Story & images by Brianne Dela Cruz
It is cold outside; but out we go anyway - to gather round the fire for a delicious meal and good conversation. No matter how snow-covered our backyard may be, there is little that stops us from enjoying the beauty of Winter over a hearty wood-fired dinner. Even though the snow and temperatures may be uncomfortable at times, we are mountain people, and we venture outdoors this season to enjoy the thrill of the chill.
At this gathering, we dined on a simple (yet intensely satisfying) meal of fire-seared flank steak, garlic and herb chimichurri, roasted vegetables, and artisan bread lavishly dosed with homemade honey butter. Yes, “delicious” is an understatement! Although it may sound too fancy to be made in the comfort of a backyard fire-pit, I can assure you that this classic meal of steak and potatoes is easy to replicate. And, it goes a long way in impressing a collection of hungry dinner guests.
The best part about this meal is that both the steak and the roasted vegetables take the same amount of time to cook. While the vegetables are comfortably roasting under coals in the dutch oven, the steaks are cooking over the fire. Meanwhile, us open-fire foodies are free to spend that time enjoying the company of our guests.
For dessert, I recommend pairing this dinner with a seasonal winter classic - my Browned Butter Cranberry Cobbler (which conveniently cooks with the same timing as the rest of the dinner).
Below, I share my recipes for this hearty winter wood-fired dinner. Cheers!
Fire Seared Flank Steak with Garlic & Herb Chimichurri
Prep Time: 15 min // Cook Time: 45 min // Total Time: 60 min
⅔ Cup Olive Oil
½ Cup Fresh Orange Juice
¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
¼ Cup Soy Sauce
⅓ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
4 Cloves Garlic; minced
2 lbs Flank Steak
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Cup Fresh Parsley
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
⅓ Cup Olive Oil
½ Medium Onion; diced
3 Cloves Garlic
½ Medium Jalapeno; chopped
3 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
- Blend all chimichurri ingredients in blender or food processor.
- Store in a cool place until day-of dinner. Serve at room temperature.
- Prepare marinade in sealed container and marinate steak for 4-6 hours before cooking.
- Sear flank steak over direct campfire flame, on large grill grate, then allow flame to mellow while the hot coals at the bed of the fire slow cook the meat until it’s ready.
- Cut into steak to check for readiness. When steak is at desired temperature, remove from heat and slice thinly.
- Serve with heaping spoonfuls of Garlic and Herb Chimichurri.
I like to pre-make my chimichurri about three days in advance to allow flavors to meld and intensify. This is also a great green sauce to pre-make and bring along on any outdoor cooking adventure because it pairs well with many different meats, vegetables, and breads.
Dutch Oven Roasted Vegetables
Prep Time: 15 min // Cook Time: 40 min // Total Time: 55 min
24 Whole Baby Redskin Potatoes
1lb Brussel Sprouts; quartered
1 Cup Yellow Pearl Onions
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
¼ Cup Fresh Parsley; chopped
¼ Cup Olive Oil
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
- Using a fork, poke holes in potatoes.
- Toss all prepared vegetables with olive oil and salt and pepper in large bowl.
- Transfer to 10 inch dutch oven, then cover with lid.
- Place hot coals on lid and below base of dutch oven to cook at 350 degrees (about 24 coals) for 35-40 minutes.
Homemade Honey Butter paired with Artisan Bread
Prep Time: 5 min // Cook Time: 0 min // Total Time: 5 min
4 oz. Butter; room temperature
4 oz. Honey
1 egg yolk; egg white removed
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and honey until smooth.
- Pour in egg yolk and beat until smooth.
- Transfer to smaller bowl and chill in fridge or cooler until ready to serve.
Pair honey butter with a loaf of your favorite artisan bread from a local bakery. This honey butter stores for quite some time when kept cool, so I like to make it in advance, then tote it with me if I know I’ll be preparing a yummy meal like this out in the woods.
Brianne Dela Cruz is a Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Master Gardener, and Naturalist. Her blog ILLUME CO. is "A journal devoted to slow & sustainable living, connecting to nature, and travel - to being present and elevating the everyday mundane. It’s about exploring the planet and caring for Her. It’s about tending the earth and cultivating awareness. Most of all, it’s about finding the beauty within the imperfections, embracing each season of life, and allowing our inner light to shine bright."
Follow her at @illume.co
Read more from her blog at www.illumecoblog.com