Recipe – Steak and Sweet Potato Bites

I am always on the lookout for quick and easy weeknight meals. Things that the family will like that don’t require hours of prep time, which involve vegetables, and aren’t going to turn the kitchen into a disaster zone. Things which won’t cost an arm and a leg, and which I will be proud of serving to my family. I’ve actually had some really good luck with this recently, and I’m sure I’ll talk about that in the future, but this was a recipe that should have been really good in theory, and mostly was. I mean – who doesn’t like sweet potato? Who is going to complain about eating sirloin steak on a weeknight? But I made a major mistake with it, but I think that mistake is not entirely my fault.

And what was that mistake? Well, if you go into the original recipe (linked below at “Details”), you’ll see in the directions for cutting up the steaks it says, “Cut into 2-inch pieces”. I’m going to wait for you to either get a ruler, or prepare a mental picture of how big a 2-inch square piece of steak is. Do you have that in your head? Now add in the third dimension of thickness, and you’ll start to get the idea that 2 inch pieces of steak is perhaps way too large. In fact – go look at the pictures on the original post, and then come back here and look at mine. If you count on my picture below, there are 12 pieces of steak here, which I had to do because they were so large and didn’t all fit in the pan at the same time cut to size. I think I did at least 2 or 3 batches, because they were so big! Yet in the original post, the pieces look relatively close in size to the sweet potato, and all fit in the skillet nicely at the end.

So, either the writer of the recipe didn’t actually cut the steak into 2 inch pieces and forgot to change the recipe wording (which, looking at her response to the comments on the post doesn’t seem quite right), they did cut the steak into 2 inch pieces, but they had a much larger pan than the one that I used (this was a 12-inch skillet), or rulers are meaningless. Can you tell that the giant size of these “steak bites” (which required a knife and fork to cut into manageable pieces) is grating on me? It sucks, because otherwise, the recipe is terrific. It’s nice to have it all done in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, and not having to dirty up tons of dishes. If you weren’t cooking for a lot of people, I could see this being a terrific meal-prep recipe, because it makes a nice large batch (enough for 4 hungry people). The curry aioli is super easy to make, and is the perfect addition to this recipe (not pictured because I scarfed my meal after getting frustrated with the steak while cooking it.

Luckily for you and for future me, there’s an easy fix, and that is: CUT THE STEAK INTO SMALLER PIECES. You saw it coming. If it’s supposed to be bite-size the way that the sweet potato is, then cut it the same damn size as the sweet potato! 1-inch-ish sized cubes. Easy. That will mean it cooks even faster, and when you’re talking about weeknight meals, that’s not a bad thing.

Steak and Sweet Potato Bites with Curry Aioli
Yield: 4 generous servings

2 lbs sirloin steaks, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
cracked pepper

Curry Aioli
3/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp curry powder (don’t have any on hand? make your own!)

In a small bowl mix together mayonnaise, garlic and curry powder until smooth and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan in single layer. Let sit untouched for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Toss in the pan for an additional 10-12 minutes until fork tender. Remove from pan and set aside.

Season steak pieces generously with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over high heat. Add in steak bites in a single layer, making sure they aren’t touching each other. Cook on high untouched until steak bites are well browned, turn sides and repeat. Continue cooking until all sides are brown. If working in batches, remove the first batch from the pan and cook the remaining steak.

Once all the steak is cooked add both sweet potatoes and all steak back into the pan along with the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.

Serve hot with curry aioli.

Details: Steak Bites with Sweet Potatoes from The Modern Proper (via The Kitchn)

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