This is another one of those homey dishes that is inspired by my mother, Mama Bacon. Although I am Italian, through and through, this dish takes on a very English or Polish/Ukrainian feel that has become a staple at home and one of my personal favourites. Eastern European food has the tendency to be very bland in appearance, but more than compensates with flavour and wholesomeness. This dish is all that and more.

I paired the steak with, what else but, potatoes (Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes) and peas (Peas with Mushrooms and Bacon). The onions and wine give the juice created by the steak an extremely round, full flavour without being heavy and thick like traditional gravy. Think of it more as an “au Jus”. The potatoes mop up the juice really well, as you should already know. The thyme serves to brighten up the dark flavours a bit and yield a beautifully balanced meal.

Ingredients:

1 lb Maple Leaf Bacon

3 Large Sirloin Steaks

6-7 Red Onions

4-6 Yukon Gold Potatoes

2 cans Sweet Peas

1½ cups Portobello Mushroom

1 cup White wine

½ cup Chicken Stock

3 tbsp Fresh Thyme

2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 cup Milk

¼ cup Sour Cream

1½ tbsp Butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Serves 4-6

Directions

1. Like always, let’s get our prep out of the way. Peel and cut up your potatoes, dice one of your red onions and cut the remaining onions into slices. I like a LOT of onions with this dish. You can also grate your cheddar at this point. You’ll want to cut up your steak into pieces that are about the size of a business card. If the steaks are really thick, you can butterfly them. This makes them easier to fry… and to eat.

2. The potatoes will take the longest. They will also require the least attention, so let’s throw them all in a pot, cover with cold water and leave to boil until they are tender and cooked through. It doesn’t really matter if they are overcooked, because we’re going to mash them up, but don’t under-cook them. Nobody likes super lumpy mashed potatoes.

3. In a large wok, fry all of your bacon and set it aside once it’s done. Do NOT get rid of the rendered bacon fat. This is the mother-load of flavour. Pour a little bit of that fat into a separate pan. You should have about 16-20 strips of bacon. Chop half of them into tiny pieces and you can either cut the other half into 1cm square pieces, or even leave them whole. You’ll see later where you’re putting them so you can decide what you want to do.

4. In the pan where you put some of the bacon fat, add the single diced onion and fry ‘em up. Do this until it is soft, the flavour has completely mellowed and has almost started to brown. Add your mushrooms and fry until they have released all their water and finally stir in the peas and half of your finely chopped bacon. Be careful when you’re stirring in the peas, they smush really easily! You’re basically just heating the peas so you can take everything off the heat, put a lid on and leave it on the back burner. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper!

5. Throw your pieces of steak into the wok containing the majority of bacon fat. Fry these on high to brown the outsides. You don’t want to fully cook the steak at this point. Once both sides are browned, remove them from the pan into a bowl.

6. Throw all of your sliced onions into the wok and put the lid on. We’re gonna let these sweat, soften and mellow. This might take a while since there a lot of onions. Stir them every couple minutes so that they don’t burn.

7. Once all the onions have softened, add your steak back in, your wine and your chicken stock. Add your thyme, your whole or roughly chopped bacon and season with salt and lots of pepper. Put the lid back on and let it do its thing.

8. Your potatoes should be ready by now, so strain them out, and mash them up with your butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, the reminder of the finely chopped bacon and warm milk. I’ve been converted to whipping my potatoes with a hand mixer – they come out remarkably smooth and fluffy.

9. Take your steak and bacon off the heat and into a large bowl. If you so desire, you can remove all the contents from the pan with a slotted spoon and thicken the remaining wine/stock/juice with butter and flour, but I don’t think it’s necessary since your mashed potatoes are already quite rich.

Don’t forget your breath mints!