Pan Roasted Rib Steaks with Porcini Rub and Bordelaise Sauce, Duck Fat Fries

My, have the years flown by.  Tonight's Anniversary dinner is per Chris' request of steak and duck fat fries.  Okay, duck fat fries.. pretty straight forward and pretty well stand alone perfect.  Steak is an area that allows for some creativity.  I spent the morning racking my brains on what to do and came up with this combination.  Too much?  Perhaps.  I couldn't decide on whether to go with rub or sauce.  In the Emerton household, sauce is king, but we all like a good rub as well, right?  Hence, here we have both.
First the steak.  I went with 2 large, just over a pound each, bone-in rib eye steaks.  I like a large lip on the steaks, which is where I think most of the flavor is.  Others opt for a larger eye.  The lip if the outer edge around the eye of the steak. It is well marbled and more tender.  Start by tying each steak to help hold its shape while cooking and to aid in even cooking.
For the rub:
1/3 cup ground dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 oz)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Mix all together.  
Generously coat each steak, all sides.  Place the rub into a large rimmed dish and press the steak down into the rub making sure all sides are evenly coated.
Place the steaks onto a platter and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.  Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
For the Bordelaise Sauce:
1 cup red wine, I used a Cabernet Sauvignon
1/3 cup sliced shallots
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
10 sprigs flat leaf Italian parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp sliced garlic
6 black peppercorns
1 1/3 cups veal stock
2 tbsp cold butter
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine the wine, shallots, carrots, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and garlic and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cover and let simmer for about 3 minutes.  Then uncover and continue to simmer until almost all of the liquid is evaporated.
Add the peppercorns and veal stock, cover and bring to a simmer for another 3 minutes.  Then uncover and continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan.  Salt and pepper to taste.  The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for a few days up to this point.
To finish, stir in the butter until just melted.

To cook the steaks:
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Place the steaks into the pan and let sear for a few minutes, adjusting the heat so that it does not burn.  With the sugar in the rub, if the heat is too high, the steaks will burn instead of caramelize.  Sear the steaks on both sides first, then turn the heat down slightly to finish cooking, about 15-20 minutes total for medium rare.
For the Duck Fat Fries:
2 (or more) Russet potatoes
5 cups rendered duck fat
fine sea salt to taste
Cut the potatoes into thin matchsticks, about 1/8" x 1/8" thick pieces.  Soak in cold water for at least one hour and up to several hours, changing the water once or twice.
In a large cast iron pot, heat the duck fat to 300f for the first frying of the potatoes.  Fry the potatoes in batches so not to overcrowd the pot.  Once the potatoes are just losing their opaqueness, carefully remove them and drain on paper towels.  Once you are finished with all of the potatoes, heat the fat up to 375f.  Add the fries to the fat and cook until they are crispy and golden brown.  Remove from oil and sprinkle immediately with fine sea salt.
It turns out the rub was king.  No sauce needed, but for maybe a bit of balsamic vinegar to complete.  The duck fat fries were divine.  Roll me into bed.


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