Fresh berries might be difficult to find in January but one Washington State chef has an obvious alternative: blackberry-infused cider. At the Ilani Resort‘s Michael Jordan’s Steak House in Ridgefield, Washington, Chef Cory Hoekstra takes Oregon-based Atlas Cider Co.‘s blackberry cider and reduces it for savory-sweet success as the sauce for his expertly cooked New York strip steak.
“There aren’t any actual blackberries in this recipe because it is a refined and strained sauce, however, recipes are guidelines, right?” Hoekstra says. “Whenever I use this sauce, I like to finish the dish with some local berries, cherries, anything tart to complement the sweet and savory aspects from the sauce. The sauce on its own allows the blackberry cider to really shine with its tart and complex characteristics.”
The chef combines this flavorful cider with some red wine as well, noting that the wine also helps to carry more flavors, aromas and even tannin throughout the dish. “With the cider, it adds a different level of flavor and complexity to the dish,” he adds. “Tart, dry, savory, acidic and sweet. Add the demi glace to the sauce and you have another taste added to the equation, salt.”
He’s also not shy to share any of his meaty secrets for you to take your cider reduction next-level at home with flawless beef tips. “There are so many great tips and tricks one picks up throughout the years,” Hoekstra says of his must-do pointers. “Allow your steak to come to room temperature before cooking, this makes for an evenly cooked steak throughout the entire protein. [Use] a hot pan or hot surface, you get your best sear this way and it traps the fats and flavor in the protein. Season liberally: salt and pepper will always come off during the cooking process, no one likes bland meat.”
Far from bland, this blackberry cider reduction can up your beef game at home to a skill set even basketball legend Michael Jordan himself would respect.
Oregon Blackberry Cider Reduction
Yields about 2 cups
2 tablespoons diced shallot
1 tablespoon diced garlic
1 teaspoon oil
1 1/2 cups Atlas Cider Co. Blackberry
3/4 cup red wine
4 cups veal demi glace
1 tablespoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn
1/2 tablespoon butter
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, sweat the shallots and garlic in the of oil, about 4-5 minutes. Add the cider and red wine, reducing until it is a syrup, 15-20 minutes. Add veal demi glace and reduce by about half, about a 20-25 minutes. Add the thyme and peppercorns, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Strain the reduction into a bowl, then whisk the butter into the strained sauce. Serve warm over your protein of choice.
For Chef Hoekstra’s pick protein, he pours this on New York strip steak, following the below steps:
Bring the steaks to room temperature. In medium saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of blended oil over high heat. Season the steaks with salt and pepper, then drop into the hot pan. Cook for 4-6 minutes on each side, depending on the desired doneness. Remove and set aside, allowing the steaks to rest for 5 minutes before cutting in.