- 1 small ancho chile—stemmed, seeded and halved lengthwise
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2/3 cup light cream
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Freshly ground pepper
- Four 1/2 -pound rib-eye steaks, about 3/8 inch thick
- 1/2 cup water
- Heat a small heavy skillet. Using a spatula, press the chile into the skillet, skin side down, and toast over moderately high heat until beginning to blister, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the cumin seeds to the skillet and toast just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add to the chile.
- Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the chile into small pieces and transfer to a saucepan. Add the cumin, cream, oregano and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until reduced to about 1/2 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain the sauce, return it to the saucepan and keep warm.
- Sprinkle 2 large cast-iron skillets with a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt each and heat until almost smoking. Add the steaks and cook over high heat until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to dinner plates. Add 1/4 cup of water to each skillet, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until the liquid in each skillet is reduced to 1 tablespoon. Pour the pan drippings into the cream sauce, spoon over the steaks and serve.
These rich steaks call for a deeply flavored California Cabernet Sauvignon.