First order of business: please forgive this picture. I took it at night and I realize the lighting is horrible. This, believe it or not, is the best of the bunch. I deemed it “just barely shareable.”
Moving on, we saw some beef on sale at the grocery stores — mock tenders — and bought them because they were so cheap. Sale or not, this is generally a cheap cut of beef. I’d never heard of them before, but it turns out they go by a bunch of other names, like shoulder tender, chuck fillet, petite fillet, chuck clod tender, tender medallions, and beef medallions. I like to think of them as baby steaks since they’re about 4″ across. They look like this:
And let me tell you, this cut is actually pretty tough if you don’t treat it right. It benefits from a long, slow cooking time and a wet cooking method like stewing or braising. I let it go for a little under 2 hours before it was tender enough to pull apart with a fork.
I am relieved that I didn’t accidentally set my kitchen on fire when I was making this dish. I had gotten everything simmering and and there was an hour of cooking time left when I needed to go pick Matt up from work. So I took a gamble; I set the gas stove on the lowest possible flame, I turned the exhaust fan up to the highest setting, and I ran out of the apartment quickly. I sped like a madwoman on the highway to and from his office and I made it back in record time. Thank god there was no billowing smoke or firetrucks parked outside when we got back. The tenders were happily simmering along as if nothing had happened. Whew! Crisis averted!