Flank Steak Sunday Dinner with Chef Michael Van Houten

Flank Steak Sunday Dinner

Flank Steak Sunday Dinner

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PhillyBitePhiladelphia, PA - Just because summer has ended does not mean that grilling season has. The crisp autumn air makes the smell of charcoals burning to seem that much more special. Taking sometime outside in nature, observing the leaves changing colors shortly before floating to the ground is one of the best stress releases out there. This week for Sunday Dinner I wanted to discuss a steak dish that I find to be quintessentially September; grilled flank steak with charred corn relish and toasted rice pilaf.

Flank Steak Sunday Dinner

When it comes to grilling steak, one of my favorite alternatives to expensive cuts of beef is to use flank steak. Flank steak is in the lower chest portion of the cow, just under the ribs.  Since this is a relatively thin cut of meat, it lends well to marinating; the very reason I like to use this cut of meat. One thing to keep in mind when it comes to cooking a flank steak is that you really shouldn’t cook it past medium rare to medium, as it starts to become tough and chewy when it prepared past that. It is also best to slice it on an angle, as thin as possible and against the grain. To create a tender piece of steak that's packed with flavor.

Corn Chef MVH Flank SteakOne of my objectives, when I approach cooking, is how I can maximize the natural flavors in the ingredients that I will be using. Vegetables loaded with very flavorful juices, so my question becomes “how can I use them?” Coincidentally, one of the questions most frequently asked is how someone can make vegetables taste better? Charring vegetables is a great way to caramelize the juices, which creates an intense natural flavor. Topping the list of my favorite things to char is corn, with its sweet juices brightening up this relish. The key to getting a proper char on vegetables is not to allow them to sit in the same part of the pan for too long; this causes burning and will ruin an entire dish.   It is also critical that the pan you use is dry, as you will find it very difficult to char the vegetables correctly when you use any amount of oil.   While we are on the topic of maximizing natural flavors, toasting grains like rice will produce a nutty like flavor that adds a beautiful layer to the dish. Just like with charring vegetables, this process is best done in a non-stick, dry pan.

flanksteak botteled Thyme

Remember I mentioned that the flank steak was ideal for marinating due to it being a relatively thin cut of meat? When it comes time to make the marinade in this recipe, you could use this as an opportunity to teach your children about units of measure in the world of cooking; this is the most natural starting point for teaching your children how to cook from scratch. A wonderful opportunity to include your children comes when you make the marinade in this recipe. A fantastic way to teach them about measurements, along with getting them excited about dinner since they had a hand in making it.

Crisp air slows starts replacing the dog days of summer, don’t let that discourage you from using your grill. An excellent opportunity to toss the ball around the backyard while anxiously awaiting a delicious meal served during the big game. For more recipes, visit www.BottledThyme.com and join me next week for another Sunday Dinner.


Grilled Flank Steak


2 lb                  Flank Steak

1 Jar                Romesco Sauce

2 TBSP             Worcestershire Sauce

1 TBSP             Honey 

1 TBSP             Dijon Mustard

2 cup               Cold Water

To taste           Salt & Pepper

½ tsp                Coriander – ground

Ingredients – Charred Corn Relish

Four ears         White Corn – removed from husk

½ lg                  Shallot – small dice

2                      Orange Pepper – small dice

1 TBSP             Red Wine Vinegar

1 TBSP             Oil

¼ tsp                Cumin – ground

One tsp                        Thyme – dried

¼ cup               Water


Ingredients – Toasted Rice Pilaf

2 cup               Basmati Rice – uncooked

½ cup               Orzo pasta

5 cup               Water

2 TBSP             Oil

1                      Carrot – small dice

One clove        Garlic – minced


Process – Rice Pilaf

  • In a large non-stick skillet, heat to med-high. Add the rice and orzo, toast until golden brown; about a minute and a half to two minutes. Stir every 20 seconds or so to prevent burning. Place on a plate to cool.
  • In a large sauce pan, heat up oil on med-high heat. Add carrots and sauté for two minutes. Add the garlic when there are about 30 seconds left.
  • Add rice & orzo, water, and salt. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Process – Charred Corn Relish

  • Heat a large, non-stick skillet to med-high heat. Add the peppers and allow it to cook for about 20-30 seconds before giving it a good stir. Continue to char the corn, stirring every minute or so for the next 3-4 minutes. You’re looking for caramelization on the pepper. Remove from the skillet to a cookie sheet. Repeat the process with the corn.
  • Add 1 TBSP of oil to the pan and heat. Add the shallot and sauté 2 minutes. Add the corn and water, simmer until the liquid has cooked off.    
  • Season the mixture with salt, pepper, cumin & thyme; mix. Add the red wine vinegar and stir around. Cook for another minute and remove from heat.


  • In a large bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, honey, and coriander; mix well until everything is well incorporated. Then add the water and stir again to mix in the water. Place the flank steak in the marinade and refrigerate for 4 hours and up to 24 hours; it is best if you allow marinating overnight.
  • Heat up your grill to 400 degrees. While the grill is heating, remove the steak from the marinate.
  • Once your grill is up to temperature, place the steak on the direct heat portion of your grill. Cook until your desired temperature. It’ll take 6-8 minutes per side to bring it to med-rare. Add 2 minutes per side for medium and another 2 minutes for medium-well. (NOTE – the further past medium you cook flank steak, the tougher the meat becomes.)
  • Allow steak to rest for 10 minutes after the cook. Heat up the Romesco Sauce to a simmer while you are resting the steak. When you are ready to slice your steak, keep a few things in mind. You will want to slice it at an angle, going against the grain and as thin as you can slice it. You will want a relatively sharp knife to do this.
  • Serve everything and enjoy!

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