Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the February issue of Kodu ja Aed magazine.
Time for another Estonian classic! There are two lovely-sounding dishes in Estonia, kooreklops and sibulaklops. The first one is pan-fried steak simmered in creamy gravy, the other is the kooreklops with a generous amount of fried onions. I've come across recipes for those dishes in Estonian cookbooks from almost a century ago, and they're still popular among Estonian home cooks. They've obviously stood the test of time.
The creamy gravy, thickened with flour and seasoned with smetana or sour cream (crème fraîche would work in a pinch) is an important element of the dish, and makes it different from your regular pan-fried steak and onions.
Cooked potatoes, potato mash, cauliflower or green vegetables would all work as a side dish.
Pan-fried steak and onions
600-800 g good-quality beef (boneless sirloin steak, entrecôte)
oil and butter, for frying
4 to 5 large onions
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
500 ml (2 cups) beef bouillon or water
100 - 150 g smetana/sour cream/crème fraîche
Cut the beef into 1 cm (just under half an inch) slices, then gently pat them thinner, trying to give them an oblong oval shape. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the beef slices and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Transfer the meat onto a place and put aside.
If neccessary, add another spoonful of butter onto the skillet. Add flour and cook for a minute, stirring carefully. Now and the hot bouillon or water and stir, until you've got a thin gravy. Return the meat into the pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the meat is cooked. NB! If you're not using proper beef ("lihaveis" in Estonian), but meat from a dairy cow, the meat will require considerably longer time to reach the tender stage, so to test for doneness.
When beef is tender, then use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan and keep warm on a plate, covered with a piece of foil.
Add the sour cream to the sauce, cook for a few minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions. Peel the onions, halve lengthwise and then cut into thin slices. Melt another spoonful of butter and a spoonful of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
To serve: spoon the gravy onto a plate, top with a slice or two of beef and garnish with a very generous amount of fried onions. It is an onion steak after all :)
Sibulaklops on other foodblogs:
Tuuli @ Ise tehtud, hästi tehtud (recipe in Estonian)