City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Of weeknight wine and pan sauces

Normally my wife and I try to avoid opening a bottle of wine with dinner on school nights because it will be all too easy to polish off by evening’s end. 

But I have to say nothing feels quite as right as finding the right bottle of wine to share between the two of us and the sauté pan for a weeknight treat. Factor off a cup of juice to use for a good pan sauce, and you’re each left with a glass and a splash.

So last night I came home with what has fast become my favorite steak in town — a Kobe beef coulotte that’s sold at Star Provisions. This thick piece of bottom sirloin is called a tri-tip steak everywhere besides Star Provisions and France. 

This particular one costs $20 a pound, but since I usually budget 4-5 ounces per person, it’s still cheaper than making a Chipotle run. 


Star Provisions has added wine back to its shelves (yay), so I picked up a bottle of Chateau Pesquié Terrasses. It’s a southern French wine (Côtes du Ventoux) that is widely available, inexpensive ($13 at Star, cheaper elsewhere) and gives you a nice hit of dark, concentrated cassis fruit with enough smoke to make it interesting. I like it, but I don’t mind pouring it into a skillet.

Dinner was an easy slam. I seasoned the steak well with salt and pepper and seared it in olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Once it had a great, crusty sear all over, I popped it onto a sheet pan that had been heating in the (400-degree) oven to finish cooking. I then made a version of Marchand de Vin (”wine merchant’s”) sauce — basically a red-wine reduction with lots of chopped shallots. Lacking any stock, I used diced pancetta to give it backbone.

Here’s my recipe:



Red Wine Pan Sauce

  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped or sliced
  • 3/4 cup -1 cup drinkable red wine
  • 3 ounces butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sear your steak (or chop, or chicken) in a a heavy-bottomed pan, preferably not nonstick. (Cast iron or aluminum is fine.) Remove meat to rest continue cooking in oven. Add pancetta and let it cook over medium-high heat until the bits start looking like appetizing, crispy chunks of bacon. Set aside (and be prepared to shoo children and housepets away). Add shallot to pan and stir until it is translucent and very fragrant. Add wine, turn heat to high, and let reduce by half. Reduce heat to medium and swirl in butter. Add reserved pancetta bits and taste, adjusting seasoning as you see fit. Freshly ground black pepper will be good.

Serve with sliced meat and repeat after me: Tuesday night dinner doesn’t have to be pizza.

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