Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Porcini Rubbed Sirloin with Red-Pepper Sweet Potato Pancake

"Greatness courts failure.” -Roy McAvoy (played by Kevin Costner), Tin Cup

The first time I had a porcini-rubbed steak, I was at Capital Grille in LasVegas.  It was the first time I had anything rubbed into my steak, period, and I was soon smitten!  So, without the recipe, I endeavored to create my own home-version.  I was successful in the execution.  What I was not so successful executing was the Red-Pepper Sweet Potato Pancake.  The flavors were spot-on, but what I had envisioned in my mind did not translate to the plate, hence my opening quote above.  Don't be afraid to try things and experiment with different flavors and ideas!  Sure, you will have some flops.  But without swinging for the fences from time to time, how do you expect to hit any home runs?  With that, I will give you the proper execution of the potato pancake and what I should have done with it!  A very tasty meal that is cheaper than a steakhouse dinner!


1 24oz Sirloin
3 sweet potatoes
1 container dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 onion
1/2 red pepper
1 6oz container pancetta
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

First, half-bake the Sweet Potatoes for about 20 minutes so they are still somewhat hard, but maleable, when you remove them.  This is critical!  I'll tell you why later.

Next, rub all sides of the sirloin with butter to coat lightly.  Season all sides with salt and black pepper to taste.  Spread some garlic on all sides as well.  Next, place Porcini mushrooms in a food processor to crush down into a rub.  You can also use a blender if you do not have a food processor. (The first time I made it, I cut, chopped and grinded by hand and it took forever!)  It will mostly be a powder with some chunkier mushroom pieces in it, which is ideal.  When ready, generously cover all sides of the sirloin, rubbing directly into the meat.  Place meat in cooking tray and broil for 18-22 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the onion first, then red-pepper, in the food processor until you get a thick puree of each and place in a large bowl.  Next, heat the EVOO over a skillet and cook the pancetta until brown. Then, Remove Sweet Potatoes from skin and combine large bowl with the two purees, pancetta w/ drippings, butter, flour and crushed red-pepper.  Mix well and create patties or potatoe pancakes of desired size. 
Once complete, place on flat panini grill for 4-6 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove and plate.

 Remove sirloin from broiler, let rest, slice and serve.

*The mistake I made was baking the Sweet Potatoes for their usual full 40 minute baking time.  When they were complete, they were extremely soft.  When I combined all of the ingredients, there was still nothing to bind it together to go on the flat grill.  I tried some bread crumb, when I simply should have used flour.  When I put it on the grill, it was runny and not combining well at all, so I decided to serve it as it was.  Again, the flavors were incredible, I just executed poorly.  The above method has solved my initial problems.*

Swing for the fences!- John

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