Easy Pan Seared Steak with a deeply caramelized seared crust and the most amazing Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce – perfect for Valentine’s Day!
I’ve included step by step instructions, tips and tricks to achieve melt in your mouth, restaurant quality pan seared steak right in your own home even if you have never made steak before!
Can you believe Valentine’s Day is next Tuesday already?! One of the many fun things about being a food blogger is that we are always looking forward to the next event or holiday to plan some foodie fun for – so there is always something to look forward to! So in anticipation of the big day, I’ve made you the juiciest, rich, savory Pan Seared Steak AND its all topped with the most ridiculously delicious Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce. If you ever wanted to cook a meal to impress, this Pan Seared Steak is it!
If you are wondering what to serve with this Pan Seared Steak, I am going to be posting a Valentine’s Day Round up complete with appetizers, sides, entrees and desserts on Saturday – you don’t want to miss those AND the Company Mashed Potatoes on Monday – seriously the best ever. Now on to this Pan Seared Steak!
For this pan seared steak, I’ve chosen Top Sirloin because its delicious and one of the more economical prime cuts of beef, not overly fatty and when cooked properly its melt in our mouth tasty and oh so tender. It is important that you select thick 1 1/2″ steaks for this recipe, otherwise, just be prepared to adjust the cooking time. I’ve included detailed instructions, tips and tricks on how to cook the perfect pan seared steak below but don’t be overwhelmed, all you really need for a restaurant quality steak is a quality piece of meat, a hot cast iron skillet, salt and pepper, oil, tongs and a meat thermometer.
Now let’s get into it!
How to PAN SEAR STEAK
CHOOSE PRIME OR CHOICE GRADE BEEF
Select PRIME or CHOICE cuts of steak. Steak is graded by its quality in tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Prime beef is the most superior in all three categories and is what I used for this steak. It can be difficult to locate Prime Cuts at your local grocery store (usually reserved for restaurants and hotels), but I have been successful finding it at Costco. Ask your butcher if they sell Prime Cuts or if they can get them for you. Choice beef is also high quality, but boasts less marbling than Prime. It is still tender, juicy and flavorful especially when not over cooked, and definitely is a great choice as well.
BRING STEAK TO ROOM TEMPERATURE
One one of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing steak is either cooking straight out of the refrigerator or only giving it 20 minutes at room temperature. To ensure your steak is not cold in the center and cooks more evenly and quickly, remove the steak from the refrigerator 60 minutes before you are ready to cook. This also lets the meat relax, allowing the meat’s natural moisture to reabsorb into the muscle, instead of staying trapped in its fibers.
DRY STEAKS & SEASON
You know I am all about marinating and seasoning but a Prime or Choice cut of Top Sirloin already boasts bold, beefy flavor, so we don’t want to over season it. We will reserve our marinades for less quality cuts of beef. Instead, we enhance the natural flavor of the top sirloin steak simply with freshly cracked salt and pepper. To season properly, first pat the steaks dry with paper towels. This will allow the steaks to sear properly instead of steaming.
Next, right before you are ready to cook your steak, generously season the steak on both sides with freshly cracked salt and pepper, pushing the salt and pepper into the steak with your fingertips to make sure it sticks. We will also use butter, garlic and rosemary in the skillet when cooking (more on that later) to infuse the steak with flavor.
HOW TO COOK PAN SEARED STEAK
USE A CAST IRON SKILLET
You are going to want a 10 or 12 inch cast-iron skillet for this pan seared steak. The heavy duty iron skillet is nonstick, gets scorching hot, holds in heat and distributes it evenly for a beautiful, evenly cooked steak.
HEAT THE SKILLET UNTIL JUST SMOKING
First, heat your skillet over high heat then add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. As soon as it starts smoking, swirl the oil around and add your steak then reduce to medium-high heat. It can take 5-10 minutes on some stoves to achieve this smoking heat, but this is key to a good sear. Sear the steak for four minutes WITHOUT TOUCHING the steak! This high heat causes the chemical Maillard reaction in which the amino acids and reducing sugar react to create a caramelized, deeply flavorful, rich savory crust.
FLIP WITH TONGS & BASTE WITH BUTTER
After four minutes, add butter, whole, peeled garlic cloves and rosemary, then flip the steak over WITH TONGS, you never want to pierce the meat with a fork or you will continuously loose juices and tenderness. Now its time for your Gordon Ramsey/chef steak moves. If you have ever watched a professional chef pan sear steak, they continuously baste the steak with butter, and we have rosemary garlic infused butter! You will definitely need an oven mitt on the hand holding the skillet handle and a spoon in your other hand. To baste, tilt the skillet slightly so that butter collects on one end, then spoon up the butter and pour it over the steak.
USE AN INSTANT-READ THERMOMETER
Continue basting the steak for four minutes then use an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the steak to check the temperature. You want the temperature to register 5°F lower than the desired doneness temperature because the steaks will continue to cook while resting. For Medium Rare: 130°-140°, Medium: 140°-145°, Medium Well: 150°-160°. NOTE: The USDA recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F and then rested for at least 3 minutes for safety.
REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM
At this point your steak should be medium rare. To continue cooking if desired, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook steak to desired temperature about 3-5 additional minutes per side, flipping one more time and continuing to baste.
LET STEAKS REST
Transfer steaks to cutting board using tongs, and baste one more time. Loosely tent with foil. Let steak rest at least 10 minutes before slicing, this calming stage allows the flavorful juices that have accumulated in the middle of the steak to redistribute throughout the steak. It results in greater flavor, and optimal juiciness.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST SAUCE
For a simple sauce you can deglaize the pan over high heat by adding 2 tablespoons of water or chicken broth and scrap the pan loose of any meat drippings with a spatula. Then add some butter and to the accumulated juices in the skillet and pour it over your steak, buuuuuuut for out of this world sauce and because its Valentine’s Day, you are going to want to make this Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce – and it takes less time then it does for your steak to rest!
Simply, remove the the whole garlic and rosemary from your skillet and drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat/juices. Next, saute your shallot for one minute, then your garlic then add some chicken broth and simmer until reduced, about 3 minutes. The reducing promotes a concentrated flavor. Next, stir in your heavy cream, balsamic vinegar and Dijon and simmer for another 2 minutes. Finally, remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter and freshly chopped chives and parsley and you have savory, creamy garlic infused Balsamic Herb Sauce that enhances the flavor of the steak without overpowering it as its creaminess mingles with the steak’s juices. OH MY YUM.
SLICING THE STEAK
After your steak has rested 15 minutes, be sure to cut against the grain, this will also reduce the amount of juices loss.
SERVE WITH EQUALLY DELICIOUS SIDES!
I paired this juicy, tender flavorful Pan Seared Steak with my Company Mashed Potatoes (another reason for fresh chives :)) and 15 minute Brown Butter Balsamic Roasted Asparagus and if it was really Valentine’s Day, I would have made my obsessive worthy Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese. I have a slew more options coming in the roundup Saturday if these aren’t exactly what you are looking for, or you can always check out holiday recipes HERE. But no matter how you serve this Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce, the complex savory, nutty, deeply caramelized steak will have you falling in love with every luscious, melt in your mouth bite. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce
- 2 10 -12 oz. each top sirloin steaks 1 1/2“ thick, room temperature*
- Coarsely ground salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 sprig of rosemary (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce
- Remove steaks from refrigerator 60 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.
- Pat steaks dry with paper towels. GENEROUSLY season steaks on all sides with freshly cracked salt and pepper, pressing salt and pepper into steaks so it sticks.
- Heat CAST IRON SKILLET over high heat. Add vegetable oil. When it starts to smoke, reduce heat to medium-high and add steaks. Cook for 4 minutes without moving (SET TIMER). Add butter, garlic and rosemary. Flip steaks with tongs (NOT a fork, you don’t want to pierce your steak), and continue to cook for 4 more minutes. MEANWHILE…
- Right after you flip the steaks, spoon melted butter over the steaks. Continue to baste steaks for the remaining cooking time, tilting the pan as needed to spoon the butter.
- Check the internal temperature of the steaks after they have cooked a total of 8 minutes (they should be medium rare at this point). You want the temperature to register 5°F lower than the desired doneness (steaks will continue to cook after removing from skillet): For Medium Rare: 130°-140°, Medium: 140°-145°, Medium Well: 150°-160°.
- If you wish to continue to cook your steaks, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook steaks to desired temperature, about 3-7 more minutes, flipping one more time and continuing to baste.
- Transfer steaks to cutting board, and baste one more time. Loosely tent with foil. Let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
- Remove rosemary and garlic from skillet. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat/juices. Heat over medium high heat. Add shallot and sauté one minute. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and simmer, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes to reduce to about ¼ cup.
- Stir in heavy cream, balsamic vinegar and Dijon. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter until melted followed by fresh chives and fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste if desired. Pour over steak or serve along side.
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