This post is a collaboration with Tabasco. Who doesn’t love Tabasco? Tabasco asked me to come up with some recipes to ease you through the mornings after of your festive season, and as it is a bit of a specialist subject of mine, I agreed with much enthusiasm — you can follow the action on social media by checking out the hashtag #tabascosquadgoals.
Who doesn’t love steak and beer and cheese? They sound like a curious combination for a hangover, but trust me, this is the one. This will fix things and make everything ok.
Christmas hangovers. That regular cretin that comes creeping to the end of your bed just as the sun rises to torture and tease you for much of the day. The first is ok, even the second, but then they pile one on top of the other until eventually you can’t cope. In Ireland we call this The Fear, your very own Ghost of Christmas Present. The Fear is debilitating. It makes you question everything you are doing and everything you have ever done. That is when you will see me hiding in my bed or under my duvet on the sofa. The only redemption is something good to eat, and a drink (but not too much). You see, when you are at this stage, the only way out is THROUGH.
A brave bold claim, but trust me, this works. These cheese steaks are as delicate as they are bold, as gentle as they are punchy. They are cheesy, but not in a domineering, threatening your stomach and your entire existence (BAWK!) kind of way. These are just cheesy enough with a gentle depth of flavour that comes from the beer (and this is subtle too, don’t dodge it, no matter how hungover you are), the Worcester Sauce and a generous splash of smokey Tabasco Chipotle Sauce. I say generous as this chipotle sauce has tonnes of flavour but it isn’t terrifyingly hot. I like a bit more heat so I am generous. The Tabasco Chipotle Sauce is one of my store cupboard favourites, a slow gentle rumble that will chase all the beasties away, and so perfect with cheese (try some splashed on some cheese on toast).
For a little joy, and some greens (hello: is that health I see in the distance?), I have some oven crisped cavolo nero all around it. One of my favourite things, I always have some cavolo nero on hand in the winter months, it is a fantastic and nourishing staple. It is simple too. I usually just coat it in a little oil and seasoning and let it crisp in 5 minutes, this time, I wilted it first in some extra virgin olive oil and then placed it in my oven as it cooled. It crisped evenly and perfectly, and was a little better for it.
One the side, a medicinal Bloody Maria. What do we do with a cocktail called Maria-aaaah! Simply a bloody Mary made with tequila. I see your wide eyed stare. TEQUILA? With a hangover?! There is tequila, and then there is tequila. Good tequila is such a happy drink. It warms your brain and wakes it up gently, with a tickle and not a shove. Good tequila calms The Fear down. It is just the right thing to help you feel human again. For a little heat in my Bloody Maria I use the Tabasco Green Sauce, piquant with jalapeño. It is one of the milder sauces but it has terrific flavour, all brightness and reassurance. It is perfect for tender tums that want flavour.
There there now. I know everything hurts. Just eat this, and everything will be ok again. Have a happy hangover! (Just kidding!).
This amount of sauce will serve 2, or one very hungover person who needs it all
- 25g butter
- 25g flour
- 125ml beer – I used a white beer as that is what I preferred
- 225ml milk
- 100g mature cheddar or another good tasty melting cheese (suggest fontina & gruyere) - you may want to add a little more depending on how strong your cheese is, taste to check
- Worcester Sauce – to taste, approx half a tsp
- Tabasco Chipotle Sauce – to taste, approx a tsp (adjust according to heat preferences)
- steak of your choice – I used rump – approx 300g
- good crusty bread, sliced
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- sliced spring onions / parsley
Take your steaks out of the fridge an hour before you cook them to let them come to room temperature. Season them with sea salt and pepper 10 minutes before you cook them. This results in well seasoned steaks and the best and most even cooking. If you salt too early you will draw moisture out of the steak. If your steaks are thin, like minute steaks, 20 minutes at room temperature will do.
Start with your cheese sauce. Make a roux by melting the 25g butter and adding the flour and stirring it in. Cook the roux over a low heat for 5 minutes, to ensure that the flour is cooked through.
Add the beer a little at a time. When all the beer is added, add the milk. The sauce will thicken as it heats up. Add the cheese, and melt through. Add your Worcester Sauce and Tabasco Chipotle Sauce to taste. I like a good punch of flavour and heat so I add quite a lot. This bit is personal, add what your body wants.
Season with salt and pepper, bearing in mind that the Worcester Sauce has salt in it, so you may not need that much.
Keep simmering over a low heat while you prepare the rest, stirring occasionally.
Heat a cast iron pan / chargrill / frying pan / skillet, whatever you cook your steak in (cast iron or chargrill are the best and worth investing in if you cook steaks regularly). Heat a cast iron pan / chargrill for a good 5 minutes over high heat (and it will be HOT so only touch it with the protection of a tea towel or similar).
Pat some oil with a high smoke point like groundnut or sunflower (clarified butter if you are feeling extra indulgent). Always oil the steak and not the pan. I like to cook my steaks rare, so I just give them 2 minutes on each side, depending on how thick they are. You can measure done-ness either with a thermometer (rare 52-55 C, medium rare 55-60 C, medium 60-65 C, medium well 65-69 C, well done 71 deg C). I tell by how much bounce it has when I press it, this is something you become very familiar with when you have cooked enough steaks.
Allow the steaks to rest for a few minutes under some foil, this allows the juices to redistribute and allows the steak to relax. If you eat it straight away the steak will be tight and tougher and the juices will flee to the plate. Prepare your toast while it rests, and add butter to your toast if that is what you do. (I do!).
Slice the steak and serve on the toast with the cheese sauce on top, your garnish of choice and an extra splash of the Tabasco Chipotle Sauce for flavour.
- 50ml tequila
- splash of worcester sauce
- splash of Tabasco Green Sauce
- juice of half a lime
- 150ml tomato jauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- celery stick
- handful of ice
- punch of celery salt
Combine all of the ingredients excluding the ice and give them a shake in a cocktail shaker or a good stir. Add ice.
I find these drinks to be quite personal and this is why you are always given all of the condiments to make your own adjustments. Adjust the levels of Worcester Sauce, Tabasco Green Sauce, lime juice, celery salt and black pepper accordingly until you get the flavour profile that rocks your boat. Make mine hot and a little sour please!