Earthy spices and the mellow licorice flavor of fennel add an extra savory dimension to everyone’s favorite meat and potatoes. Pair with California Cabernet Sauvignon or Petite Sirah.
2 teaspoons (10ml) chili powder
1 teaspoon (5ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon (5ml) sugar
1 teaspoon (5ml) paprika
1 teaspoon (5ml) dried oregano leaves, finely crushed
1 teaspoon (5ml) dry mustard
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10ml) salt, divided
2 (1-pound/450g) T-bone steaks, each 1 inch (2.5cm) thick
3 medium russet or other starchy baking potatoes (about 1½ pounds/675g), peeled and cut into thirds
3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons (45ml) half and half or light cream
3 tablespoons (45ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 fennel bulb (about 8 ounces/225g), stems removed, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced lengthwise
Mix the chili powder, black pepper, sugar, paprika, oregano, dry mustard, cumin, and 1 teaspoon (5ml) of the salt.
Coat the steaks on both sides with the spice mix and set aside at room temperature.
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover them by 2 inches (5cm). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan, off heat. Add the butter, half and half, and the 1 remaining teaspoon (5ml) of salt. Mash with a large whisk or potato masher until the ingredients are thoroughly combined but still lumpy.
Heat 1 tablespoon (15ml) of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the fennel slices; cook and stir until they are slightly browned and tender, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Stir the fennel into the potatoes.
In the same skillet, heat 1 more tablespoon (15ml) of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Spread the potatoes evenly in the pan. Cook undisturbed for 6 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Turn the potatoes over, one section at a time, and cook for 6 more minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pan from heat and cover it to keep the potatoes warm.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Heat the 1 remaining tablespoon (15ml) of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the steaks and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Place the skillet in the oven and roast the steaks for 6 minutes for medium rare to medium. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the steaks to a serving platter. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
To serve, slice the steaks into strips and divide them among 4 plates. Spoon the potatoes next to the steak.