I have had a disproportionate number of strange adventures and living situations in my 34 years, and in that time have also developed some unusual methods of preparing good food with just a few items. Also…. some days you just don’t want to wash a ton of pots and pans. While I don’t think that there is anything in the “A Man A Can and a Plan” cookbook that is unprocessed enough to attract my attention, what has always intrigued me is the idea of very very basic, simple cooking. (Sometimes… then other times I break out the escargot shells). Many times the goal is to make a recipe for something that is super satisfying, but very low effort… if you are prepared.
The great thing about the Primal, Paleo, and Slow Food movements/strategies is that they stress the importance of high quality, local if possible, deliciously and responsibly sourced ingredients. THIS is the secret to simple, delicious cooking – start with only the best. You must have that… and a strategy.
SO… back to the adventures – several years ago, my Grandmother on my Dad’s side gave me a cast iron skillet. There was just starting to be some concern about non-stick coatings, etc. in various health food circles, and I was curious about this old school alternative. Also, I was doing a lot of campfire cooking (LONG story for another time), and the great heat holding/distributing properties of cast iron really fits the bill there. (Yes I will eventually share some great recipes from that time so you can have a gourmet primal, paleo (and some vegan) food experience the next time you go camping!!!) So that is how I came into the possession of this particular no-brand name cast iron skillet with so much history – to which I have added more history as well… You can do equally well with some of the new incredibly easy to deal with Lodge Logic cookware (it comes pre-seasoned?! that’s almost CHEATING!). But any well seasoned, well cared for medium sized cast iron skillet will work for the one skillet challenge.
- Range with oven
- Iron Skillet
- Trusted pair of metal tongs
- Oven mitt, or large dry dishrag
- Meat thermometer
- 1/2 to 3/4lb filet of beef tenderloin (Filet Mignon)
- 2 Strips of uncured, organic bacon (I like Applegate Farm’s Sunday Bacon)
- Brocolli Crown
- Salt (I like to use Himilayan mineral salt)
- Pepper (optional)
Ok, here’s all you have to do – and I will have pictures and timing guidelines forthcoming, I couldn’t wait and ate it all before thinking of taking photos – but this will happen again within a few days.
Chop the broccoli crown into medium sized pieces – being sure each has at least ONE flat side. Depending on your skillet, you may also wish to cut the bacon strips in half. Put salt and pepper on all sides of the filet. Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Brown the bacon in the skillet, being sure to render out as much fat as possible. Drain the bacon on a paper towel, leave the fat in the skillet. Sear each side of the beef filet thoroughly- after the first flip (a few minutes if you get filet as thick as I do…) place pieces of the broccoli in the bacon fat that is surrounding the filet, but try not to touch or disturb the filet in any way. Flip the broccoli pieces when they have become slightly browned. Place them on the paper towel with the bacon and place a new batch of broccoli pieces in the pan around the steak in a similar way – repeat until all the broccoli is cooked – this should take about the same time as the steak searing if you get your strategy straight. After the steak is seared, and all the broccoli removed, place the steak and skillet in the preheated oven, check the steak temperature after about 5-6 minutes (if you like medium rare), continue to cook until the steak reaches just below your desired internal steak temp. Remove the skillet from the oven at that time and place it somewhere to rest for about 5 minutes – return the broccoli and now-crumpled bacon to the hot pan at this time. After 5 mins, put all of this on your plate, or if you REALLY care about someone, half on your plate and half on their plate.