juicy. I usually order my steaks medium well so it turned out (unintentionally) exactly how I like it. If I was cooking to impress others, I'd probably reduce my cooking time to 2min per side next time.

Rules with cooking steak:
  • Get a good steak
  • Seal in a really hot pan
  • Don't flip it over and over again
  • Oven to finish it off
  • Let it rest
  • Finish by glazing with hot butter


  1. last time i did my chips my receipes told me to soak them in water for half a day and just deep fry it straight away and they were quite crispy...

  2. When do you take them out of the oil though? Like, what colour stage.