If hearing someone say “London broil” conjures up mental images of a rustic steak house in merry old England I have some disappointing news for you. London broil is an American concoction, used to describe a method of preparing lean and tough cuts of beef. Specifically, flank steak or top round. Now, there’s nothing wrong with lean or tough cuts of meat and one of the best methods to overcome the challenges that lean meat presents is to cook it at a very high temperature and for a very short period of time, hence, the appeal of broiling. If broiling is not an option, a smoking hot cast iron skillet will work just as well. In fact, one of the advantages to using a hot skillet rather than a broiler is that you can see and test the meat for doneness while it cooks. If you prefer your steak cooked well done, don’t bother cooking a London broil. You’ll wind up with something akin to leather.
So, I wanted steak tonight but I didn’t want to pay top dollar for a steak dinner. Enter the London broil. This recipe will feed up to 4 people, but I’m making it for 3.
2 lbs London broil (top round steak)
1 Tbs coarse salt
1 Tsp finely ground salt
A pinch of cayenne powder
1 Tbs coarse black pepper
5 russet potatoes – wedge cut
2 cups cooking oil (I use canola oil)
1 lb fresh green beans
1/2 sweet onion – julienne cut
steak sauce (about 1/4 cup) – see recipe below
Fill a skillet with oil, nearly half way and turn on the heat to low/medium.
Wash the potatoes and cut into long wedges. Add potatoes to the skillet and cook for about 1/2 hour, turning the potatoes occasionally, to avoid burning. When the fries are golden brown, strain the oil, sprinkle with salt and a pinch of cayenne, and arrange them on a large oven-proof serving platter. Keep warm in a 225° oven.
While the fries are cooking, let’s prepare the steak sauce and green beans.
For the steak sauce:
Mix the following items together:
2 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs softened butter
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce
a pinch of brown sugar
For the green beans:
Steam green beans for about 15 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Stage in a warm place.
On a clean cutting board, cut the raw steak into serving sized portions and remove any large, white portions of fat. Sprinkle coarse salt and black pepper on each side of the pieces.
Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove to medium/high. Add 1 Tbs oil. When the skillet begins to smoke, it’s ready for the steaks. Carefully add the steaks to the hot skillet. Turn steaks over after 2 or 2 ½ minutes. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until meat tests medium rare. Turn the heat off and leave the residual steak juices in the skillet.
Pull the fries out of the oven and arrange the steaks on the platter, along with the fries. Baste the steaks with the steak sauce. Don’t worry about getting some of the sauce on the fries…your family and friends will thank you.
Turn the heat back on to low and add 1 Tbs of butter and the onions to the skillet and stir until the onions are softened. Add the green beans and stir. Once they are done, transfer to a serving dish.
For those of you still clinging to the mental picture of a merry old England, you might consider calling this dish London Broil and Chips.