Hanger steak is sometimes called "butchers' steak," because butchers used to keep this oddly shaped cut for themselves. What a transformation it undergoes when it's cooked this way.
As the meat, vegetables and spices bake slowly, their flavors gradually mingle and bloom to create the silken texture that is the hallmark of a classic, wine-fortified concentrated meat broth.
Serve over rice. You may wish to top it with pea shoots or other greens, just to add a hit of color to the rich, dark meat.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 4 pounds hanger steak (see headnote)
- 1/4 cup flour
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Pinch ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
- 4 medium carrots, well scrubbed, then finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, peeled, then finely chopped
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- Pea shoots, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Have a large Dutch oven at hand. Use paper towels to pat the steaks dry.
Combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, all of the thyme and the cloves on a sheet of aluminum foil. Lightly coat the steaks all over with the mixture, reserving any excess.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the Dutch oven over high heat until the oil shimmers. Working in batches, add the coated steaks. Sear for about 5 minutes on each side (they are ready to turn over once they no longer stick to the bottom of the pot), then transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven. Once it's hot, add the onions, carrots and celery, stirring to coat. Cook for about 8 minutes, until lightly browned.
Stir in the reserved flour mixture; cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, until lightly browned. Gradually add the wine, stirring to incorporate. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add the water and tomato paste, stirring until the mixture returns to a boil. Return the steaks to the Dutch oven along with any accumulated juices. Cover tightly, transfer to the oven and slow-bake for about 6 hours. The meat should be fork-tender, and the liquid will be slightly thickened.
Uncover the Dutch oven and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Cook for 15 minutes, until the meat, now more exposed, has browned. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, strain the sauce in the Dutch oven through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding the solids. Wipe out the pot, then pour in the strained sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for about 6 minutes, until slightly thickened and bubbly, then stir in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time to thicken the sauce further and give it a glossy sheen.
Carve the steaks as desired. Serve warm, with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with pea shoots, if desired.
Adapted from "Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More," by Andrew Schloss (Chronicle, 2013).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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