It’s a well-recognised fact that braaied steak goes well with red wine. What is further undisputed is that a steak braaied over the coals of an open wood fire has a unique, rather good taste. What we’re doing here is combining these universally accepted truths to create something that is, dare I say it, beautiful!
WHAT YOU NEED (serves 4)
- 1 kg fillet steak (or slightly bigger)
- 1 tot butter
- 1/2 onion (chopped as finely as you can)
- 1 clove garlic (chopped very finely)
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tot flour
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 2 tots sugar
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional – to taste)
WHAT TO DO
- Light a relatively big fire using your favourite braai wood.
- Remove the steak from its packaging. Rinse it under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen towels. Cut it into four equally sized portions and then season them well with salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with the pepper. Cover the steak to keep it safe from flies and proceed to the next step.
- Place a medium-sized flameproof pan or potjie over the fire. You want a pretty high heat but it must not be searing hot, so just use some of the burning logs under the potjie, not all of them.
- Melt the butter and then fry the onions, garlic and thyme leaves for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and starts to turn brown. If you’re a regular user of this book and are tuned in to the finer things in life, fry the onions first and add the garlic about 1 minute before the next step.
- Add the flour and stir well, then immediately add the red wine, stock, sugar and vinegar. Mix well, bring to the boil and then boil over high heat to reduce the liquid by half. Stir often. Depending on the size of your pot and the heat of your fire, this should take 15 minutes, but it could be slightly longer or slightly shorter. While the liquid is reducing, it should thicken and become a rich sauce. Taste the sauce at this point and season with salt and pepper. Keep in mind that some beef stocks are already quite salty, so you might not need salt at all. When you’re happy with the texture of the sauce, remove from the fire.
- While you’re waiting for the sauce to reduce in step 5, braai the steaks over very high heat for about 8–10 minutes. Braai them on all four or six sides. That’s right, when you slice a 1 kg fillet steak into 4 pieces the shape of the fillet steaks can have four or six sides.
- Serve the steaks on warm plates and pour the red wine sauce over them.
The truth of the matter is that you could serve this sauce with any other cut of beautifully braaied steak. Personally, I’m quite attached to serving it with fillet because although fillet is so wonderfully tender, the sauce gives it that little kick of extra flavour it needs.
Recipe & photo copyright: JanBraai