“Top sirloin steak isn’t the most flavorful part, but it’s not bad,” said Dad. Challenge duly noted. A few weeks ago, I took on a different challenge starting with a courtesy shipment of Butcher Box’s beef and pork. Prior to the shipment, I wasn’t craving the usual chicken and seafood meals. For some reason, they were becoming boring dishes.
The conversations about eating different types of meat were interesting. Friends told me how often they eat beef or pork: three times a year, once a week, or every other day. After experimenting with the first beef recipe — a large pot of ground beef chili — we were overwhelmed with leftovers for two to three days. And, I was proud to have the foresight to freeze a few pints for a weekday meal in the future. The chili dish was a realization of how often we want to eat beef or pork: On a rare day every few weeks and leftovers aren’t wanted.
The flip side of this experiment, is having an increased appreciation for vegetable-based protein dishes. Immediately after eating a beef or pork, a vegetarian meal is served. And, we preferred eating leftover vegetarian meals for a couple of days.
Peas and carrots is a classic vegetarian recipe. When they’re sauté in the same cast iron skillet as steaks and whole cumin seeds, this classic dish silences “mushy baby food” memories. As previously mentioned, this cut of steak isn’t the most flavorful, but the sweet peas and carrots made the steaks better than their best. For this dish, more vegetables are plated than the steak slices, and the peas and carrots are occasionally tossed with rice or farro. Sometimes they’re spooned over baked smashed potatoes.
When I took on the beef and pork challenge, I didn’t expect to have a better appreciation for vegetable-based meals. And, I recalled an old meal planning tip: treat vegetables as a main dish and meat as a side dish. The tip demonstrates how to be creative with boring meals regardless of the protein source: eat more vegetables.
- 4-6 oz. Top Sirloin Steaks (Total 24 oz.), cleaned and patted dry
- Cumin Seasoning for the Steaks: ground cumin, ground coriander, ground garlic, sea salt and fresh black pepper
- 1 lb. carrots; peeled and sliced into about 1” thick slices, blanched until fork tender
- 2 cups of frozen or fresh peas; blanched
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
- 4 whole garlic cloves; lightly smashed
- A few twigs of thyme wrapped in twine
- Remove steaks from the refrigerator. Season with cumin seasoning. Set steaks aside to bring them to room temperature for at most 45 minutes.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add 3 tablespoons butter. Let butter melt and get bubbly.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, garlic cloves and thyme for about 20 seconds.
- Add the seasoned steaks (at room temperature) to the skillet over the garlic and cumin seeds. After about four minutes or when the edges of the steak turn a crusty golden brown, flip the steak over. Cook the other side for about three to four minutes (for medium-rare). As the steaks are cooking, hold the thyme leaves with tongs. Swirl the thyme in the butter and lightly brush them over the steaks.
- Remove the steaks from the skillet. Let steaks rest for about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile finish the carrots and peas: Stir in the carrots and peas to the same skillet that cooked the steaks. Season the vegetables with a little more salt and black pepper. In less than 4 minutes, the carrots and peas should be hot. Turn off the skillet and remove the skillet from the stove.
- After the steaks have properly rested, thickly slice the steaks and elegantly add them over the peas and carrots for a nice presentation.
- Enjoy with buttery rice, farro or baked potatoes.
Lunch Bag Tip:
Microwaves not only reheat food, but it slightly cooks them, too. Slightly undercook beef to reheat in the microwave to desired wellness. Also, buy a serving size of rice (or another grain) and separately pack a small bag of baby greens. After reheating Cumin Steak with Peas and Carrots, toss in the grains and lettuce to make a hearty lunch time salad. Top salad with fresh black pepper.