Tonight’s dinner would make my mother proud. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I grew up in the midwest. I remember that my mother kept a spiral-bound notebook as a home-made calendar – she had a page for each week, with sections for each day. At the start of the week, she entered our dinner menu for each day (along with anything else she had to do). Almost without fail, dinner consisted of a meat, a starch, and a vegetable.
For the most part, my dinners are random – I’m not great about timing meals, and usually by the time I prepare two things I’ve lost interest and/or time. Typically it’s some form of protein plus a vegetable or salad. If I have dinner rolls or bread around I might have that with my meal, but not always.
Tonight, however, I went back to my roots and prepared a well-rounded meal with meat (grilled bison flank steak), starch (chipotle mashed potatoes), and a vegetable (green dragon tongue beans, from my CSA veggie box). I prepared both the steak and beans on the grill so getting the timing down wasn’t too hard. (In fact, I even steamed some fresh beets while fixing dinner to have on-hand for tomorrow.)
This was my first-time preparing a bison steak. I’m a big fan of red-meat, and have heard good things about bison. From what I’ve read, it’s typically lower in fat with higher protein content than beef. Since I marinated the steak before grilling it, I didn’t notice much difference between bison and other grilled steak.
For the potatoes, I was inspired by Tierra, one of my favorite local restaurants. My favorite side-dish is their chipotle mashed potatoes. I have no idea how they prepare theirs (and to be honest, mine don’t hold a candle to theirs), but mine were tasty enough – they were better than plain mashed potatoes with little added fat. My green beans were pretty simple – I just cooked them in a foil packet with a little soy sauce and balsamic.
The recipes are below, but I started by putting the steak in a ziploc bag with the marinade. Next, I cut the potatoes and put them in a pan covered with water (but no salt), and cleaned and trimmed the beans. I turned on the water for the potatoes not too long after I turned on the gas to warm up the grill, and put the steak and beans on the grill about the time the water came to a boil. My potatoes finished a little before the steak, but covered them with foil and they were still warm when the rest of the meal was ready.
Grilled Bison Flank Steak
Combine in a gallon ziploc bag:
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. garlic powder (not garlic salt, although I sometimes substitute garlic salt if I run out of garlic powder)
Add to the ziploc bag:
- 1 flank steak (about 1.25 pounds) – I used bison flank steak this time, but have frequently used this marinade with regular beef flank steak.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. I’ve left this as long as overnight, and even frozen the flank steak in the marinade. Pre-heat your gas grill, then put the steak onto the grill. Cook without turning at least 5 or 6 minutes so it has a chance to sear. Turn and continue cooking until it is cooked according to your taste. I like it medium-rare. My steak was about 1-inch thick and took 13 or 14 minutes to reach this point. After you remove it from the heat, cover with foil and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing (across the grain).
Chipotle Mashed Potatoes
Place in a large saucepan:
- 2 cups diced potatoes
- 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp. salt
Bring to a boil and then cook, uncovered, until tender with pierced with a fork or knife (the time will depend on the size of your diced potatoes). Drain well. I prefer to “rice” my potatoes as opposed to whipping or mashing them (a potato ricer looks a lot like a huge garlic press). Your potatoes turn out without lumps (as you can get with a masher) but you don’t have to worry about them turning too sticky (which can be the case when you whip them). But prepare them in any way you like, then quickly stir in:
- 1 tsp. butter
- 1/4 cup milk (I used 1% milk since that’s what I had on hand)
- 1 tsp. finely minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce (my potatoes were fairly mild, but you can add more if you want them spicier with a stronger chipotle flavor).
Put on a large piece of foil:
- Green beans, trimmed (I used green dragon tongue beans, but any green bean is fine)
- drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- drizzle of soy sauce
Crimp the foil to seal in the vinegar and soy sauce. Place on grill with the steak, and remove when the steak is finished cooking. If your steak is very thick (or you prefer very crisp beans) you may want to cook them for less time than the steak.