Sear the pork steaks then braise in the sauce. Scoop out the meat and reduce the sauce or leave them there until the sauce is thick and sticky.
A “steak” is defined as a slab of meat cut across the grain, with or without a piece of bone. There are exceptions, of course, as in the case of fish steak and chicken steak. Although grilling is the most popular way to cook a steak, with pork steaks, the cooking method is dictated by the part of the pig that the steak was cut from. Alex’s pork steaks with red wine sauce was cooked with pork belly. Unless the meat were from a suckling pig, it is not easy to cook pork belly to that melt-in-mouth tender stage by just grilling. In this recipe, the pork steaks were initially seared then braised.
Braised in what? In red wine sauce which has a lot more than red wine in it. Butter, onions, garlic, bay leaf, capers, bone broth, rosemary, oregano, mustard, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce sugar and balsamic vinegar make up the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. It’s a long list, I know, but when you’re reaching for a depth of extraordinary richness, it takes more than salt and pepper to do the job. And the amount of time is crucial too. The sauce was reduced for at least an hour to turn it into a mixture that resembles jam.
Now, get this. Alex has cooked this dish twice. The first time, she seared the pork steaks, braised them in the sauce then lifted them out before reducing the sauce. After the sauce had reduced, she ladled it over the pork steaks on the plate. The photo above was the result.
The second time, she left the pork steaks in the pan while the sauce reduced.
By the time the pork steaks were done, the thick sauce had coated the meat.
I’m not sure which I liked better. If I were one of those people who eat with their eyes, I’d say that the first version had more contrast in color and texture while the second version, with its monotonous hue, did not look as appetizing as the first. In fact, were it not for the presence of the cucumber salad on the plate, that photo would be as lifeless as a dead stallion’s heart like the one Daenerys Targaryen almost choked on in that Dothraki ceremony.
But, the thing is, the second version tasted better. That prolonged braising and the way the sauce clung to the meat… like a mistress who’d die before letting go of her lover. Too dramatic? Well, that’s the word I’d use to describe the experience of wolfing down the second version of the pork steaks with red wine sauce.
So, the following recipe gives you options.
- 3 to 6 pork belly slices 3/4 to one-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 generous pinch rosemary chopped
- 1 generous pinch oregano chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine (dry wine is preferred for cooking but semi-sweet works well too)
- 1 heaping tablespoon capers well drained
- 2 cups bone broth
- 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
Wipe the pork belly steaks fry with paper towels. Rub with salt and pepper.
In a frying pan, heat the oil. Tilt the pan around to cover the entire bottom with oil.
Over high heat, sear the pork steaks on both sides until most of the surface is browned. Scoop out the meat, transfer to a plate and set aside.
Into the hot pan, add the butter. Swirl around to melt.
Saute the onion, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary until the onion slices are softened and translucent.
Pour in the wine and deglaze. Scrape off the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits stuck on it. Boil the mixture, uncovered, until almost dry.
Throw in the capers and pour in the bone broth, mustard, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar. Stir to blend. Bring to a simmer.
Arrange the pork steaks in the pan so that the liquid covers as much of the meat as possible. Lower the heat, cover the pan and braise the pork steaks for 40 to 50 minutes. Taste the sauce midway through the cooking and adjust the seasonings, as needed. If the bone broth was not well seasoned to begin with, you may need to add salt and pepper.
You have the option to remove the pork as soon as they are done. Move to a plate, then boil the sauce, uncovered, until sticky and thick. Ladle the sauce over the pork steaks and serve.
The second option is to leave the pork steaks in the pan while reducing the sauce. Uncover the pan, turn up the heat to high and continue cooking until the sauce has reduced to a sticky delicious mess that looks like jam. You will have to flip the pork steaks occasionally over during this stage to prevent one side from turning darker than the other.
Serve your pork steaks with red wine sauce with rice or bread and your favorite side salad.