Valentine’s Day Recipes From Texas Chefs

Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating the love in your life–a special time to be thankful for the ones you cherish most. It’s the one day we make a big effort to treat each other to gifts and (most importantly) food. And as Texans, we know the important role food plays in any celebration.

When it comes to choosing the perfect Valentine’s meal, what could be better than having advice from some of the most acclaimed chefs in the state? Whether you plan on dining out or need inspiration for a stay-at-home meal, we’ve put together a list of chef-approved recipes guaranteed to make you and your date swoon. Choose beef for a sophisticated and special occasion!

Chinese Bar-B- Que Beef (Char Siu)

By: Chef Todd Duplechan, Lenoir

“For Valentine’s Day, even though it may seem corny, I like to go all out and prepare heart-shaped foods, beef hearts or red-colored dishes. It’s a fun celebration, so why not?

This dish is easy — you marinate the beef short ribs overnight in a beet marinade to provide the nice, red color, then put it on the grill like a steak. The marinade has a touch of sweetness but also some umami from the grilling smoke. It reminds me of an Asian-style rib.

I got the beef short ribs from Salt & Time, the bloody butcher grits from Barton Springs Mill (pink in color, made in Spanish/Mexican rice style) and the produce from Boggy Creek Farm. I cooked the grits down with tomato, cumin, onion and red pepper. It’s super easy to make this all-Texas dish.” – Chef Duplechan

3 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. beet juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. ginger, grated
1/2 tsp. garlic, grated
1/4 tsp. Chinese Five-Spice
1 lb. Bone-In Beef Short Ribs, cut into 1/4″ strips (your local butcher should be able to do this)

  1. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients except beef.
  2. Place the beef in a glass casserole dish and pour over the marinade.
  3. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Light the grill and bring it to medium heat.
  5. Remove beef from marinade, shaking off the excess, and grill on both sides for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Reduce the marinade to a glaze on the stove and glaze the beef as it finishes on the grill.

Steak Au Poivre

By: Chef John Tesar, Knife Dallas

“A pan sauce can’t be made completely ahead of time; it requires the cooking of the meat itself to provide the integral flavoring. It’s a classic fundamental technique, though, that should be in every home cook’s arsenal. At Knife, we make the pan sauce from France (poivre is French for “pepper”)–but you can use the technique with shallots, garlic, mustard, cognac, or whatever you want.

You can use any cut of beef you want–but I tailored this recipe for a Flat Iron, as it works perfectly when I’m cooking in a pan at home. At Knife, we use a Strip Steak for steak au poivre and serve it with frites, as the French do at pretty much every bistro. The cracked black pepper is strong, but cooking tempers it, allowing its sweetness to come out and harmonize with the meat.

Pan basting, or poêlé, comes into play here, as we like to get the salt and pepper that came into the pan on the steak back into the butter. As a rule, I only use butter because
of how the fat distributes the heat and binds with the meat juices. Also, I only make pan sauces in the stainless-steel pan, because it’s nonreactive and clean. I would not suggest making the sauce in the carbon steel pan, because the heat is a little too intense and can burn the ingredients.

While the beef rests, use the same pan to make the sauce, making sure to pour out the fat before serving the sauce. Some people like to finish the sauce with butter, but I’m getting more health conscious these days, so I skip it. I’ve given instructions for cooking a single steak, but the sauce recipe makes enough for 4-6. If you’re not going to use it all at once, the sauce will keep for two days, covered, in the refrigerator, and can be reheated gently over low heat.” – Chef Tesar

Flat Iron steak, 10 oz.
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp. butter
1 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 heaping Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup bordelaise sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus 1-2 Tbsp. additional, if needed
1 Tbsp. ground peppercorns in brine, drained (optional)

  1. Season steak evenly on both sides with 1/2 tsp. of the salt and 1/2 tsp. of the pepper.
  2. In a stainless-steel pan over very high heat, cook the butter until brown. In French cooking, it’s called noisette, which means “hazelnut”. That’s the color you want the butter to be.
  3. Place the steak in the pan and make sure the entire surface makes contact with the butter. Cook the steak 4-5 minutes, basting the beef once or twice with the juices and fat in the pan. Turn the steak and cook the other side. Using a digital thermometer, test the beef; you want it to read between 125-128°F. Put beef on a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes for a perfectly medium-rare steak.
  4. Pour out the butter and fat, leaving brown bits behind.
  5. Add the coarsely ground black pepper and mustard to the pan and whisk to combine, picking up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add brandy and pull the pan off heat (unless you like high drama). Turn flame to very low and whisk in bordelaise sauce until you have a homogenous sauce.
  6. Whisk in the heavy cream; the sauce should be a light brown. Add the remaining 1/8 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper, and whisk to combine.
  7. If using green peppercorns, stir to combine. Turn heat to medium and let the sauce cook. It should bubble a little around the edges of the pan, but shouldn’t boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. If sauce gets too dark, you can whisk another Tbsp. or two of cream.
  8. Slice the steak and place on a plate. Pour the sauce over and serve.

Tomahawk Steak with Texas Hill Country Wine-Persimmon Sauce

By: Chef Hugo Ortega, Backstreet, Hugo’s, Caracol, Xochi

“I like to cook the Tomahawk at home because it is always dramatic and impressive, but also shareable, which is fun for Valentine’s Day. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this steak — so juicy and tender, and it goes great with the Texas red wine sauce. If you don’t like grits, you can serve with mashed potatoes or cauliflower puree instead.” – Chef Ortega

Tomahawk Steak
1 Tomahawk Steak (30-34 oz.)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Texas Hill Country Wine-Persimmon Sauce
1 tsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. shallots, diced
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup persimmons, diced
1 cup Bellissimo Texas red wine
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 Tbsp. chili flakes
Cheese Grits
1 cup stone-ground yellow grits
2 cups water
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. dry crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups Brussels sprouts leaves
Pinch salt

  1. Preheat oven at 375°F. Rub steak with salt and black pepper evenly, pressing the
    seasoning into the beef with your hand. Let the steak come to room temperature. Heat a
    cast iron skillet over high heat, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and heat until it just starts to smoke.
    Sear the steak for 3-4 minutes on each side or until it isa nice golden brown, crusted
    surface. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, place the skillet in the oven and roast the
    steak for 15-20 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Let rest 5-8 minutes before
  2. Preheat small sauce pan over medium heat, add oil and heat. Add shallots and cook for 30
    seconds; add garlic and cook for 10 seconds. Add persimmons and cook for 2 minutes. Add
    red wine, Dijon, brown sugar, thyme and chili flakes and bring to simmer; reduce heat to
    low and reduce sauce by half. Allow to cool down. Sauce can be served warm or room
  3. Preheat large saucepan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add grits and whisk in water.
    Continue whisking until grits are just cooked, about 10-12 minutes. Add cheeses and
    butter and cook 1 more minute, constantly stirring. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat. If
    grits are too thick, add heavy cream or water to loosen the texture.
  4. Place parsley, cilantro, garlic, thyme, oregano, crushed red pepper, 1/2 cup olive oil, red
    wine, white wine and salt in blender and blend for two minutes; set aside.
  5. Preheat skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and heat. Add Brussels sprout
    leaves and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 3 Tbsp. of blended herb, mix well cook for 1 minute
    more. Season to taste.
  6. To plate: For presentation, we suggest slicing the meat (against the grain) into 6 slices in
    the kitchen, then arranging the tomahawk bone and meat on a serving platter in their
    natural shape/location (to make it look like the steak is intact). Place 2 oz. of sauce on the left portion of each plate, and the grits and Brussels sprouts on the
    right side of the plate. Place the plates on the table, and then present the Tomahawk platter.
    Serve meat while seated, placing beef on top of the sauce. Enjoy!

Dry-Rubbed Hanger Steak with Chili Pequin Au Poivre & Carrot Arugula Salad

By: Chef Steve McHugh, Cured
With the 300th anniversary of San Antonio coming up, Steve has been making subtle nods to historical San Antonio ingredients and traditions. Chili Pequins are one of those ingredients. He wants to create the classic au Poivre sauce but replace black peppercorns with chili pequins. Why Hanger Steak? At Cured, Chef McHugh buys whole cows and is proud to use every last bit of each cow. He wanted to select an unconventional cut for your Valentine’s Day special. 

Chili Pequin Au Poivre Sauce
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped shallots
2 oz. bourbon
4 Tbsp. pickled chili pequin
2 cups veal stock or broth
1 Tbsp. stoneground mustard
1 tsp. ground black pepper
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
Carrot & Arugula Salad
1 lb. baby carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1/2 lb. arugula
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 individual grapefruits
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Hanger Steak
3 lbs. Hanger Steak
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

  1. Add the olive oil to a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat and let heat for 1 minute. Add the
    shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the bourbon; add the chili pequins, and sauté for 1
    minute (be careful not to breath in the fumes from the peppers). Add the veal stock and reduce until
    one-third remains. Add the mustard, black pepper, and heavy cream and reduce by another third. Finish
    with the salt and sugar.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Blanch the carrots until tender,
    about 1.5 minutes. Strain carrots and allow them to cool. Segment the grapefruit over a bowl to catch
    the juices. Keep the segments and juice separate (You should have about 4 Tbsp. of juice when
    complete). Mix the olive oil with the grapefruit juice to create your vinaigrette. Mix the arugula, carrots
    and grapefruit segments and dress with vinaigrette.
  3. Season the hanger steak with salt and pepper. Grill the steak to the desired temperature (I prefer
    medium-rare). Allow the steak to rest for 4 minutes before slicing. Slice the steak against the grain and
    enjoy with the salad and sauce.