I has some mad foods photographin’ skillz.
(I SO hope you are NOT taking me seriously. Please – I’m not even batting .500 with these people.)
Anyhoo. Hanger steak. I’d heard of it – it’s popular in restaurants – but I’d never seen it, cooked it or eaten it. In fact, if our butcher hadn’t slipped this into one of our boxes when we picked up Chuck II (it was grass-fed, but not from our steer judging by the packaging) I’d have never thought to try to find one.
Oh, I didn’t know what I was missing.
This is a seriously good cut of meat. According to Wikipedia “A hanger steak is a cut of beef steak prized for its flavor. Derived from the diaphragm of a steer, it typically weighs about 1 to 1.5 lbs (450 to 675g). In the past it was sometimes known as ‘butcher’s steak’ because butchers would often keep it for themselves rather than offer it for sale.” Good heavens, I know why – properly cooked, this is about as tasty as they come.
Hanger steak is best cooked quickly over high heat to a nice medium-rare, especially when grass-finished; over-cooking will leave you with a dry, tough, chewy mess. There is a long, tough and inedible membrane that runs the length of the steak unless your butcher was considerate enough to remove it for you; the recipe gives simple instructions for removing it.
Hanger Steak with Onion Wine Sauce
serves 4 to 6
1 to 2 tablespoon tallow or other cooking fat
1 1/2 pounds hanger steak
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon dried thyme, finely crumbled
Locate the tough membrane running the length of the steak. With a small, sharp knife detach the steak on each side; discard the membrane. Cut the steak into 6 to 8 smaller pieces.
Melt the tallow in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. Place the steaks into the pan, and quickly sear them on all sides. Continue to cook, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes total for medium-rare – a moment or two longer for more well done (remember the steaks will continue to cook while they rest). Transfer the steaks to a warm dish, cover them with foil and allow them to rest while you prepare the sauce.
Reduce the heat to medium, add a tablespoon of butter and the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook until it boils away, then add the wine and thyme. Bring the wine to a boil and reduce it by half. Remove pan from heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
To serve, cut each steak against the grain into thin slices; fan the slices out on a dinner plate. Drizzle the warm sauce over the steak and serve immediately.