The Meal Planner


I always love to find a deal on an already cheap cut of meat....but the creativity comes when figuring out how to turn that tough meat into a tender, delicious supper. This was my culinary dilemma when I found beef blade steaks for $1.50 a pound. I was pretty sure I had solved the problem with this recipe though....I mean come on....smothering the steak in a sauce made of balsamic vinegar and sauteed mushrooms? Seriously.

The sauce was just as heavenly as I thought it would be. Tart, slightly sour but full of rich body from the mushrooms and beef broth. And my cheap steak find? Horribly tough and chewy!

So here's the lesson to the story: use a quality steak when frying or grilling, and use tougher steaks like blade for stewing and slow cooking. Just because you douse a cheap steak in a delicious sauce does not make it less like a meaty bubblegum...it just makes it a tasty meaty bubblegum :)

This recipe is definitely worth making...just don't use meat as tough as rubber.


Recipe from Gourmet Magazine
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Serves 4


4 steaks or 2 large steaks cut in half (about 1 1/4 lbs in total) Use whatever cut you like best
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp finely chopped shallot, or 1/4 finely diced onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp beef broth
3/4 tsp cornstarch


Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat with about a tbsp of oil until nice and hot. Put the steaks in the pan and cook about 4-6 minutes per side. This should make them about medium-rare. Remove the steaks from the pan, place on a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Sitting on the platter they will cook to medium. If you like your steaks more done than this, feel free to adjust the cooking time.

While the steaks are resting, add butter to the frying pan along with mushrooms and shallots (or onion) and saute until the mushrooms are browned and tender, about 4 minutes. Once they are done cooking, add them to the platter with the steaks.

Add the vinegar and soy sauce to the pan, making sure to scrape up the delicious browned bits on the bottom. Let cook about 2 minutes and then add broth and let simmer. While the sauce is simmering, add remaining 2 tsp of broth to a cup with the cornstarch. Stir them together and add to the pan and stir well. As it starts to simmer it will thicken up the sauce. Take the entire plate of steaks and mushrooms and return them to the pan along with any meat juices that have accumulated. Turn the steaks over in the sauce letting them get covered and delicious. Serve the steaks with the sauce and mushrooms smothered over top.

Click here for printable version of Steak with Balsamic Mushroom Sauce
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THE RESULTS?
Like I said, the sauce was tasty and delectable but the meat was tough and grisly since we used blade steaks. With a nice piece of sirloin this would be an awesome summer meal best enjoyed with a cold drink on the patio ;)

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5 Responses
  1. Elder Family Says:

    Ugh, I thought you had found the answer to the same problem I'm having. I bought some cheap meat yesterday, but I don't want to make a stew or gravy. It's just too hot for that kind of food. Hopefully I'll have better success.


  2. Aww sorry to get your hopes up! The slow cooker could solve your problem...it'll soften the meat but you won't have much work to do and it won't heat up your kitchen :)


  3. Unknown Says:

    duh roaster outside!im from az its hotter then hell here ! i use a roaster outside plug it in and the neighbors wish they were over for dinner ,it waves the smell slow cooker!


  4. Anonymous Says:

    With a tough meat definitely slow cook it. You could try a slow cooker Salisbury steak or slow cooker beef stroganoff. I'm trying this mushroom balsamic glaze tonight. Sounds so good!


  5. dengle Says:

    Or pressure cooker the meat and then proceed