ONLINE EXCLUSIVE New beef cuts, More reasons to use Denver steak, plus a recipe by Lacey Griebeler with texture or fattiness.” Now that customers have caught on, MacGeorge is able to menu Denver steak regularly. “We make a lot of specials currently utilizing it because it is such a good, consistent, quality product. … It has such a good beef flavor without being tough or overly fatty, [and] it can be used in almost any preparation,” he says. One recent special at Ehrhardt’s was a Denver steak “Wellington” taco (recipe, right). The steak was seasoned with a Southwest-inspired mushroom rub and served on a puff pasty “taco.” In light of the competitiveness in the restaurant industry, MacGeorge says it’s in a chef’s best interest to use unique cuts of beef, like Denver steak, to stay ahead of the curve. “I think in today’s marketplace you have to be looking for new and innovative ideas for your menu. Like anything, as items become more mainstream and well-known, more people use them and the price goes up. By looking for new cuts of meat and newly available items, it creates the opportunity to use great quality products that don’t break the budget [but] provide a great value to the customers. In this changing economy, thinking outside the box and finding those hidden gems can really help a business stay current and competitive.” A continued Michael MacGeorge, executive chef, Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort, Hawley, Pa., www.ehrhardts.com; wine pairing by Marlene Rossman s discussed in “Raising the Steaks” (page 12), Denver steak, also referred to as beef chuck under-blade centercut steak, is a new cut of beef that offers value for chefs and diners alike. “In today’s market, where people are really strapping down on spending and restaurant sales are down all over the place, it seems that people are focusing more on perceived value of their meals,” says Michael MacGeorge, executive chef of Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort (www. ehrhardts.com) in Hawley, Pa. “The Denver steak is a great steak that eats very well in terms of texture and flavor, and it is very affordable to put a decent portion on the plate so that people feel that they are getting a value for their meal—and we as a restaurant are still able to hit our price points.” MacGeorge admits there is some lag time between initially menuing Denver steak and when customers start ordering it regularly. “When we first put the Denver steak on our menu, it took a few weeks before it really started selling well. No one really knew what a Denver Steak was, so it took some time to get people to try it. … [I]t has quickly become a great seller. People seem to really enjoy it, and we haven’t had one complaint or negative comment on it—never a problem DENVER “WELLINGTON” TACO WITH SOUTHWEST MUSHROOM RUB, PICO DE GALLO AND CILANTRO AÏOLI Yield: 1 serving 1 6-oz. Denver steak Southwest Mushroom Rub, as needed (recipe follows) 2 7” puff pastry rounds 3 oz. shredded lettuce 3 oz. Pico de Gallo (recipe follows) 1 oz. Cilantro Aïoli (recipe follows) Method (1) Season steak with Southwest Mushroom Rub. Grill to desired doneness. (2) Bake puff pastry rounds till light golden brown but still flexible. (3) Slice steak, and place in puff pastry “taco shell.” Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce with Pico de Gallo, and drizzle Cilantro Aïoli over tacos. Southwest Mushroom Rub 2 oz. dried porcini powder 1 oz. dark chili powder 1/2 oz. onion powder 1 oz. kosher salt 1 pinch cinnamon 1 oz. ground coriander 1 oz. ground cumin 1/2 oz. garlic powder 1 oz. black pepper Method (1) Combine all ingredients; hold for steak preparation. Pico de Gallo 6 whole tomatoes, diced 1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped 2 oz. oil 1 t. ground coriander 2 medium red onions, diced 2 oz. lime juice 1 t. cumin Salt and pepper, to taste Method (1) Combine all ingredients; hold for plating. Cilantro Aïoli A 5 egg yolks 2 T. lime juice 4 cloves garlic 2 T. fresh cilantro 1 c. vegetable oil Salt and pepper, to taste Method (1) In a blender, purée egg yolks, lime juice, garlic and cilantro. With blender running, slowly add oil. (2) Season with salt and pepper, and hold cold for plating. Wine pairing: Lookout Ridge Pinot Noir 2006 (California), with delicious red and black fruits, complements all the components in the dish. This full-bore Pinot is from a winery that donates one wheelchair per every bottle of current release sold via its Wine For Wheels program, benefitting the Wheelchair Foundation (www. wheelchairfoundation.org). 28 | Chef www.chefmagazine.com