The Pioneer Woman Takes Steak Bites To The Next Level With Brown Butter

The Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond, knows a thing or two about feeding hungry cowboys. Not only is she married to a real-life cowboy she refers to as "Marlboro Man," but she's the queen of cooking up a quick weeknight dinner that even picky eaters will enjoy. One of the earliest recipes from the Pioneer Woman blog is steak bites, and these are exactly what they sound like: small, bite-sized pieces of sirloin steak, quickly pan-seared and piled high on a plate. While this quick meal may seem too good — and too easy — to be true, Drummond has a secret weapon that brings out the steak's flavor, no extra ingredients required.

All she uses to make her steak bites is cubed sirloin steak, butter, salt, and pepper. After the steak is seasoned, Drummond heats her butter in a screaming-hot pan, and this is where the magic happens. Drummond allows her butter to totally melt and turn golden brown. Once this occurs, the steak goes in just long enough to be seared before it rests on a plate. The meat is finished with a pour-over of the brown butter and steak juice, which helps bring out its rich, beefy flavor. With so few ingredients, it's the nutty brown butter that truly elevates this dish to restaurant-worthy status.

Brown butter makes everything better

Brown butter is butter that has been heated until it's completely melted and the milk solids are toasted, which turns them a deep golden brown. Combine this with the flavor of fresh steak, and you're left with a salty, savory, umami bomb. Searing a steak on a sizzling pan helps bring about the Maillard reaction, which gives the meat that caramelized, charred flavor. For those who haven't made brown butter before, Drummond offered a few tips in her recipe for Brown Butter Crispies.

She adds her butter to a pan on medium heat and allows it to melt completely before swirling it around for three to four minutes. As soon as the butter starts bubbling up and turning a light golden brown, she removes the pan from the heat. Even if it looks a little blonde, the butter will turn darker as it sits.

For those wanting a unique flavor, Drummond has also shared a recipe for Cowboy Butter that would perfectly accompany her steak bites. This Cowboy Butter is essentially a compound butter with parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic, and lemon. Once the butter has cooled, it can be sliced and served on top of the steak bites.