Pumpkin-spice suits more than just coffee, brings flavor as a dry rub to steaks

It’s everywhere. No matter where you turn or what direction you look, it’s everywhere. It’s all over TV. It’s all over social media. It’s all people can see when they go to the grocery store. It can be found in every restaurant and fast food joint. No matter how much you may try to avoid it, resistance is futile.

I’m not talking about politics. I’m not talking about the latest viral TikTok. I’m not even talking about a certain illness you may have heard of. The one thing that is completely unavoidable this time of year is so divisive, people get in arguments about it. Some people love it and wish it was around all year. Some others hate it so much, the mere thought of it being a part of their lives sickens them. I hope what I am describing is obvious by now. I am of course referring to the ubiquitous fall item: pumpkin spice.

A quick Google search of pumpkin spice reveals a litany of products designed to bring out the autumn-lover in everyone. The pumpkin spice products range from the expected: lattes, teas and baked goods. To the unexpected: Pop-Tarts, covered pretzels and Cheerios. To the downright bizarre: Chapstick, Pringles, hummus, Twinkies, toothpaste, beard oil, deodorant and dog treats.

While I tend to sit on the fence in the pumpkin spice debate, I can certainly understand why some people look forward to pumpkin spice season as much as they do a visit to the dentist. There are some things that can really benefit from the addition of the pumpkin spice flavors, but I think we can all agree that things have gone too far.

We see it everywhere, but what is it? It’s not like there is a pumpkin spice plant growing somewhere in a large corporate greenhouse. The spices in question have long been consumed by lovers of flavors all over the world, both sweet and savory. In my humble chef opinion, pumpkin spice should be made of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves. Those spices are all now mostly associated with pumpkin spice, but they have been used for many savory purposes in the past.

With the addition of a few carefully selected spices, we can take pumpkin pie spice and make it into a delicious savory rub for anything from steaks to pork or even vegetables. For our recipe today, we are going to make a rub for steaks, so we will add some cayenne for some heat, along with some curry powder, coriander, garlic powder, ground mustard, and of course salt and pepper.

This rub will help to provide the familiar and comforting flavors or pumpkin pie spice for those who love it, while adding some bold additional flavors to spice things up for those that aren’t pumpkin spice obsessed.

So try this recipe out at home, and you can join the pumpkin spice craze in a safe way for non-pumpkin spice lovers. It’s a way better idea than switching to pumpkin spice toothpaste. Cheers!

Pumpkin-Spice-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves: 4

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Dry rub

2 tablespoons ground ginger

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground mustard

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 six-ounce flat iron steaks (or another steak of your choice)

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and large diced

1 small Spanish onion, large diced

1 small red bell pepper, large diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine all of the spices and brown sugar in a large bowl and use a whisk to thoroughly combine.

In another large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, peppers, onions and garlic. Season the potatoes with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the spice blend. Arrange the potato mixture on an oven-safe roasting pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly caramelized and tender.

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, heat a large, heavy-bottom sauté pan over medium-high heat. Remove the steaks from their packaging, and arrange on a tray covered with paper towels to absorb moisture on the outside of the steak. Liberally season all sides of the steak with the rub.

Add ¼ cup of olive oil to the pan. Carefully place the steaks in the hot pan, making sure to set the steaks down away from you to avoid oil splatter. Sear until golden brown, flip to the other side and repeat.

Once the steaks are seared on both sides, turn off the pan and transfer the steaks to an oven-safe baking sheet. Finish the steaks in the oven until the steak reaches your desired doneness; 130 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare is recommended.

Allow the steak to rest, covered with foil, for about 5 minutes. Serve with the potatoes and enjoy!


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