Ribeye Steak with Straw Potatoes and Jim Beam Glaze

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Published on: May 14, 2013

I return to one of my favourites, steak.  You can read my previous article on how to properly cook a steak here, so I won’t cover it in much detail this time.

My initial plan with this recipe was to do steak and eggs but I was reminded of the bottle of Jim Beam (white) which is so bad, I can’t even drink it with coke.  It’s like that overly excited aunt or uncle you always see at Christmas when you were 5 years old and you are trying your best to avoid; they are more than a little rough around the edges, they smell funny, they really want a hug, but no matter how much sugar or sweets they are offering, you still don’t want to go anywhere near them.  That is how I feel about the bottle of Jim Beam that sits in my drinks cabinet, it stares at me, taunting me, reminding me how hard it is to get rid of it.  I’ve been given a few suggestions but none of them I like, pouring it down the drain was probably the best one but I don’t want to waste it and that would feel like I was admitting defeat.

After a bit of thinking I decided to reduce the Jim Beam into a sauce, which I could then use to glaze some meat. I guessed that with enough sugar and enough boiling it would remove the horrible taste of this whiskey (‘ey’ because there is no chance of me ever confusing this with real Whisky).  However I also had the sneaky suspicion that it would still taste rancid, so I wasn’t going to baste my good quality steak with it beforehand – just in case.  In the end the reduced Jim Beam tasted like some super sweet syrup and I was tempted to chuck it or use it in a dessert but then I had a bit of a brainwave and added in two teaspoons of red wine vinegar and it transformed into one of the best sauces I’ve made.  So, “when in doubt, add an acid” – that’s become a mantra for me, acids like vinegar or citrus are second only to salt in importance of flavour and lately I’ve seen a lot of cookbooks saying exactly the same thing.

To pair with the meat and glaze I wanted something a little different, I didn’t want a heavy starch.  I came across a fish recipe that called for straw potatoes and thought it would be perfect for this dish;  They are light, crispy and look good on the plate.  Another reason to use straw potatoes is they cook very quickly so there would be no fussing around trying to have the starch cook in time for the steaks.  Straw potatoes require careful preparation but are easy to make.  First, a little goes a long way, you will only need 1 or 2 large potatoes per person.  Second they need to be peeled and then cut length ways into thin slices, about 2-3mm thick, a mandolin makes life easy and keeps the thickness consistent but I made do just using my knife.  Then you stack all the slices back together and cut the potato into very thin strips – as thin as you can make them (think of the whole process as a very fine Julienne).  When slicing up the potatoes, lean over the knife so you can see what you are cutting.  Then wash the potatoes in cold water and dry thoroughly as hot oil and water do not mix!  Get a pan of oil up to 180C (or just above) and deep fry the potatoes in batches and we do that for two reasons: Firstly when you add the potatoes to the oil it will foam up and rise, the more you add, the more it rises so if you don’t want a cooker covered in hot oil, do it in small batches and don’t fill the pan more than half way.  Secondly, a large amount of cold potato will lower the oil temperature too much and stop them properly frying.

When deep-frying, remember you have a pot full of hot oil – it can catch fire!  If that happens, stay calm and use a damp towel to put it out.  Never leave the pot unattended, especially around children.

I’ve rounded off the dish with some deep-fried carrots dressed in lemon and thyme, just to add something a little more refreshing.  I could have sautéed the carrots but to save on washing up I quickly deep-fried them.  The lemon just keeps the carrots fresh after frying and the thyme adds an extra flavour to the dish but you could swap it for some fresh tarragon as I think that would better compliment the beef.  I then added a little side of vine ripened tomatoes, I also had some wild rocket to finish the salad but I forgot to plate it, otherwise it would be in the picture.


Ingredients (serves 2):

2 Aged Ribeye Steaks (approx 250g)

5 Large Potatoes (Waxy variety such as Baby New or Charlotte)

4 Carrots

300ml Jim Beam White

100g Granulated Sugar

2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar

1/2 Lemon

125g Vine ripened Tomatoes

Handful of Fresh Thyme / Tarragon

Wild Rocket (enough for a small salad)

Vegetable Oil (for deep-frying)



1.  Start by preparing the potatoes, peel and cut into 2mm thick slices.  Using a mandolin will ensure a consistent thickness.

2.  Stack the potato slices back into their original shape and then carefully slice again into thin strips.  Rinse the potato strips in a sieve then wrap in a tablecloth and dry.

3.  Heat a pot of oil to 180C (use a thermometer or deep fat fryer) then gradually add small amounts of the potato strips in, cook for 3mins or until golden.

4.  Remove from the pot and blot dry on some paper towels.  Sprinkle with a little salt while they are still warm.  They can be used immediately or can be kept for several hours and then reheated in the oven just before use.

5.  Peel and Julienne the carrots, then add to the oil and fry until they just start to colour.  Squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle with thyme.

6.  To prepare the sauce, pour the Jim Beam into a small saucepan and bring to the boil.

7.  Add the sugar to the whiskey and stir until dissolved.

8.  Reduce the sauce until it becomes a thick syrup and then remove from the heat.

9.  Add two teaspoons of red wine vinegar and stir well.  Taste the sauce, if it is still too sweet add another teaspoon and stir, repeat until you have the desired flavour.

10.  Prepare a grill pan and set it to a high heat.  Rub salt into the steaks, particularly the fat.

11.  Cook the steaks as you prefer and allow to rest for at least 10mins.

12.  While the steaks are resting, cut the tomatoes into quarters and plate with some rocket.  Dress simply with a little extra virgin olive oil.

13.  Serve the steaks with the carrots and straw potatoes.  Pour the sauce into small bowls or ramekins to use as a dip or brush it over the steaks as a glaze.



– You can strain and reuse the vegetable oil as it has a long shelf life.

– If you feel the need for a little spice, add some chilli to the Jim Beam sauce for a sticky, sweet and sour chilli dipping sauce.

– If you prefer soft carrots, just fry them for a little longer but I like the crunch of the carrot with the potatoes and meat.

– The straw potatoes only need 3mins, don’t overcook them as they will taste like burnt crisps!

– Try not to leave bits of potato floating in the oil; When it comes to frying the carrots, it might turn the oil rancid.

– If you don’t like the idea of deep-fried carrots, saute them with a little butter and the lemon juice.  Throw in the thyme at the end.

– The Jim Beam glaze also works as an alternative dressing for the salad.

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