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GOOD COOKING

Steak and Bake

October 20, 1994|ABBY MANDEL

There are two great aspects to family dinners--togetherness and home-cooked food. Many families have their own favorite family-dinner dishes; so does ours.

Baked steak used to be one of those main dishes reserved for family dinners, especially Sunday-night suppers. Basically, it's a thick sirloin or T-bone steak that is well seasoned, quickly seared by broiling and then baked with a topping of seasoned-up ketchup, sliced onion and green pepper. The steak bakes until medium rare with a delicious flavor and exceptional juiciness. More than that, it bakes without much attention from the cook and can be completely set up in advance.

To balance today's steak plate, consider the recipe for a tasty grain pilaf of bulgur wheat and rice with mixed vegetables. No need to overload on the steak. If you prefer something simpler than the pilaf, buttered noodles (even macaroni) or baked potatoes work well. A green Romaine salad with robust dressing completes the dinner menu.

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Streusel pear kuchen with fresh ginger is a homey dessert that always hits the mark.

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The success of this recipe depends on a top - quality 1 1/2-inch - thick sirloin or T-bone steak. The steak can be seasoned and the sauce made ahead, refrigerating both until the final cooking just before dinner. Alternately, the steak can be seared and refrigerated overnight with the sauce spread over it.

FAMILY BAKED STEAK

3/4 teaspoon minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (1 1/2-inch-thick) sirloin or T-bone steak, about 2 3/4 pounds, well trimmed of all fat on outer edge

Ketchup Sauce

In small bowl combine garlic, pepper and salt. Rub over entire surface of steak. Place steak in plastic food bag, seal tightly and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.

Remove steak from plastic food bag and place on shallow broiling pan. Sear steak on both sides under hot broiler 4 inches from flame, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to 2-quart shallow baking dish.

Pour Ketchup Sauce over steak. Steak can be baked immediately or refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Bake steak on center oven rack at 375 degrees 30 minutes, basting midway with juices that collect in bottom of dish. Use sharp knife to cut through steak and to check for medium rare. If steak requires more cooking, lower temperature to 325 degrees and continue cooking until meat is cooked as desired, basting once.

Remove from oven. Allow to stand 10 minutes. Slice and serve with sauce spooned over top. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving, with Ketchup Sauce, contains about:

397 calories; 779 mg sodium; 104 mg cholesterol; 24 grams fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 31 grams protein; 0.25 gram fiber.

Ketchup Sauce

1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced

1 green pepper, cored, quartered and thinly sliced

1 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Dash Louisiana-style hot sauce

Freshly ground pepper

Combine onion, pepper, ketchup, Worcestershire, cumin, hot sauce and ground pepper in 1-quart saucepan. Simmer gently until onion and green pepper are cooked through, about 7 minutes.

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Rice perks up the texture and appearance of the bulgur wheat, a brown grain with a tender texture. Bulgur wheat consists of wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried and crushed.

BULGUR WHEAT AND RICE PILAF

1 tablespoon oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

1/3 cup chopped carrots

3/4 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup bulgur wheat

1/2 cup rice

2 2/3 to 3 cups low-salt chicken broth

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add onions, carrots and celery. Cook until very hot and fragrant, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Add bulgur wheat, rice and 2 2/3 cups broth. Bring to boil. Simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and grains are tender, about 15 minutes. Add remaining broth, if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pilaf can be made day ahead and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before reheating. Reheat, covered, in 350-degree oven until hot, about 20 minutes, adding water if pilaf becomes too dry. Alternately, gently reheat in microwave oven. Adjust seasonings to taste. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about:

168 calories; 326 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 32 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.76 gram fiber.

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Here, fall pears take center stage in a baked dessert that looks like a tart but is much easier to prepare. The dough is patted into the pan, no rolling necessary. Be sure that the pears are ripe but firm, not squishy. You may have to leave them out on the counter for a day or two. Rock-hard pears will not become tender in this recipe.

STREUSEL PEAR KUCHEN WITH FRESH GINGER

1 1/4 cups flour

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut in 6 pieces

3 tablespoons sour cream

1/4 cup light-brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

2 teaspoons molasses

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 ripe but firm medium pears, peeled, cored, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

Custard Filling

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