Red-Eye Chili Gravy Steaks with Cheddar-Chive Polenta

Strong coffee is what makes this gravy a red-eye! 


  • 4 1 1/2-inch-thick strip steaks (about 1 pound each), at room temperature
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (about 1 palmful)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (about 1/3 palmful)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • A few dashes of hot pepper sauce


Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat or pre-heat an outdoor grill to high.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper and, working in batches, cook, turning once, for 8 minutes for medium rare. Let rest.

While the steaks are cooking, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, one turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the chili powder and oregano. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the beef broth, coffee and Worcestershire sauce. Keep warm over low heat.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and chicken broth to a boil. Lower the heat to low and whisk in the polenta. Cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cheese, chives and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper. Cover and remove from the heat.

Pour the gravy over the steaks and serve with the polenta.

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