Saturday, May 2, 2015

USDA Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak with Tamarind Bourbon Steak Sauce

     A Classic Fine Dining Steakhouse Entrée!
     Today's recipe features a classic steakhouse restaurant cut of beef.  Great steakhouses market USDA Prime Grade Beef as a minimum quality standard.  A USDA Choice Grade Top Sirloin Steak does not have enough fat marbling to guarantee that the steak will be tender.  A USDA Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak has plenty of fat marbling and it is guaranteed to be tender, even if it is cooked to a medium well temperature!
     Many beef steak connoisseurs agree that a USDA Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak has the richest beef steak flavor of all steaks.  This why classic steakhouse restaurants offer this steak on the menu.  
     Regular grocery store do not carry USDA Prime Grade Beef.  Butcher shops are the only place where USDA Prime Grade Beef can be found.  For a special occasion or a holiday weekend, Prime Grade Steaks are well worth the price.   The USDA Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak in the pictures above was purchased at The Butcher Block in Las Vegas.

      Setting a bottle of pre-manufsctured commercial steak sauce on a table is like advertising another company's brand name.  Many chefs resign to offering bottled brand name steak sauces and can be likened to selling out.  A steak sauce company sure does not pay a restaurant a commission to feature its product, so from a profit driven standpoint purchasing bottles of steak sauce does nothing but raise a restaurant's food cost percentage.  Another reason not to offer brand name steak sauces amounts to restaurant rating systems.  In the highest fine dining restaurant rating category, a restaurant loses points for offering manufactured products directly to customers.
     Great steakhouse restaurant chefs always make their own signature steak sauce!  Today's steak sauce recipe has a classic flavor that is familiar to many steak lovers.  Tamarind paste is the base of the sauce.  Tamarind has an extremely tart flavor.  It take patience and plenty of sweetening to balance the flavor.  Adding savory spices and sweet onion also helps.  Kentucky Straight Sour Mash Bourbon naturally tames the flavor of tamarind.  Today's steak sauce recipe does taste better than any bottled steak sauce on the market.  A fresh hand crafted steak sauce is always best.  
     Selecting A Bourbon For Cooking:
     A good old fashioned Kentucky Bourbon that has a full flavor profile is best for cooking.  A Bourbon that is aged in dark roasted oak barrels has the strongest flavor and the darkest color.  A classic Straight Bourbon that has a sour mash consisting of about 85% corn, 10% wheat grain and 5% rye grain is a smooth tasting classic.
     Bourbon for recipes does not have to be aged for and extended time and it does not have to be a single barrel batch.  These types of Bourbon command a high price and they should not be used for cooking.  In fact it would be a sin to use a top shelf Bourbon in a recipe!    
     The selection should be Straight Bourbon, because Straight Bourbon is the only Bourbon that has a minimum aging requirement of 2 years.  This means that even the cheapest Straight Bourbon on the market will have a remarkably good rich mellow flavor.

     Substitutes for Bourbon?  There is none!  Standard Whiskey, Frontier Whiskey and Blended Whiskey rarely have the Federal minimum standard of 51% corn in the sour mash, like Bourbon does.  The flavor of Blended Whiskey is weak, because it is diluted with neutral grain spirits.
     Rye Whiskey has too much spicy bite for making a classic steak sauce.  Rye Whiskey is not a substitute for Bourbon.
     Scotch Whiskey tastes nothing like bourbon, because peat is used to roast the barrels.  Peat is basically mossy top soil that contains traces of farm animal excrement amongst other things.
     Canadian Whiskey is not a good substitute either, because it is fortified with grain alcohol and there is not enough corn liquor flavor.  Canadian Whiskey is blended to be extra strong and mellow tasting for folks that live in icy cold weather.
     Oddly enough, Corn Liquor Moonshine is basically White Clear Bourbon that has not been aged in an oak barrel.  Moonshine actually is better than Bourbon for certain recipes, like fruit sauces.

     There is good cheap Bourbon and there is better cheap Bourbon in America, because the level of competition is high.  Many bargain price Bourbons actually are very underrated.  A good cheap Straight Bourbon Whiskey that has a dark charred oak barrel aged color is best for using in recipes.  
     My personal bargain price choice for recipes is Evan William's Kentucky Sour Mash Straight Bourbon Whiskey.  Evan William's Black Label Bourbon Whiskey runs for about $10 a bottle.  Evan Williams Straight Kentucky Bourbon not only has a rich flavor that is perfect for using in recipes, it is the top choice of those who have to live on a tight budget.  This Straight Bourbon really makes a good rich tasting Mint Julep on Kentucky Derby Day too!

     Tamarind Bourbon Steak Sauce:
     This recipe yields 2 generous portions of steak sauce!  (About 6 ounces.)
     Blocks of pressed tamarind paste are available at Asian food markets.  Select a block that is labeled as seedless.  Even though the label says seedless, the fruit must be checked for seeds after it reconstitutes in warm water.
     The spice mixture is complex, but it yields a great tasting steak sauce.  Most of the exotic spices can be found in an Indian food market.  
     The Straight Bourbon should be added after a sweet sour flavor balance is achieved.
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of seedless tamarind fruit paste in a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 3 cups of water.
     Simmer till the fruit becomes tender.
     Step 2:  Stir and check for any tamarind seeds.  Remove the seeds if any are found.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground galangal powder.  (Thai Blue Ginger Powder)
     Add 4 whole cloves.  (spice cloves)
     Add 1 pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 3 tablespoons of minced onion.
     Step 4:  Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ancho chile powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of achiote paste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns.
     Add 1 tablespoon of whole Brazilian Pink Peppercorns.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of whole mustard seed.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of whole black caraway seeds.
     Add 6 dried whole juniper berries.
     Step 5:  Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 2 teaspoons of malt vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese Black Vinegar.  (Chinkiang Vinegar)
     Add 1 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of dijon mustard.
     Step 6:  Add 2 tablespoons of palm sugar.
     Add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.
     Add sea salt to taste.
     Step 7:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil over medium heat.
     Step 8:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat
     Gently simmer the sauce.
     *Not all tamarind is created equal.  Some tamarind paste is more sour than others.  After ten minutes of simmering, taste the very thin sauce to see if the sweet sour balance is okay.  Add a little bit more granulated sugar if the sauce is too tangy.
     Step 9:  Add 1 cup of Kentucky Sour Mash Straight Bourbon.  Do not flambé!
     Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, so the alcohol evaporates.
     Step 10:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.  Use a small rubber spatula to press the tamarind and onion pulp through the strainer, but try not to press the whole spice seeds through.
     Step 11:  Simmer and reduce the sauce over very low heat, till it is a medium thin puree steak sauce consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Remove the sauce from the heat.
     Allow the sauce to cool.
     Refrigerate the sauce for 2 hours, so the flavors mellow.
     *Warm the sauce to room temperature before serving.

      USDA Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak:
     Select a USDA Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak that weighs 14 to 16 ounces.  The steak should be about 1" thick.  
     Season with sea salt and crushed black pepper.
     Heat a char grill or cast iron ribbed griddle to a medium/medium high temperature.
     Cook the steak to the desired finish temperature.  (Medium/rare to medium is best for a good Top Sirloin Steak.)  Be sure to occasionally brush the steakwith melted unsalted butter.  
     Place the steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and let the steak rest for 2 minutes. 

     USDA Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak with Tamarind Bourbon Steak Sauce:
     Place the USDA Prime GradeTop Sirloin Steak in the front center of a plate.
     Place a glass ramekin of the Tamarind Bourbon Steak Sauce on the plate.
     Place a vegetable medley garnish of your choice on the plate.  
     *Buttered, seasoned okra, mushroom, finger potato and red bell pepper is a nice medley!

     The hearty rich flavor of a tender Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak with a good steak sauce is hard to beat!  

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