Bring a bit of French bistro flavor into your own home with Thomas Keller‘s meaty skirt steak blanketed in sweet, rich caramelized shallots for a luxurious bite of beef with every piece. A red wine reduction both underscores the depth of the dish and keeps it from being too much, as does a bit of refreshing, herb-flecked salad on the side. For another impeccable dish from the chef, get Thomas Keller’s Cod Brandade Fritters with Tomato Confit and Fried Sage recipe.

Note: Skirt steak, cut from along the ribs of the animal, is fibrous. When you order it from your butcher, keep in mind that there is an inside skirt steak as well as an outside steak. At Bouchon, they use the outside cut; thicker and more uniform in size, it can stand up to longer cooking, giving you time to baste the meat and flavor it with shallots and thyme.from: Bouchon: The Thomas Keller Library

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy 

Ingredients (26)

For the steak and shallots:

  • 4 10-ounce pieces trimmed outside skirt steak
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups thinly sliced shallots
  • 4 teaspoons minced thyme

For the salad:

  • 2 to 3 ounces watercress, large stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced chervil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the red wine jus:

  • 1 bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 cup diced Spanish onions (1/2-inch thick)
  • 1 cup peeled and sliced carrots (1/2-inch thick)
  • 1 cup sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (1/4-inch thick)
  • 1 cup sliced shallots (1/4-inch thick)
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms (1/4-inch thick)
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 6 Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 5 cups veal or beef stock


To make the red wine jus:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the stock in a wide heavy saucepan or pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the wine has reduced almost to a glaze. Add the veal stock, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare an ice bath. Strain the jus several times through a fine-mesh strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Cool in the ice bath, stirring occasionally. (You can refrigerate the red wine jus for up to 3 days. Warm over low heat just before serving.)

To make the steak and shallots:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Season both sides of the steaks generously with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the salt and pepper will also season the shallots as they cook.
  3. Heat two large skillets over medium-high heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil to each skillet. When the oil is hot, add 1 tablespoon butter to each skillet, swirling them to brown the butter. Add the steaks and sear the first side for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn the steaks to brown the second side, tilt the skillets, and use a spoon to baste the meat with the oil and butter. After about 3 minutes, total cooking, remove the skillets from the heat and transfer the meat to a baking pan. Set aside while you cook the shallots.
  4. Set the skillets, with the butter and oil, over medium heat. Add half the sliced shallots to each skillet, toss them in the oil and butter, and cook for about 2 minutes, until they have started to soften. Combine all the shallots in one skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the thyme, reduce the heat, and cook gently until the shallots are completely softened and golden brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to caramelize.
  5. Stir any juices that have accumulated around the steaks into the shallots, then spread the shallots over the steaks. Place in the oven to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the steaks are medium-rare.

To make the salad and serve:

  1. Place the watercress in a bowl and toss with the minced shallots, herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the steaks on serving plates and spoon about 2 tablespoons jus alongside each one.
  3. Divide the watercress salad among the plates.

Excerpted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2004. Photographs by Deborah Jones.