a few weeks back, after grilling some fabulous rib-eyes, houston realized that he had used the last his precious steak sauce on the steak eaten just prior to this one. he is not one to write it on the grocery list or even tell me we’ve run out, so i secretly thought about letting him suffer, ya know get his just deserts and all that. plus, i simply could not believe that of all the half used sauces, including the organic one from trader joe’s, the one laden with tabasco, and the regular ol’ A.1., that there was not a drop left in house. but i took pity on him, as usual, and ended up making a very nice but simple peppercorn sauce, which houston conceded was a nice change of pace.
but, believe me, you do not want to deprive this man of his steak sauce. he gets downright pouty about it if you do. me, i’m not a steak sauce kinda person. never have been, don’t believe i ever will. i find it a bit cloying and tenacious for my taste. plus, i really, really like the flavor of a good steak. so there ya go. i was intrigued enough about the subject of steak sauce, however, to look into what it takes to make some for mr. man. i did find the ingredient list for A.1. somewhat exotic: raisin paste and crushed orange puree? plus, unfortunately, the usual suspects: corn syrup, caramel coloring, potassium sorbate, xanthan gum. i also found out that meat loaf is their current spokesperson, which i think cranks up their cool factor to ten. i set about to make my own version of the stuff and came across this recipe from saveur by way of grace firth. it looked the most authentic. and it had vodka in it. who am i to mess with authenticity?
this is something that had never occurred to me before: grating a tomato for the juice and pulp.
below is the tamarind pulp called for in the recipe. the stuff i got was labeled ‘seedless’. but it looked like it was not smooth by any means. so i heated it, then strained out the lumpy bits.
homemade steak sauce (makes 1 cup)
adapted from saveur
you will need to allow about 8 hours of infusion time for the vodka and spices. i pulsed the spices in a grinder a few times. alternatively you could use a mortar and pestle. i put the cinnamon sticks in a plastic bag, then wacked them with a rolling pin. highly recommended method, especially if you have a bone to pick with someone.
1/2 cup vodka
2 tsp crushed whole allspice
2 tsp crushed cinnamon stick
10 crushed whole cloves
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
4 crushed garlic cloves
4 medium tomatoes, cored and cut in half or quarters
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tamarind pulp, smooth and seedless consistency
place vodka, allspice, cinnamon sticks and cloves in a small glass bowl or measuring cup. cover with plastic or lid and allow to sit at room temperature and infuse for 8 hours. strain vodka mixture and set aside. put 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, soy sauce, hot pepper sauce, and crushed garlic in a small bowl and set aside. roughly grate tomatoes and discard skins, strain solids. you should have about 1 cup tomato pulp remaining; set aside. heat 1/4 cup sugar, 6 tbsp red wine vinegar in a skillet over medium heat, until sugar dissolves and it develops a deep caramel color, about 6-7 minutes. stir in tomato pulp. reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until thick, about 4-5 minutes. remove and discard garlic from soy sauce mixture, then add mixture to skillet. bring to a boil, add tamarind and vodka mixture and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. i actually took it off the heat sooner than i thought i should based on a review that reminded me that sauces like this thicken up considerably after cooling. keeps chilled in refrigerator for up to two months.