Dry-Aged Ribeye with Wild Mushroom Risotto

Back around Thanksgiving, I decided to make my, now, standard turducken (turkey, chicken, and duck wrapped around stuffing). I’ll admit I cheat on this one. It is much easier to get at the local grocery store than it is buying all the parts and making myself. I went to the store last year and the person I spoke to, not only didn’t know what I was talking about (a very bad sign), but when he came back from asking, said they were out. I decided while I was there, to get a standing rib roast. Both those posts are on Facebook for the turducken (https://www.facebook.com/phillip.fromer/posts/1623898471020545) and first ribeye (https://www.facebook.com/phillip.fromer/posts/1663139760429749?pnref=story).

What I neglected to mention in the info about the first ribeye was how it came to be. After a week, I decided to check a different location and found they had the turducken. But what about the rib roast? I had plans on making it for New Year’s, which was a month away. I could freeze it but then would have to spend a week thawing it. I read about dry-aging and what was required. I had a refrigerator that it didn’t get opened all that much. I also had a grated rack and sheet pan. I dried off the roast, cleared space in my fridge, and let it do its thing.

Last minute Lily’s vet called and said she was accepted to be boarded for a week. I decided to hop in the car and visit friends out of state, while the roast sat in my refrigerator to continue aging. While at my friends’, a neighbor of theirs, who happened to be working on their doctorate in some form of biology, mentioned they were in a class that had a steak tasting. The tasting consisted of testing food professionals that were generally the ones determining what one would do with the different grades of meat. They did a blind testing of corn- vs. grass-fed and wet- vs. dry-aging. They reported all variants tasted the same. The only difference is the cut of the meat (better cut, better flavor). I learned this while I was over 600 miles away from the hunk of meat that was wasting time in my refrigerator. Based on my planned schedule, I would not be home to eat it for New Year’s. I cut my trip short, and with the dog still confined, I was able to cook at my leisure.

About a year ago, I purchased a bone saw (really just a hacksaw with a clean blade), so I could cut some short ribs I was too scared to take to a butcher to get cut. They were purchased extremely long and would not fit into my crockpot as originally intended. Rather than cut them, I broiled them and the saw sat unused. Getting my bone saw out of its location of inactivity, I started to cut the hardened meat into decent sized ribeye steaks. The first one went okay because I avoided the bone. The second from the other side was the same. When it came to splitting the middle in two, the bone would not give. The bones were much harder to get through than expected. After much effort, and fear of causing damage, I decided it would make a really nice pot roast.

After seasoning the steaks (salt, pepper, garlic cloves, rosemary, and butter) and vacuum sealing all three pieces, I attempted to clean the blade. To do so required removing said blade from the hilt. It was connected with a lever that didn’t want to give. I realized as I was adjusting my hand to get a better grip, grabbing the blade was dangerous and something bad could happen. Rather than doing that, I repositioned my grip and put it too close to the connector, which was serrated and sharp. With one swift flick of the handle, I opened the release, while also burying the blade 1/3 of an inch into my thumb, nail and all. Because of where it was cut, there wasn’t any chance of stitches. The good news is, a month and a half later, there is no sign of damage, and my nail is actually healthier than it was prior. I used to have an area of my thumbnail that split every time it grew out. Having installed RAM in computers in large quantities, the nail split and never healed right, until a further trauma caused it to correct itself.

So the first ribeye is on Facebook and came out fine. After turning the middle of the slab into a pot roast, which also came out really good (no pictures for that one), I was left with the last steak. It sat for a month and a half and last night, I decided to make it. I already bought the ingredients to make the risotto, and had additional mushrooms I decided to have on top of the steak. After reading and later trying the process, I became a big fan of Sous Vide. If not familiar, it is basically boil-in-a-bag. Sounds pretty blah, and it can be, but after 30 seconds of searing, everything comes out perfect. You seal the food in question in a air-tight bag and immerse the food in a bath of heated water. The water is heated to a constant temperature and, preferably, circulated, but it doesn’t have to be. With the temperature staying the same, the food stays constant as well. So if you want a steak med-rare, set the temp, wait, and it will stay that temp. You can even forget about it and not worry too much. Many hours will cause meat and poultry to become tenderer, and other things to turn to mush. I had planned on keeping the cooking to a two-hour window but went to the dog park in between and it cooked for almost four hours.

When I settled down, after returning from the dog park, I was able to prep the risotto. Poorly at that. I should have had everything measured out first, but I didn’t. Before I left, I took some dried wild mushrooms and rehydrated them. I wanted the risotto to have a strong mushroom flavor, which was close to what I had the last time I made some. The last time, though, it was bland. Using my other weapon of choice, my electric pressure cooker, I started the cooking process. The rehydrated mushrooms were drained, butter and oil, melted/blended, and the wild mushrooms were added. I specifically bought button mushrooms for this and they were not measured yet. Nothing was. Measured and added, the mushrooms were supposed to sauté for two minutes followed by onions. I didn’t have onions. I did have shallots, which is my preference anyway. As the mushrooms should have been burning (rehydrated mushrooms have even more water than regular ones so they prevented the burning from starting), I chopped the shallots and dumped them in with a sprig of rosemary. Cooked them for the minute, and added the rice and then liquid, after coating the rice. The last ingredient was a 1/2 cup of grated parmesan, which of course was not grated yet. I did so while I prepped to topper for the steak. As I grated the cheese, a visitor to my house took it upon himself to “help” clean all the stray cheese from what was almost the countertop. Luckily, he does not counter surf. He did get some strays and Lily sat in the corner moping because she wasn’t getting anything.

Mushrooms were prepped, chopped the additional shallots, and buttered the searing-pan. Cast iron is great for searing because it evenly distributes heat and cooks things exceedingly fast. Softened the shallots and wilted the mushrooms and put aside. While waiting, added the cheese to the risotto, and stirred. With the pan already heated, buttered again and added the steak. It only needed 30 seconds on each side while spooning the melted butter. Plated, smothered, and added a nice cider.

How did it taste? Well, the dogs were more excited than I was when I finally cut into the meat. Because it was an end piece of the dry-aged roast, it was very tough. It was almost like eating jerky. It was flavorful and had the taste I wanted, but it was too tough. After learning dry- and wet-aging add about the same amount of flavor, I will probably never do this again. I’ll take wet-aging in the future. The risotto, after being seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme before being served was much better than the last time I tried it from a gourmet package. Risotto, when prepped properly, will become more of a regular for me. Oh, and it took less time than expected. Forty-five minutes including prep, keeping in mind, the prep was done on the fly.



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