Bury the hatchet, but don't burn the beef cooking this succulent steak dish!
Another week, another casual occasion to use a hatchet to make a meal. What’s that you say? A hatchet? Why yes. A hatchet. That’s the best part of making this meal, the part where you get to tenderize the beef. I didn’t have a meat tenderizer, so I went into the garage to see what I could find. I couldn’t find a hammer, but I did find a hatchet. The blade was obviously inadequate for meat tenderizing, but the blunt end of the hatchet was perfect for meat smashing. Needless to say, I didn’t ever think I’d use a hatchet to help cook a meal, but it was a really good time.
Furthermore, this dish was so good! I mean, seriously, I feel kind of lucky that I get to eat really delicious food each week. It fulfils all my greatest dreams! Chaliapin Steak Don is supposed to be more delicious, tender, and flavorful than the best cut of beef Japan could possibly hope to offer. I’m not sure about that, but this was a seriously tasty meal. I made it for my family, and they loved it!
I know there are already tons of recreations of this meal, but it looked so good I had to try it myself, especially since I couldn’t find any comprehensive by-the-book recreations. What I especially love about this show is how the people eating the food point out each flavor or component to the meal, which really helps with recreations. I decided to follow the recipe given in the manga version for ultimate accuracy, and actually found a discrepancy between the original recipe and the final product in the anime. Read on to find out what it is!
Here is the original recipe:
This is what we’re trying to recreate:
-2 lbs sirloin steak (mine came in 2 huge slabs that I cut down)
-3 yellow onions
-1/2 cup red wine
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-4 tbsp butter
-Salt, Pepper, Cornstarch
Make the Chaliapin Steak Don!
Start by chopping onions. So many onions.
You want to chop the onion into small pieces. The easiest and quickest way is to peel and half the onion. Then, while it’s on it’s side, make incisions vertically into the onion all the way across, but don’t cut all the way through the end. Then, make horizontal incisions, not cutting all the way through. Your onion should look like this:
Then, just chop straight down, all the way to the end. Bam! Instant small chunks of onion! If this trick seems too complicated, you can just chop randomly too, until it’s the right size. No right or wrong way to chop an onion, really. Put all the onion in a big bowl.
And now, take out your steaks and our handy dandy tenderizer! :D Place a bit of plastic wrap over the steaks to protect them from the tenderizer.
And then just start whacking away, really. You want them to be flattened out, much thinner than they were to start with.
From there, cut them into smaller steaks if you would like, and remove any fat or tendon you don’t want.
Then, dig a hole in your onion bowl. Layer the steaks like this: onion, steak, onion, steak, etc, until you are out of steaks. Make sure the edges are covered in onion. Place some plastic wrap over the top and let sit for 30 minutes.
While waiting for that, take out a few pickled plums (I used 4 but only used about 2 plums worth of paste). Remove the pits, and run your knife through the plums. They should turn pretty easily into a paste. Similarly, take out your green onion and finely chop the green part.
When the beef is done, 30 minutes have passed, take out the steaks and knock all the onion chunks stuck to them back into the bowl.
Set the steaks aside, and take out a large, flat bottomed pan. Put it over medium high heat, and melt 2 tbsp. butter into the pan.
When it’s ready, dump the onion in, season with salt and pepper, and let it cook down until it becomes a nice golden color. This will take some time, at least 10 minutes, if not more. Resist turning the heat up. You want the sugar in the onion to start caramelizing, this is what causes the color change.
While it cooks down, prepare your sauces for later. Pour out the wine, pour yourself a glass of wine, measure out the soy sauce, and dissolve some corn starch in a little bit of water, so there aren’t any lumps.
When onion is a nice golden color, take it out and set it aside. Turn the heat up to a medium high, and melt two more tbsp. of butter in the pan. Salt and pepper your steaks generously on both sides while you wait, then arrange them in the bottom of the pan.
Cooking time will vary, but about 3-4 minutes per side for a 1 inch piece of meat. Resist the urge to move the steaks around once you put them down in the pan. If you let them sit, a nice crust will form. Flip them when they’re ready. As you can see, I turned them over a little too fast- they could have used more cooking for some of the bigger pieces.
Once they’re done cooking, remove them from the pan and set them on a plate.
Cover with foil, and put them in the oven on HOLD, or a very low temperature to maintain the heat.
Time to deglaze the pan! Pour your wine into the pan and lower the heat to medium. With a wooden spoon, scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan to let them mix with the wine. This will equal major flavor down the road, so don’t wash your pan after you cook the steak!
Let the wine cook down for a minute or two. According to the original recipe and the anime, we are now meant to add the onion back in, which is what I did. HOWEVER, if you do this, you won’t have beautiful golden onion on top of your bowl at the end! It all turns red, obviously, because of the wine. Unlike the anime, in real life, it does not acquire a nice golden color. I did this because I was following the instructions given by the manga. If you want to maintain the lovely golden color, leave the onions out of these next steps. If you don’t care, go ahead and do as I did for a yummy flavor pay-off.
Add onions to the mixture (I under caramelized mine- yours should be more golden), and allow them to cook down even more.
Once they are nicely coated in the liquid, pull the onions and sauce away from the edge of the pan.
Pour your soy sauce in this cleared space, making sure it’s directly over the heat. We’re doing this, because one of the judges mentioned this technique in the end.
We want the soy sauce to burn a little bit to increase the flavor profile of the sauce. Once it’s bubbled away for a few second, mix it into the rest of the sauce.
Add a few splashes of corn starch slurry to the sauce to give it that creaminess the judges loved.
And stir the sauce together well.
Now, onto the rice. Take your plum paste and cut it through the rice. If you’re thinking of skipping this part- don’t! The pickled plum was really, really good with the meat and sauce. I highly recommend it! I was originally wary of this because I’m not a huge fan of pickled plums, but this was delicious. Portion out the rice as you see fit.
If you wish, pre-cut your steak
And it’s time to plate. First rice, then meat, then sauce, then a pile of onions. Garnish with the green onion we chopped earlier.
This dish is seriously impressive! I highly recommend it. It tastes far more high-class than it actually is, and seems quite difficult to cook when it’s actually not. It’s sure to win the hearts of your friends and family and, best of all, it was really inexpensive to cook! I spent about $20 on ingredients and my family of 4 was well-fed with adequate leftovers. Everyone loved it, even my dad, who isn’t a big steak guy.
The meat is nice and tender, perfectly flavored with the rich, buttery wine sauce. The plum in the rice adds a nice zing and a really delicious counterpoint to the sumptuous sauce and beef. As tender as the best beef in Japan? Maybe not, but certainly a winner with me.
I hope you liked this week’s recipe! As always, you can check out more blog posts about anime food at my blog, Penguin Snacks. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to leave them below in the comments section! Have a great day ☺
Now you're all set to challenge someone in an actual shokugeki with this Chaliapin Steak Don! In case you missed it, check out last week's recipe: Space Patrol Luluco's classic-style breakfast! What culinary challenges would you like to see Emily tackle next on COOKING WITH ANIME?