Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pepper-Crusted Beef with Kumquat Marmalade

Although kumquats are technically available all year round now, winter is when they're in peak season.  Contrary to other citrus, it's the skin of the kumquat that is sweet, and the pulp that is tart. As a result, kumquats lend themselves perfectly to being pickled, candied, or preserved.  In this recipe, kumquats become part of a zesty marmalade to serve with dinner.  If you don't have Match beef on hand, try with pepper-crusted seitan, Gardein chicken, Match pork, or tofu steaks instead.

  • 1 and 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup halved, seeded, and vertically sliced kumquats
  • 1/2 cup carrot juice*
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground peppercorns**
  • 12 ounces thawed Match beef
  • Fresh chives (optional for garnish)
1. Combine the onion, kumquat, carrot juice, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is almost all evaporated.  Remove from heat and discard the thyme and bay leaf.  Stir in the rice vinegar and let cool.

2. To prepare the beef, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the ground peppercorns in a shallow dish.  Divide the Match beef into 4 portions, shaping each into a 3/4-inch thick patty.  Dredge in the peppercorns and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Add the beef to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side.  Serve with the marmalade and garnish with chives for a pretty pop of contrasting color if desired.

*If you prefer, you can substitute orange juice for a more citrus-y marmalade; however, I highly recommend the carrot juice for the vivid orange color it imparts.  For another fun use for carrot juice, see my post for Ginger Shrimp with Carrot Couscous.

**You can use all black peppercorns, but I recommend a mix of different colored peppercorns.  I ground up a blend of black, white, green, and pink peppercorns.  If you really like the taste of pepper-crusted food, increase the amount to 2 tablespoons.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 steak, about 1/4 cup marmalade), Calories 211 

Tasting Notes:
The "marmalade" was certainly not like a marmalade you'd buy in the jam aisle of the grocery store; a zesty blend of flavors, from bright citrus, to mild onion, to spicy mustard, it was almost creamy from the carrot juice.  I was very proud of the pepper crusting on the beef.  Pepper-crusted food can swiftly dip from just right to too much (I'm reminded of one unfortunate incident involving my husband, Valentine's Day, and an overly-pepper-crusted seitan steak...) so I was worried that there would be too much peppercorn, but the beef was crusted in exactly the right amount.  The combination of spicy peppercorns and cooling marmalade engaged every single taste bud on the spectrum.


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