It’s Tuesday, and that means we are challenging another state. But not just any state. Week 11 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday takes me to New York, who joined the union on July 26, 1788. Now in case you don’t know, this is my home state; the place where I grew up, went to college, met my hubby… you get the picture. No pressure.
But here’s the thing, of all the states for me to have my start, it is also a hugely diverse place, where people are upstate, downstate, southern tier, Long Island, Adirondacks, 1000 Islands, Lake Ontario and of course New York City. Each area has its own special take on food, so finding one recipe that covers the whole state is, well, impossible.
I actually found a really great diagram created by a Buffalo woman by the name of Shannon Glazer, who shows us just how crazy this little state is about its food regions. Everybody has something they identify with, and I think she did a pretty good job of dividing up the state with some of the highlights.
New York State Food Regions by Shannon Grazer
So for me, I needed to find something a little personal, and also a new recipe. What I decided on was what has been referred to by some as “The Best Sandwich No One Has Ever Heard Of”. And that would be Beef on Weck.
If you are not from Rochester or Buffalo, I am pretty sure you have never heard of it. But for those of us that grew up there, it is what a beef and brew is made of. All the local bars serve it. And it’s really good.
Basically, Beef on Weck is roasted beef dipped in au jus, then served with horseradish on a kimmelweck roll. A what roll? A kimmelweck roll is a soft Kaiser that has been covered in coarse salt and caraway seeds. As legend has it, a pub owner in Buffalo created the sandwich, hoping the salty rolls made by a local German baker would help increase drink sales. And from personal experience I do know that beef on weck works well with beer.
So our new recipe this week is actually two parts, the roll and the beef. The rolls are very easy, especially if you have a bread maker, since they only need one rise before you set them up as rolls. They came out great and start to finish only took about 2 ¼ hours.
Recipe for 8 Kimmelweck Rolls (from Food Wishes):
1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup warm water (105 F.)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg white
1 generous tsp honey
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour total
For the topping:
1 large egg white beaten with 2 tsp water
Coarse grain sea salt
Combine the bread ingredients in a bread maker and set to the dough cycle. When the dough has finished, turn onto a floured surface and flatten it into a rectangle shape. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape them into a ball. Set them on a silipat covered baking sheet and allow them to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
Once they have risen, cut the tops with kitchen scissors to make a small cross. Brush each roll with the egg white wash, them sprinkle them with salt and caraway seed.
Bake at 425F for 18-20 minutes.
The next part of dinner was the beef. Since I did not allow myself the time to do beef the proper way (with a slow braise), I instead found a recipe that used a top sirloin and pan fried it. This resulted in some yummy crusty bits in the pan, that you then used to make the au jus. I was surprised with the addition of a little balsamic vinegar, but I have to say it really make it delicious, so much so that I would use that trick again in any beef based gravy. The meat was not quite as ‘fall apart’ as I would have liked it, but the taste was there.
Served up with the required horseradish, and yep, it was Beef on Weck.
Recipe for the Beef part (also from Food Wishes):
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pound top-sirloin roast
salt and pepper to taste
2 or 3 teaspoons flour
2 1/2 cups good quality beef broth
2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar, or to taste
4-6 kimmelweck rolls
extra hot prepared horseradish, as needed
Coat the steak with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet (preferably not non stick, so you get some good meat bits) over high heat until it is really hot. Add the oil and swirl it around to coat the pan. Add the steak and let it sear, undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Turn over, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You want it to come to medium, so your cook time will vary depending on the thickness of your steak.
Once done to your liking, remove the steak to a plate and cover to keep warm.
In the same pan, add the flour and stir constantly for about a minute. Add the broth and balsamic, and using a whisk, stir up all the bits from the pan. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by about 1/3. It will not get thick like gravy, you want it to be a sauce (au jus). Season with salt if needed.
Slice the steak very thin. Turn the pieces into the au jus for just a moment to moisten, and then pile onto a split kimmelweck roll. Add horseradish to your liking.
Serve with additional au jus for dipping.
Well, there you have it. My little take on New York. It might not be what you expected, but that’s ok. It is from the part of New York that I called home for the first 27 years of my life. Perhaps someday, we can come back around and see what else NY has to offer.
See you next week… in North Carolina!