Sirloin Tips in Shallot Butter Sauce

Sirloin Tips in Shallot Butter Sauce

Sirloin Tips in Shallot Butter Sauce

I was watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen one day several years ago when Christopher Kimball was talking about how to get a perfect pan-cooked steak.  He used a sirloin steak in his presentation that day, but stressed that any tender cut of steak will do nicely.  From that episode I  learned two important bits of cooking advice:  Always get your pan really hot before adding anything to it, especially meats that need a good sear; and also a dish can taste fantastic without a whole bunch of ingredients. So keeping it simple is often the best way to achieve outstanding results.IMG_5531

Both of those points are illustrated in this recipe for Sirloin Tips in Shallot Butter Sauce.  Using sirloin tips is my own idea, but the rest of the recipe comes from Chris Kimball and Cook’s Illustrated.  This is my preferred way of cooking steaks, outside of grilling them outdoors,  because you end up with a richly flavorful sauce to pour over the steak, and they are quick to prepare this way.  Like me, if you try this once, you may never go back to broiling again.  And who likes cleaning the broiler pan anyway?


Servings:  about 2   Adjust ingredients accordingly to make more.


  • about 1 pound sirloin tips.  If large, cut in half.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium shallot, diced fine
  • 2 Tbsp. cold butter
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • chopped parsley for garnish


1.  Preheat a large skillet to very hot.  Add steak to dry pan.  Do not disturb.  Cook for 4 – 5 minutes before turning over.  Cook another 4 – 5 minutes or less it you like your steak rare.  Season with salt and pepper.IMG_5527

2.  Remove steak from pan to a serving platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

3.  Into the skillet add chopped shallots and the cold butter.

Add shallots and cold butter to pan.

Add shallots and cold butter to pan.

Sauté, and scrape up browned bits and film from the pan’s bottom.  Add the lemon juice and mix in along with any juices that have drained from the steak.

This if flavor you're looking at!

This is flavor you’re looking at!

Warm through, then pour over steak.  Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.


My most favorite way to have steak.

SOURCE:   Cook’s Illustrated


Challenge Day #1: Pan-Seared Steak with Balsamic Onion Sauce

Pan-Seared Strip Steak with Balsamic Onion Sauce.

Pan-Seared Strip Steak with Balsamic Onion Sauce.

Day # 1 without a refrigerator.  I produced a pretty terrific dinner today, and I also made chicken broth for a future soup.  My dinner consisted of Strip Steaks with Balsamic-Glazed onions,  Baked Butternut Squash with Garlic and Herbs, and Hasselback Potatoes.   For today’s recipe I will be telling you how to pan-sear a steak, and a quick way to make caramelized onions.

Whenever we go to our favorite steak-house, I like to order a strip steak with a pile of caramelized onions.  I almost like the onions better than the steak.  They are so rich and glossy, they turn a simple seared steak into something really special.  I had purchased a package of two strip steaks with the thought of trying to recreate this simple dish at home.  Faced with the fact they had started to defrost, I realized the time to give this meal a try was now.

The part of this dish that takes the most time is caramelizing the onions–probably about 45 minutes.  When cooking the steaks only takes about eight to ten minutes, I wanted to speed up cooking the onions as much as I could.  So here’s where I hit upon a short-cut.  I cooked the onions in a little oil for about 8-10 minutes till they started to brown,

Onions browning in a little oil.

Onions browning in a little oil.

and then added balsamic vinegar to the pan.

A nice variety of balsamic, with a hint of pomegranate added.

A nice variety of balsamic, with a hint of pomegranate added.

Two minutes later the onions were soft and fully browned.  How could that be, you ask?  Well, the sugar in the vinegar speeds up the browning process, and the steam generated by the simmering vinegar softens the onions in a flash.  Finally, the vinegar turns the onions brown.  My balsamic onion sauce may not taste exactly like caramelized onions, but it came pretty darn close.


SERVES:   2-3


  • 3 Tbspns vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 boneless 8 – 10 ounce strip steaks
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tspn. minced fresh (or 1/2 tspn. dried) rosemary

1.  Heat 2 Tbspns oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 8 – 10 minutes.   Transfer onions to a bowl.

2.  Add remaining oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.    For a nicely browned and flavorful crust, pat the steaks dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook steaks, without moving, until browned on first side, 4 – 5 minutes.  Flip steaks and continue to cook until browned on second side, 3 – 4 minutes more.  Transfer steaks to a platter and cover with foil.

3.  Discard fat in skillet, return onions to pan, and set over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add 1/4 cup vinegar, rosemary, and cook, scraping up browned bits, until thick and syrupy, about 2 minutes.  Pour any accumulated steak juices into pan and mix in.  Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Slice steaks crosswise into 1/4 -inch slices and transfer to serving platter.

Slice steaks crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

Slice steaks crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

Spoon onions and sauce over steak.

Steak with Onions and Sauce.

Steak with Onions and Sauce.