So often when I’m making dinner, I’m also learning. I’m testing out a new cooking technique, trying a new-to-me flavor combination, or learning to use spices or condiments in a fresh way.

My husband loves that I work in food. He’s the first to say that he has benefited from my job since my days in cooking school when I’d come home with pints of onion soup, a loaf of challah or scoops of cassoulet. (We often recall the year I decided to perfect pralines and that resulted in almost every surface in our apartment being covered with the trays laden with various iterations.)

But sometimes he just wants something familiar and simple, so this little dish will be my Valentine’s Day treat for him this year. The beauty of making it for the midweek romantic holiday is that it barely requires a recipe and takes about 30 minutes to throw together. Still, somehow, it feels festive.

I tested this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen before writing this, but it took only one run-through because it is simply seared steak and roasted potatoes with the bonus of a spicy horseradish sauce.

First, to make sure the timing works, buy small potatoes no more than about 2 inches in diameter. Slice those little spuds in half, rub them with oil and place them, cut side down, on a sheet pan. Then slip that pan into a very hot oven until the potatoes are tender with golden and crisp bottoms.

While the potatoes cook, whip up that horseradish sauce by mixing the condiment with sour cream, salt and pepper. Use refrigerated prepared horseradish, if you can find it, because it contains fewer preservatives and additives, the folks at ATK say.


Finally, sear the steak tips on all sides in a bit of oil brought almost to smoking in a hot, hot skillet.

If you like, you can add a sprinkling of chives or chopped parsley to the plate. Serve the steak and potatoes with a lightly dressed green salad and a bottle of red wine for a dinner worthy of a steakhouse – at a fraction of what it would cost. Then dig in, together.

Roast the potatoes until they are golden and crisp on the bottom. Photo by Rey Lopez for The Washington Post

Seared Steak Tips with Potatoes and Horseradish Cream

30 minutes

4 servings

This simple meat-and-potatoes supper offers a little something extra in a creamy horseradish sauce. The potatoes are sliced and then roasted cut-side down until crisped on the edges. Serve with a medium-bodied red wine and a green salad, if you like.


Make Ahead: The horseradish sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate the steak and sauce separately for up to 4 days.


1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold or baby red potatoes, unpeeled and halved

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or another neutral oil, divided

1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt, divided


3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more for serving

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup prepared horseradish

2 pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Remove the meat from the refrigerator to take the chill off.


On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Arrange the potatoes cut side down and roast for 25 minutes, or until they are tender and the bottoms are golden.

While the potatoes are roasting, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, horseradish, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

After the potatoes have been roasting for 10 minutes, pat the steak dry and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering and almost smoking. Add the steak tips and sear until well browned on all sides and the meat registers about 125 degrees (for medium rare), about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a serving platter, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Add a generous smear of horseradish cream to each plate, and divide the steak and potatoes among the plates. Sprinkle freshly cracked pepper over the dish, if desired. Serve any remaining horseradish cream at the table.

Nutrition information per serving (3 pieces of steak, 1 cup potatoes, 2 tablespoons cream) | Calories: 548; Total Fat: 24 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 176 mg; Sodium: 940 mg; Carbohydrates: 33 g; Dietary Fiber: 4 g; Sugar: 6 g; Protein: 57 g

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