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Pan-Seared Aspen Ridge® Natural Angus NY Strip Steak with Pom Balsamic Sauce & Chateau Buena Vista Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

beef cabernet sauvignon california food & wine holiday montana rae napa recipe red wine Dec 12, 2021

Food and wine pairing can be daunting, especially when it comes to the holiday season. If you’re looking to impress your guests, a few key principles can make menu planning a breeze. First, get serious about your ingredients. This applies to both the wine selections and groceries. The more you know about the sources of the things you buy, the more certain you can be about their quality.

For beef, Aspen Ridge is the brand I’ve come to know and trust. You can find their products in Safeway stores in Denver and throughout the mountains. Their Natural Angus beef cuts are USDA Choice graded, Certified Humane®, have no added hormones or antibiotics and are fed no animal byproducts. They are transparent about the way their cattle are treated and it makes a huge difference in the flavor and quality of every cut.

If you’re shopping for high-quality, sustainably raised food products, you’ll want to do the same for wine. Ask the staff to help you choose wines that are made sustainably and without unnecessary additions. Like the beef, you can taste the difference.

When it comes to the actual pairing of flavors, focus on the sauce and preparation of your dish more than the cut of meat. Today, we are preparing a very special sauce to accompany a classic steakhouse-inspired New York strip steak. This dish is both decadent and uncomplicated. Two things I think we’re all hoping for in the midst of the holiday hustle.

The sauce calls for fresh, simple ingredients: balsamic vineyard, olive oil, brown sugar, cranberries, fresh rosemary, pomegranate juice and seeds. While the combo may seem like it leads to a sweet outcome, restrained proportions mean the finished sauce is more tangy than sweet. I’ve tasted and prepared a few different versions of this sauce with beef. For me, simple is best and the recipe outlined below is fairly foolproof; not to mention the beautiful colors are so festive on the table.

The Cabernet I’ve paired here comes from Chateau Buena Vista, the oldest premium winery in California. While we often think of Cab as bold, tannic, and intense, I find this one to offer plenty of elegance and finesse. It accentuates the flavors of the pan sauce without overwhelming it. It’s made from sustainably farmed grapes and is truly representative of American viticultural history.

The cast-iron method I’m using is fabulous for cooking beef. A well-seasoned, heavy-duty pan holds heat, which is great, but be mindful that it will keep cooking the beef after it’s removed from a direct heat source. Your best friend is a digital meat thermometer. Every home chef needs one if you prepare meat. No two cuts of beef are the same, nor are any two heat sources. With so many variables it’s important to learn to cook by temperature rather than time.

If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you can order one on Amazon or use another type of pan that works on both the stove and in the oven. Alternatively, you can use a pan for the stovetop and then transfer the beef to a pre-heated oven dish.

The quantities outlined below will yield enough sauce for about two steaks. Just multiply the ingredients as needed to accommodate your party. It’s hard to call out the exact prep time as this depends on how long you marinate your steaks, their thickness, and other factors. Again, keep that meat thermometer close at hand! 

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 oz. Aspen Ridge Natural Angus NY Strip Steak per person
  • salt & pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup pomegranate juice
  • .5 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Arils (seeds) from ½ pomegranate 

Preparation:

  1. Apply a liberal amount of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to both sides of the Aspen Ridge Natural Angus NY Strip Steaks.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, olive oil, and vinegar in a bowl, mix thoroughly.
  3. In a deep dish, pour the mixture evenly over all sides of the beef then cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Marinade in the refrigerator for 2 to 12 hours.
  5. About 15 minutes before cooking, remove the steaks from the dish to a plate and reserve the marinade liquid.
  6. Open and/or decant your wine so it has time to breathe before the meal.
  7. Place a cast-iron skillet inside your oven and pre-heat to 400 degrees.
  8. While the oven heats, combine the liquid from the marinade with the cranberries, pomegranate juice, and rosemary in a saucepan on the stove.
  9. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the cranberries pop.
  10. When mostly reduced, remove from the heat and stir in the pomegranate seeds.
  11. Carefully remove the hot cast iron skillet from the oven and place it on the stove over medium-high heat.
  12. Coat the skillet with butter being careful not to let it burn or smoke.
  13. Place the steak on the cast iron pan and cook for at least 2 minutes each side or until a nice brown crust has formed. Don’t be tempted to flip the steak before at least 2 minutes have passed.
  14. Once the steaks are seared, move the cast iron pan to the oven to finish. Use your digital thermometer to check the internal temperature until it reaches 145 degrees inside or your desired level of doneness. It may need only a minute or two so don’t walk away.
  15. Remove the steaks, cover with tin foil, and set aside for at least 5 minutes to rest before slicing against the grain. As the beef rests, it will continue to cook slightly and will seal in its juices so they don’t run out when you slice it. Don’t overcook the steak. Remember, you can always cook it a little more, but you cannot uncook it.
  16. Spoon the sauce over the steak and enjoy.

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think! Happy Holidays!

Montana & The Wine Ship Cru

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