Eating Well Made Easy: Steak Tips in Gravy

The Inspiration

Back when we lived in Michigan, my favorite date-night dish at the local brew pub was steak tips. They were soft, tender, full of flavor, and swimming in gravy. They paired nicely with a stout or deep red wine. When, out of necessity, I switched my diet to that of gluten and dairy free, those beloved steak tips were no longer an option for me.

Well, this month, I set out to recreate them, and I honestly think I’ve done better than the inspiration! I was amazed at the depth of flavor and the tender fall-apart texture these tips provided. My four taste testers all agreed. This is a winning recipe, worthy of a place in the permanent dinner rotation.

The Idea

So when I set out to come up with a recipe, I found that steak tips are generally marinated and grilled OR dredged in flour and used to make gravy. I decided to do both. That choice paid off with a deeply complex and subtly sweet sauce.

You can see that these sirloin tip steaks were mechanically tenderized before being cut into cubes.

For this recipe, I used sirloin tip steaks. As delivered from Spring Forest Farm, the steaks were already mechanically tenderized. I took the tenderized steaks and cut them into roughly one inch cubes. Steak tips are also sometimes made from the more expensive tenderloin, but I found that the sirloin tip steaks were a great option that cooked up tender.

The Marinade

The concoction I settled on for a marinade trends on the sweet side. I found that it was a nice layered addition to the otherwise savory ingredients. This marinade requires time to cook and reduce on the stove top. Then it must cool completely before mixing with the steak tips. As a time saver, knowing that we’ll use this recipe again and again, I plan to triple the marinade ingredients next time I make it. Once it’s cooled, I will portion it out and freeze it. That way, this can be a much quicker meal in the future.

Next time I will make this marinade in bulk, cool, and freeze in batches to speed the process along for future meals.

Because the marinade is sweet and packed with flavor, the steak really does not need to marinate long. I left our steak tips in the marinade for thirty-forty minutes. This produced a very rich gravy when done cooking. You could likely marinate for as little as ten minutes and have a pleasant balance of sweet and savory in the finished product.

This is a powerful marinade. The longer you leave your meat in, the richer your final product will be.

The Preparation

While the meat was marinating, I chopped an onion, 6-8 garlic cloves, and 8 oz. of baby Bella mushrooms. I sautéed these in oil. I recommend a Dutch oven for the cooking process so you don’t dirty up multiple pots and pans. After the onions become translucent, remove the mix from the pot and set aside so that the pot is ready for searing the meat. (Note: We like a notable amount of garlic in our food. If you’re not as excited about the medicinal powerhouse as we are, cut yours by half.)

I cooked down the mushrooms, onion, and garlic before removing it from the pan. It will be added back to the gravy later.

When I was ready to get the steak tips cooking, I took them directly from the marinade and dredged them through a flour mix. Because we are gluten free at my house, I used a mix of arrowroot, chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. You would likely have similar success with the flour of your choice. The purpose of dredging is just to thicken the broth into gravy as the meat braises in the oven.

I ended up only dredging half the sirloin tips (or about one pound) in flour. That was enough to create the desired gravy texture I was seeking.

The Method

Once dredged, the meat is ready to be seared. I seared the marinated and floured meat in a bit of olive oil, along with the remaining juices from the onion, garlic, and mushroom mix. To be honest, this made a sticky mess, as can be seen from the photo below. Perfectionists, stay the course! It will all work out in the end. Another side note: Because I was cooking so much meat (2.5 lbs.), I only dredged half the meat. That stickiness was getting to be a bit much. I just seared the other half of marinated meat without coating it in flour.

This was a mess, y’all! Just look at that spoon! The perfectionist in me was cringing, but it worked out just right once the stock was added.

After every steak tip has been seared on all sides, add in the beef stock and stir continuously. This will turn your sticky mess into a smooth, thickening liquid. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot for any loose bits that might be stuck there. Once everything has been smoothly integrated, add in the ketchup and soy sauce or substitute (we use this).

The sticky mess is no more once the stock is added.

One more tip to really ramp up the flavor. If you have time, reduce and concentrate your beef stock before adding it to the seared steak tips. To do this, start with 64 oz of stock, and reduce it to roughly half while simmering. This will make your stock pack a distinctive punch. If I were making this for a weeknight meal, I probably wouldn’t worry about this step. It takes extra time. But when not on a schedule, I’d opt for this added step every time.

Bring your dish to a simmer, cover, and then place in a 300 degree oven for 90-120 minutes. I would check between the 90 and 120 minute mark to see about the consistency of the gravy. Mine reduced drastically as it thickened. You don’t want to leave it in so long that your pot gets sticky and dry, but the slow cooking is what makes the meat so tender.

This is what my Dutch oven looked like as I checked on the finished product between the 90 and 120 minute mark.

The Results

This is a hearty, warm meal for the winter months. As pictured below, I served it over mashed, white sweet potatoes and found that everyone at the table went back for more.

Your comfort food is calling.

Enjoy the recipe! Adapt and make it your own! 

Steak Tips in Gravy

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Moderate - due number of steps
  • Print

I found that steak tips are generally marinated and grilled OR dredged in flour and used to make gravy. I decided to do both. That choice paid off with a deeply complex and subtly sweet sauce.

Ingredients

FOR THE MARINADE:
– sauce pan
– 2 tsp olive oil
– 4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 small onion, diced
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp black pepper
– 1/4 c molasses
– 1/4 c honey
– 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
– 1/2 c coffee
– 1 c tomato sauce, reserved

FOR THE FLOUR COATING:
– 1/2 c chickpea flour
– 1/4 c arrowroot flour
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp pepper

FOR THE MAIN EVENT:
– large Dutch oven
– 2 Tbsp. olive oil
– 2-3 lbs. sirloin tip steaks
– 1 large onion
– 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms
– 6-8 cloves garlic (or less by preference)
– 32 oz beef stock (or 64 oz reduced by half into concentrate…see above)
– 1 Tbsp. ketchup
– 1 Tbsp soy sauce or substitute

Directions

  1. For the marinade:
    • Sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil until fragrant.
    • Add all other ingredients but the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half.
    • Add the tomato sauce and simmer another 20 min.
    • Allow the marinade to cool completely before adding the steak.
    • While cooling, cut the sirloin tip steaks into one inch cubes.
    • Once the marinade is room temperature, add the steak cubes and let rest for 10 to 30 minutes. The longer you marinate, the richer the flavor.
  2.  For the flour coating:
    • Mix all of these ingredients into a bowl.
    • Remove the steak from the marinade and coat half of it in flour. The other half will be seared without needing a coat of flour.
    • Set the coated and non-coated steak aside in preparation for searing.
  3. For the main event:
    • Sauté the garlic, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Remove from the pan and set aside.
    • Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan. Begin to sear the steak cubes. Sear each side and then shove to the side so more can enter the pan.
    • When done searing, add the beef stock and stir to deglaze the pan.
    • Once the liquid is smooth, add the garlic/onion/mushroom mixture back in.
    • Add the ketchup and soy sauce or substitute.
    • Bring to a simmer then place a lid on the dutch oven
    • Put the dutch oven in the oven for 90-120 minutes at 300 degrees. Check the progress and stir around 90 minutes to see if it needs more time to thicken. You don’t want it to be dry and sticky, but more time is good for tenderizing the meat. Find the balance you like.
    • I suggest serving over mashed potatoes.

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