Rib-Eye Steaks with Ancho Chile Cream Sauce
Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.
1 small ancho chile- stemmed, seeded, and halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
2/3 cup light cream
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper
Four 1/2-lb rib-eye steaks, about 3/8-inch thick
1/2 cup water
Heat a small heavy skillet. Using a spatula, press the chile into the skillet, skin side down, and toast over moderately high heat until beginning to blister, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the cumin seeds to the skillet and toast just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add to the chile.
Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the chile into small pieces and transfer to a saucepan. Add the cumin, cream, oregano and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until reduced to about 1/2 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain the sauce, return it to the saucepan and keep warm.
Sprinkle 2 large cast-iron skillets with a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt each and heat until almost smoking. Add the steaks and cook over high heat until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to dinner plates. Add 1/4 cup of water to each skillet, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until the liquid in each skillet is reduced to 1 tablespoon. Pour the pan drippings into the cream sauce, spoon over the steaks and serve.
Recipe by Georgeanne Brennan, foodandwine.com.