Skirt steak with red wine pan sauce
Photography by Sam Armocido

You’re so bored with Tuesday night dinner, aren’t you? You come home from work, any vestige of the relaxation from the weekend wiped away, with no energy to cook. If you can restrain yourself from ordering takeout or grabbing fast food on the way home it’s (yet another) boneless, skinless chicken breast and some steamed veggies.

I’m about to change your life. This time you walk in the door, totally exhausted and grab some quick-cooking piece of meat from the fridge – chicken thighs, pork chops, a skirt steak – you preheat a pan and sauté it in under 15 minutes flat. Now there’s brown bits left over in a pan that you have no interest in cleaning.

So, you pour some liquid in the pan – wine, brandy, stock, or just water – and as it bubbles away you scrape up the brown bits. When you’ve reduced the liquid by half you whisk in some cold butter et voilà, you have a pan sauce. Suddenly another boring weeknight meal is translated into a restaurant style meal that you’re excited to eat. This simple luxury took only an extra 3-5 minutes and bonus, you’re pan is basically clean.

Life changed. Enjoy that special dinner. You’re worth it.

Sautéed skirt steak with red wine pan sauce

Make sure to get that pan screaming hot before the steak goes in for a good sear. Quick and easy, the pan sauce at the end takes your meal to a whole new level.


  • 1 skirt steak, about 1 1/2 lbs
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 tbs cold butter
  • Red wine vinegar


  • Pat steak dry with paper towels, season generously with salt and pepper and let rest for 10 minutes to bring up to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat a heavy skillet like stainless or cast iron over medium-high heat.
  • Add oil, turn to coat pan and add steak. Let cook for 3-4 minutes until a good sear has developed, and turn. If the steak sticks to the pan give it another minute or two and it will release. Cook the steak on the other side for another 3-4 minutes and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook steak to medium, about 10 minutes longer. Remove steak to a plate and tent with foil.
  • Return pan to medium-high heat. Add shallot and sauté 2-3 minutes to soften. Add wine, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns. While the wine bubbles and reduces, scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine is reduced by half, pour the sauce through a mesh strainer and discard the solids.
  • Return the sauce to the pan over medium heat along with any juices that have accumulated under the steak. Reduce to 1/3 cup and remove from heat. Whisk the cold butter into the hot sauce and season to taste with a splash of vinegar and salt and pepper as needed.
  • Slice steak against the grain and serve drizzled with the pan sauce.

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