Hanger Steak with Dried Cherry Peppercorn Sauce – 2013 Durif

Serve this with a simply seasoned hanger steak (around 1-1½ pounds dressed), dusted with salt and pepper and garlic. Grill to char the outside, but hanger needs to be medium-rare to medium or it can be chewy or taste liverish. Be sure to rest the meat after you pull it from the grill.

INGREDIENTS

1 cups dried Montmorency cherries

2 medium shallots, fine diced

1 largish garlic clove, minced

½ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very fine dice

¼ cup good quality red wine vinegar, or as needed

2 ounces wine

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon mildly aromatic honey

½ tablespoon black peppercorns

½ teaspoon white peppercorns, powdered

Salt to taste

¼ teaspoon real vanilla extract (If you don’t have the real deal skip it.)

1 small branch fresh thyme

Neutral flavored oil such as grape seed, avocado, or sunflower seed, as needed

½ – 1 tablespoon butter, as needed

METHOD

Cook the black peppercorns in a dry pan over medium-high heat until aromatic. Transfer to a bowl.

Cover cherries by 1-inch with boiling water. Reconstitute until plump/no longer dry, 30-60 minutes. Drain cherries, reserving liquid.

Heat a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium-low, and film the pan floor with oil. Add shallots, ginger, and garlic and sauté, stirring as needed to prevent coloring, until soft.

Add sugar and honey to melt sugar.

Add cherry liquid and bring to a boil. Skim any scum that forms, then add the red wine vinegar. Lower the lower heat to medium. Add peppercorns, white pepper, thyme sprig, and cherries. Stir well.

Cook gently, stirring every few minutes. Add the wine. Cook to reduce liquid until it thickens a little and the peppercorns are soft. Remove thyme stem.

In a powerful blender or food processor, purée 85% of the cherries with a little water to get things moving.

Return purée to pan and fold in the reserved liquid and remaining cherries and peppercorns. Warm and stir to combine well. Cook down until sauce is no longer runny, but rather a loose glaze. Add in the vanilla extract and stir well. Taste for balance and adjust as needed. If too sweet, add a few drops of vinegar, if too tart add a little brown sugar. Taste for salt. If ready, keep warm until steak is done. When steak is done, cut across the grain, tile out on a platter and nappe the sauce down the center of the meat. You could also run the sauce under the steak.

Serve this with mashed potatoes with lots of butter, sautéed greens with diced candied ginger and nuts, and blanched and glazed garlic cloves.

Yield: Enough to serve 4

Source: Chef Andrew E Cohen