Steak Tips with Mushroom-Onion Gravy

January 13, 2011

Very few supermarkets in my neighborhood carry Hanger Steak, so finding it on sale for just $4 per pound truly is a special occasion. Hanger Steak has very beefy flavor, but can be chewy if not prepared properly.  I was looking for a recipe that would highlight it’s beefy flavor, but one that would also leave the meat tender. My search of the Cook’s Illustrated website yielded surprisingly few results, but I found one that seemed to fit the bill; Steak Tips with Mushroom-Onion Gravy.

Edible, but a big let down.

Unfortunately, the recipe turns out to be more stew than steak with gravy. Had I been expecting that outcome I would have been better prepared with some buttered egg noodles. I happened to have a little leftover rice in the refrigerator, otherwise I would have been eating plain stew without a carbohydrate. Overall, the beef was flavorful, but too beefy, not well-balanced, almost burned flavor (though the beef was medium-rare). A stew meat that is cooked for just 13 minutes does not have time to become tender. I would recommend either cooking as a steak, or cooking as a stew. I was unhappy with this hybrid approach. 3-1/2 stars.


  1. The beefy flavor was too overpowering; next time I will replace chicken broth for the beef broth.
  2. Stew meat is tender because it is cooked low and slow. Cooking the beef only until it was medium-rare was not enough to prevent the beef from being tough. The fast cooking time here left the beef tough, and my boys would have preferred medium-well over medium-rare.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 4:30 PM. Dinner time 6:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I cooked it today are given below:
If you can only find cubes or strips, reduce the cooking time slightly to avoid overcooking any smaller or thinner pieces.

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1-3/4 cups beef broth
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package of white mushrooms (Chris recommends a full pound)
2 small or 1 large onion
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, minced
4 teaspoons flour
1 tablespoon parsley

  1. Trim any excess fat from beef and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Cut the onions in half and slice thin from pole to pole; should yield about 1-1/2 cups.
  2. Combine soy sauce and sugar into a medium bowl. Add beef cubes, tossing well, and let sit for 1 hour, tossing again after 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse well porcini mushrooms well, then place in small microwave-safe bowl. Add 1/4 cup beef broth. Cover with plastic wrap, and use a paring knife to cut three steam vents. Cook in microwave for 30 seconds. Let mushrooms soften for 5 minutes. Using a fork, transfer mushrooms to cutting board using a fork and mince. Strain the liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towel into medium bowl with remaining broth. Set everything aside.
  4. Trim stems from white mushrooms and wipe the caps clean; slice into 1/4-inch slices.
  5. Sprinkle meat with 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half the meat and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer meet to plate, and repeat with second batch. (Chris Kimball said to brown in a single batch, but the meat just steamed in its own juices).
  6. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet, then add white mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stirring frequently, cook until the mushrooms start to brown; about 8 minutes. Use spatula to loosen the fond on the bottom of the skillet. Add onion and another 1/4 teaspoon salt to the skillet (together with the mushrooms), and cook until onion begins to brown; about 8 minutes longer. Add garlic, thyme, and flour to the skillet; cook and stir until the vegetables are evenly coated with flour; 1 minute. Add remaining broth and porcini’s liquid, and scrape the bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen fond.
  7. Bring the skillet to a boil, then add meat and any accumulated juices to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until internal temperature of the steak registers 140 degrees; about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop parsley. Flip beef over a few times, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

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