steak with sumac and pomegranate

dinner

For some time there has been a page torn out of a food magazine stuck to our refrigerator door. I found the photography compelling – a deep red background, with pieces of steak in a deep red sauce in the foreground – strangely effective. And the recipe itself sounded like something we would like: broiled skirt steak, rubbed with sumac and served with a port-pomegranate pan sauce. It needed only the proper occasion, and Jon’s birthday immediately suggested itself.

flank steak
spice rub
The first stumbling block was the fact that our butcher doesn’t carry skirt steak in the winter, but he cheerfully slit apart a flank steak into thin pieces for us. Getting the sumac wasn’t a problem – we bought a large quantity some time ago and we’re always looking for ways to use it (its tart, earthy flavor can be hard to pair up with other foods). And although the recipe wants you to boil down pomegranate juice and sugar into a syrup, I figured just diluting a little pomegranate molasses would do the trick (another item we tend to have in our pantry).

birthday wine

To go with our steak, I made a pilaf of Israeli couscous with chopped dried apricots, chicken broth and coriander, and we roasted a pair of sweet potatoes and mashed them. It made for a very orangey-brown plate, but the flavors were absolutely fantastic together. I particularly liked the steak with its tart, musky sauce mixed with the sweet potatoes. And for our wine we brought out a bottle of Tribute we bought last fall at Two Mountain Winery. It was magnificent.

coconut cream pie

And, in honor of the birthday boy, there were two slices of coconut cream pie from the bakery down the hill. It was festive.

Steak with Sumac and Pomegranate

adapted from the Sept 2006 issue of Gourmet

  • 1 pound skirt steak or butterflied flank steak
  • 1 Tbsp sumac
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup ruby port
  • 3 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat the broiler. Mix the sumac, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Lay the steak out on a baking sheet and sprinkle the sumac rub over it. Let it rest for ten minutes.

Broil the steaks, turning once – if the steaks are very thin it will only take a few minutes total. Remove the steaks to a large plate and cover with foil.

In a wide skillet, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter and saute the shallots in it. Add the port and bring to a simmer. Add the meat juices from the plate. Mix the pomegranate molasses with the lemon juice and a little water and add to the pan. Bring back to a simmer, then turn off the heat and whisk in the last two tablespoons of butter.

Slice the steak as thinly as possible, then pour over the sauce.

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