I’m lending a hand for a couple of weeks as the new kid on the block settles in and big brother gets acquainted with his new sidekick. On a quiet afternoon, as everyone miraculously napped simultaneously, I found this creation in a Real Simple laying unread on Mariel’s now-neglected desk. Given that cauliflower and most of its cruciferous cousins are verboten in the land of a newborn’s digestive system, I altered the original recipe and used turnips for the steak’s pillowy bed. At Mariel’s brilliant suggestion, I also added her Chimichurri sauce, providing the perfect condiment for our infant-friendly feast.
Strip steak can get super pricey at the local butcher (or even in a grocery store) so I sussed out some NY Strip Steaks in family packs at Stew Leonard’s transforming this into a deliciously inexpensive steak recipe…or inexpensive for beef, anyway. I sliced the meat thinly against the grain and – voila – a baby-safe, protein-packed dinner that was doubly enjoyed on sliced bread the next day!
Sliced Steak with Pureed Turnips and Toasted Quinoa
Note: When buying turnips, select the smaller ones. They are not only sweeter but also a whole lot easier to peel and dice before boiling. And the quinoa (a protein-packed grain, BTW) is actually crunchy as this recipe requires only a small amount of water and oil. The quinoa begins to toast as the water cooks off, unlike the traditional form of cooking like rice or oatmeal. This version renders a crunchy garnish that’s an excellent addition to not only this meal but atop a salad or soup as well.
The first 3 components of this meal can be prepared ahead of time. I made the turnips, chimichurri, and quinoa in the morning and then brought everything back to room temp 2 hours before the steak went into the pan. I reheated the turnips (in a glass dish covered with foil) for about 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
For the topping:
½ cup raw quinoa – $3.59 (For the box – Mariel and I actually now keep this in our respective stocked pantries)
½ cup water
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided – stock
2 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese – stock
1 ½ – 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro – $0.99
For the turnips:
2 lbs. small turnips (I used 3) – $1.82
1/3 cup heavy cream – $1.79
3 Tablespoons sweet butter – stock
For the chimichurri:
1 packed cup of fresh cilantro – included above
1 packed cup of flat-leaf parsley – $0.99
3 teaspoons of dried thyme (or 3 Tablespoons of fresh if you have some on hand) – stock
3 peeled cloves garlic – stock
3/4 Teaspoon cayenne (or none if you’re nursing!) – stock
1/2 Teaspoon cumin
1/2 Teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup red wine vinegar – stock
1/2 cup virgin olive oil – stock
For the steak:
2 lbs. strip steaks, each approximately 1” thick – $15.98
salt and pepper
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $25.16
Total Per Serving: $6.29
1. Prepare the quinoa topping by combining with 2 Tablespoons of the oil and the water in a medium-large non-stick sauté pan.
2. Over medium-high flame, cook, stir fairly frequently until all of the water is absorbed and the grain is golden.
3. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cilantro and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Peel and cut the turnips into 1×2 inch chunks and boil 12-15 minutes until fork-tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor armed with the steel blade.
5. Add the butter and cream, season with salt and pepper, and puree until smooth – about 45 seconds to a minute or so. Transfer to a small glass pan (I used a bread loaf pan) if you are preparing this ahead of time.
6. Prepare the chimichurri. Directions here.
7. Prepare the steak. Heat the last Tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. For medium rare, cook on the first side for 6 minutes and the second side for 5 minutes. Allow to rest on the counter top for 5 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain. Tip: If you’re not comfortable with guessing the degree of doneness, simply use a meat thermometer.
8. Center the turnips in a pretty pile between 4 plates. Top with sliced steak. Drizzle the steak and with chimichurri and garnish all of the dish with the quinoa crunch.