Wednesday nights are the crazy night in our house. The pods have activities in separate directions so we divide and conquer and then eat a late dinner once every one is in bed. Though we end up eating pretty late it is a time that I can make something that The Other Half really enjoys and it is a great way for me to wind down at the end of a really long day. Tonight I am going to make a favorite of ours, Tuscan Beef with Spinach. I originally found the recipe in a Good Housekeeping and for the most part have left it pretty untouched. I love the recipe because it is a one pan wonder and The Other Half loves it because it has pretty much all his favorite ingredients in it - unless I could find a way to add tuna - but that is another story for another post.
A couple of notes:
This is a dish that is definitely best made in a big old cast iron pan if you have one. You will need to give the steak room to cook and it is much easier to do the spinach in one or two batches max with a larger pan. I am lucky to have inherited my mom's cast iron - lovingly seasoned over many years - but you can find some very nice cast iron in the Lodge line without breaking the bank. Cast iron is always a great thing to look for at antique stores and yard sales - as long as it doesn't have rust on it you can clean it up, reseason it and be ready to go.
Secondly, this dish calls for top loin. I have tried nicer cuts of beef without much success and to be honest why spend extra money if you don't have to break the bank to have a nice meal.
We love the spinach cooked this way that I will make a double batch for us to enjoy. I just use a little beef broth instead of the chicken broth and it gets some of the nice flavor that comes from cooking the meat prior in the pan.
Finally I always hear that you should put meat in a pan/on the grill and leave it alone - but in actuality I learned that about half way through the cooking process, especially with this type of process, you should flip your meat. The explanation I learned on the NPR show, The Splendid Table, is when meat is placed over high heat the juices will try and move away from the heat source. So by flipping it once during the cooking process you will redistribute the liquid and make sure that your less expensive cut of meat isn't the consistency of a shoe. Now don't get all crazy and keep constantly flipping it - once will do the trick nicely.
Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
Tuscan Beef with Spinach - Serves 4
(2) 10 oz boneless beef top loin steaks, 3/4" thick, well trimmed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
(1) 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I have also used Navy beans)
1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary (if you have the whole dried rosemary crush it up a bit with the back of a spoon in a separate dish before adding to the pan)
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 lb. fresh baby spinach, washed
Heat 12" skillet over medium high heat. I like to do my other prep work while the pan is heating - that way I know it will be thoroughly heated through. It's super important that you let your pan thoroughly heat. If you don't you won't get a nice crust on the outside of the meat, the juices will not be sealed inside and it will smoke like a bugger.
Pat steaks dry with paper towels. This is a super important step toward getting a nice crust on the outside of the steak. Sprinkle steaks with 1/4 tsp salt. Add steaks to pan and cook 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Add 30 seconds per side for increasing wellness. Transfer steaks to a platter, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. This time is key - it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. If you cut it too soon the juice will just run out on your cutting board - what a waste...
Reduce pan heat to low and allow to cool for 2 minutes. Take pan off heat and add olive oil and garlic, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Place pan back on heat and stir in beans, rosemary, crushed red pepper, remaining 1/4 tsp salt and cook 1 minute.
Add chicken broth and increase heat to medium. Heat to boiling, then gradually add spinach, stirring until spinach just wilts - about 2 minutes.
To plate, slice the steak against the grain in 1/2" slices and arrange over top spinach bean mixture. Top with pan/beef juices.