Recreating My Favorite Hanger Steak in NYC

Steak Frites, Steak with Fries. Call it what you want, when I’m in the mood for some red meat this is the dish that I crave. More specifically, it’s the Hanger Steak from Cafe Mogador. It’s probably my favorite steak in NYC and I pretty much order it most times I’m there. It’s kind of crazy because compared to steakhouse prices this steak is cheap cheap cheap yet so satisfyingly yum. Ok, so I haven’t tasted every single Hanger Steak there is to taste in NYC but I’m just so happy with the steak at Mogador. I can’t bear the disappointment I might feel if I ordered it some place else and it just didn’t live up to my Mogador expectations. You know, that sinking feeling you get when you realize it’s just not going to be that special?

The steak at Cafe Mogador is typically served medium rare and comes pre-sliced with fried shallots, a delicious red wine sauce, french fries and watercress. The meat tender and full of red wine, earthy, charry goodness. Sometimes I get so sad when I rock up for dinner at Mogador and it’s not on the menu. I’ll always just double check with wait staff. “Are..Are you sure you’re not doing the hanger steak tonight?” Last year, Mogador opened up  up a second location in Williamsburg, nice and close to where I live. Maybe a little too close?

I’ve contemplated making Hanger Steak at home a couple of times but there was always something that prevented me from making it. I’d never heard of that cut of meat till I came to the states so it wasn’t the type of thing I felt comfortable asking the butcher for. Side note – apparently Hanger Steak is also called Butchers Steak because they’re known for keeping it for themselves. Thanks Wikipedia! One time I confidently walked up to the butcher and asked for it, only to be told “No Hanger Steak!” Maybe he had it all stashed away for himself that day? I’ve occasionally looked for the cut at the local supermarket and have never had any luck. But a couple of weeks ago I was delighted to stumble on lots of Hanger Steak cuts in the meat section in my local supermarket. “It’s a sign!” I thought and off I went, picking up all the ingredients I would need.

I’ve had mixed results with steak prepared at home. One time I prepared Ina Garten’s Steakhouse Steaks recipe and that was a hit. Honestly, I think a lot of your success comes down to how well you season your meat. For the steakhouse steak recipe I could not believe how much salt Ina used but you know what? It made all the difference. That steak was amazing. I did some research on Hanger Steak recipes in an attempt to find something that incorporated the tastes and flavors from Mogador. There were lots to choose from but none of them were served with a red wine sauce. So I had to do some cross pollination and come up with my own recipe. I basically followed the Martha Stewart recipe for the marinading and grilling parts followed by a red wine sauce that accompanied this Filet Mignon recipe.

Now if we’re talking about re-creating the entire Mogador experience which by now you’ve probably realized I was trying to do, I had to find a good french fries recipe to go with the steak. Deep frying was out of the question for me. I just didn’t want to deal with all the oil and mess. So I had to find an oven baked french fries recipe that was going to work. I ended up combining this Ina Garten recipe with this Amateur Gourmet recipe. One had the right quantity of potatoes and shape of the fries while the other had good seasonings including rosemary which I love.

So here goes nothing. Time to make some steak and fries.

Prepare your marinade.

Marinate your meat overnight.

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Meat is ready for grilling the next day

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But first let’s get those fried prep’d and in the oven

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Ok. We’ve got the timing of those fries all worked out. Time to cook the steak in the skillet

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Flipped over and look at that char. Looking good. Oh dear, lots of smoke.

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Smoke detector went off but the steak just wasn’t quite ready yet. I think there was something wrong with my meat thermometer. But I just couldn’t take it any longer. Time to rest the steak

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Preparing the red wine sauce.

Time to slice the steak.

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Voila. Ready to serve and eat with fries and watercress!

So what’s the verdict? My steak was just ok. Sadly, it was no Mogador steak. Remember that sinking feeling I described earlier? Oh well. You live and learn. Here’s a photo of the steak I had there recently.

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So. What would I do differently?

  1. Invest in a decent meat thermometer. I’m convinced mine was malfunctioning.  🙂
  2. Try a different meat cooking technique that involves less smoke.
  3. Use more marinade. I halved the quantities from the Martha Stewart recipe because my cut of meat was smaller than the one called for in the recipe but I think the more marinade the better in this case. The recipe at the end of this post has been corrected to account for this.
  4. Use more seasoning. I thought I used enough salt and pepper but it looks like I should have used more.
  5. Don’t get too complicated and try to combine french fries recipes. Stick with one and go with it. They might not look like the same as Mogador fries but at least they will be easier to make and still very tasty.
  6. Incorporate fried shallots into the recipe. They are delicious and were sadly missed.

Recipe – Hanger Steak with Oven Baked French Fries (based on recipes from Martha Stewart, SimplyRecipes, Barefoot Contessa and The Amateur Gourmet) – Serves 2

Note:

It’s best to prepare the meat a day in advance to allow the meat to marinate for a good chunk of time.

Steak Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 lb piece of hanger steak (1 lb should really be enough for two people.)
  • 3/4 cup red wine.
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for grilling.
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • Coarse salt.
  • Watercress (for serving)

Red Wine Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Fries Ingredients:

  • 2 large baking potatoes, unpeeled.
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil.
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic.
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves.

Directions:

1. Marinate the meat

  • Find a dish that is large enough to hold the meat.
  • Whisk together the wine, worcestershire sauce, mustard, sugar and pepper till well combined.
  • Rub the meat with the garlic on both sides and then let sit in the marinade.
  • Cover and chill the meat overnight (at least 2 hours if you don’t have enough time.)

2. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

3. Take meat out of fridge after marinating is complete and let it get to room temperature, about an hour.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the fries.

  • Clean your potatoes, best to use a vegetable scrub.
  • Cut the potatoes in half along the shorter length. Then cut into strips about 1/4 inch wide and place in a bowl.
  • Toss all the remaining fries ingredients together in the bowl.
  • Place the potatoes on a sheet pan spread in a single layer.
  • Bake for 40 minutes tossing once around 30 minutes into the baking.

5. Remove the meat from the marinade and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Use this as a time to confirm that the meat is definitely at room temperature.

6. At around the 25 minute point with the fries you’ll want to start cooking the steak.

  • Get your skillet super hot.
  • Put lots of salt and pepper on both sides of the steak. Now is the time to season that meat so don’t be shy.
  • Put the steak on the grill and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Turn the steak and cook for another 7 minutes or until an instant read thermometer measures 140 degrees.
  • Take the meat off the skillet and rest on a plate for 5 minutes, covering with foil.

7. Prepare the red wine sauce.

  • Add the cup of wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping down any bits left in the skillet.
  • Wait for sauce to reduce in volume by half.
  • Add the tablespoon of butter and whisk to combine, simmering till thickened slightly.

8. Carve the meat against the grain.

9. Serve with fries and watercress.

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