Pan sauces are an easy way to make any weeknight dinner special, not to mention delicious!
Here, steaks are coated with cracked peppercorns and seared in a hot pan, creating a piquant crust while retaining the juices within. A simple deglazing and a handful of sweet dried cherries come together to finish these steaks with bold and complex flavor.
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
4 – 6 ounce top sirloin steaks
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup Pinot Noir
¾ cup beef stock
½ cup dried cherries
1 ½ tablespoons cold butter, diced
Begin by cracking those peppercorns into large pieces, either by pulsing in a spice grinder or tossing them into a zip-top plastic bag and tapping with a meat mallet.
Rinse and pat your steaks dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with Kosher salt and the cracked peppercorns. Use your fingers to press the peppercorns into the meat so they adhere.
Heat a large skillet over high heat and add the canola oil. (If you have a skillet that is NOT nonstick, now is the time to use it! Enameled cast iron also works beautifully for searing meats.) When you see the first wisps of smoke, carefully add your steaks. Allow the meat to sear for 4 minutes on one side before flipping. Cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes for a medium-rare steak. Once to your desired level of doneness, transfer the meat to a warm plate and cover loosely with foil. Set the steaks aside to rest while you make your pan sauce.
Pour off all but a tablespoon of the cooking oil from your skillet and then return it to the stovetop. Pour in the wine and as it furiously bubbles away, use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet (also called fond). This is called deglazing the pan. Let the wine reduce by half before adding the beef stock and dried cherries. Again, let your sauce reduce by about half. Once reduced, remove your pan from the heat and stir in the butter, one little piece at a time. In the end, you’ll have a silky sauce that lightly coats the back of a spoon. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.