Ever had one of those sudden revelations lingering in the realm of exotic flavours? That aha! moment when you’ve got different foods in your mouth and your tastebuds tell you “oh my goodness, this just might work”?
I can’t imagine how else it could’ve dawned upon Roger Mooking that steak should be marinated with root beer, if he hadn’t had half-chewed beef in his mouth while taking a huge gulp of A&W.
Because, trust me (and trust me because I’ve tried), the two are a match made in heaven.
To have them separately is one thing, but root beer infused steak? Ohhh, there’s a whole new world.
And then comes a special Cajun spice mix that just mildly offsets the sweetness from the root beer to provide a whimsicality of flavours packed into just a little piece of meat.
Be warned: on first bite, the spice mix will hit you. It’s got a mean kick. But a few more pieces of meat later and you’ll be almost addicted. (If, however, you’re not one for spicy food, then just reduce the amount of spices used. Simple!)
K and I cooked this for the family’s dinner at my place last Saturday. Their verdict? “Exotic”, indeed.
So, do try — only if you’re game ^^
Cajun Root Beer Steak with Sweet Peas
Adapted from Roger Mooking’s Everyday Exotic recipe
Yield: 3-4 servings (depending on how much meat you can take!)
4 cans root beer (I used A&W)
4 T-bone steaks (I’m too poor for T-bone so I got sirloin instead!)
2 tbsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp ground thyme
1 tbsp file powder (I didn’t have this, so I left it out but no biggie)
1 tbsp mustard powder
Salt for seasoning
1 cup sweet peas, cleaned and trimmed
1 tsp pan salt
Sea salt for garnish
Dijonnaise mustard to serve
1. A day before cooking, marinate the steaks in root beer for 24 hours. (I did mine for only 20 hours due to time constraints, but the longer the better; it’s all about letting the meat absorb the flavour!)
2. On cooking day, remove the steaks from the root beer. Pat dry and set aside. Dipose of the root beer.
3. In a separate large dish, mix together the pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, file powder and mustard powder to create the Cajun spice mix. Set aside.
4. Heat a cast iron pan (I used Happy Call) over medium heat. Season the steaks with salt and press them into the Cajun spice mix on both sides. Gently rub off any excess spice mix on the surface of the meat to ensure that it does not burn when cooked.
5. Put the steaks onto the pan one at a time, searing for approximately 6 minutes (if using a thinner meat then 3 minutes) on each side for a medium-rare steak. Repeat for the rest of the meat. Once cooked, remove from pan and place onto serving plates to rest while you make your peas.
6. Bring a medium pot of water to boil, adding in the teaspoon of pan salt. Blanch the trimmed peas in the salted boiling water. Once they turn a vibrant green, drain and distribute amongst the serving plates, garnishing with sea salt (I left it out, though).
Served with sweet peas as a light accompaniment, this meal is almost complete…
Except that Mooking’s twist on the classic steak and potatoes can’t go without the latter which, in this case, is a hearty portion of potato gumbo. Come back soon for the recipes on homemade garlic bread and potato gumbo to die for 🙂