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News / Life / Food

Coffee-rubbed steaks for two makes dinner special

Oven-roasted meal is quick, easy and perfect to celebrate

By Gretchen McKay, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Published: June 5, 2024, 6:06am

When my five kids were growing up, we only ate steak on grilling holidays and special occasions such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July or Father’s Day, because filet, rib-eye or strip steak was just too expensive for our family as an everyday meal.

That’s no longer the case now that my husband and I are empty nesters, especially when we want to raise a toast to a happy event.

Actually, we had two reasons to celebrate this past month. First, my youngest son and his wife bought a house just around the corner from the house he grew up in and we still call home.

Second, after living with us for a month while we helped them paint and strip wallpaper and offered advice on countless other necessary repairs, they moved out.

I was quite sad to see them go, of course, especially since they took my 4-month-old grandson, Theo, with them. It was their dog (a very energetic beagle) and cat’s departure (my husband is severely allergic) that had us high-fiving each other as they rounded the corner in their SUV.

This foolproof steak recipe — perfectly sized for two — was one of the first dinners we enjoyed once things were quietly back to normal. Made in the oven instead of on a grill, it gets its exceptional taste from a bold and flavorful rub made with finely ground coffee, chili powder and brown sugar.

Thick wedges of sweet potatoes, shallot and sliced apple are roasted alongside the steak in the pan, making for an easy and complete meal. Depending on appetites, leftovers can be used to top a salad or stuff into a taco. It’s also pretty tasty cold the next morning with coffee.

One-Pan Coffee-Rubbed Steak

Serves 2. Adapted from “The Complete Cook for Two Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen

1 pound sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cut lengthwise into 1-inch wedges

4 shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1 large apple, cored, halved and sliced thin

2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons finely ground coffee

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

Pinch of paprika

1 12- to 16-ounce boneless strip steak (about 1 inch thick), trimmed

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for serving

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss potatoes and shallots with 2 teaspoons oil, ¹/8 teaspoon salt and ¹/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Arrange potatoes skin side down on half of rimmed baking sheet and arrange shallots in single layer next to potatoes. Roast until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.

Toss apple with 1 teaspoon oil and ¹/8 teaspoon salt in now-empty bowl. Combine sugar, coffee, chili powder and remaining salt and pepper in small bowl. Pat steak dry with paper towels and rub with spice mixture.

Place steaks on empty portion of baking sheet. Arrange apple slices on top of shallots. Roast until potatoes, shallots and apples are fully tender and meat registers 120-125 degrees (for rare), or 130-135 degrees for medium-rare, 10-15 minutes.

Transfer steak, bottom side up, to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Combine parsley, vinegar and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large bowl. Add potatoes, shallots and apples and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice steak against grain and sprinkle with extra parsley. Serve steak with potato mixture.