Rich Wine Sauce Turns Thick Peppercorn Crusted Ground Chuck Patties into a Company Worthy Dish
Out of all the recipes I’ve made throughout my life, this is the one that my family requests over and over and over again. It originally came from Pierre Franey’s cookbook, published in 1979, “The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet”. There are a couple reasons why this dish is so good. The first is the technique involved. Ground chuck is shaped into thick, at least 1 1/2 inches, patties, sprinkled with salt and plenty of roughly crushed black peppercorns. The patties are then placed into a very hot cast iron skillet and not moved for almost 5 minutes. This produces a thick crisp crust. You flip them and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes. We like ours medium rare. Cook for a couple more minutes for medium. The thick patties are removed from the pan, a deeply flavored wine sauce is made and this is the second reason these are so delicious.
I have tweaked this recipe over the years and will provide you with my version. Although I’ve given specific amounts of the sauce ingredients I haven’t actually measured them in a long time. No harm will come if you change some of the exact measurements of the liquids involved, but the technique of swirling in the butter at the end is essential for achieving the luscious mouth feel of the sauce.
And while I’ve learned these are at their best if you’re able to grind your own chuck, they’re still delicious if you use the ground chuck purchased from the grocery store. All I can tell you is that whenever I mention I’m making these, nothing makes my family happier. That’s no exaggeration. The deeply flavored sauce, combined with the crusty thick patty is a true revelation and I still love it after all these years.