Steak Frites & Cabernet Thyme Gravy. A French bistro comfort food classic

Steak Frites with Cabernet Thyme Gravy. A French bistro comfort food classic, elevated by an incredibly flavourful gravy. Tips for perfect fries, too. This year we’ve made this the centerpiece of our Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu for Two.

Steak Frites close up photo of single serving on white plate

Steak Frites with Cabernet Thyme Gravy

Okay, so steak frites is just steak and french fries, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is when you experience both of these things done to absolute perfection.

If a restaurant has Steak Frites on the menu, it is one of those things by which the establishment and the skill of the chef can be judged. Producing a perfectly cooked juicy steak and uniform thin crispy fries is something every good chef should be able to do with ease.

Steak Frites is practically a national institution in both France and Belgium where the steak is often served with a rich butter based sauce like Hollandaise or Béarnaise. Here I’ve sort of North Americanized it with a rich gravy instead of sauce.

Steak Frites close up photo of cut steak showing medium rare interior

Steak Frites with Cabernet Thyme Gravy

Still with a nod to the French though, the gravy has a delicious addition of cabernet sauvignon wine. You can share the rest of the bottle with your other half at dinner.

A great steak dinner can be a pricy thing, so this Valentine’s day, I decided to feature this recipe for those of you who would like to treat your sweetheart without breaking the bank.

Steak Frites on a white plate with green beans, gravy and a glass of beer in the background

Steak Frites with Cabernet Thyme Gravy

If you can perfect your own technique for making the perfect Steak Frites you can enjoy this meal at a small fraction of the cost of a restaurant visit.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Please check out the other two courses in our Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu:

Valentine's Day Dinner Menu

Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu featuring Steak Frites

Lemon Dijon Moules Marinières – Lemon Dijon Steamed Mussels

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce

Steak Frites with Cabernet Thyme Gravy photo collage with title text for Pinterest

Like this Steak Frites recipe?

Find other dinner ideas for treating your sweetheart in our Valentine’s Day Recipes Category.

You may also want to check out another complete Valentine’s Day Menu by clicking the photo below:

Sweetheart Valentine's Day Dinner Menu

Sweetheart Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu

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Prep Time:
30 minutes

Cook Time:
40 minutes

Total Time:
1 hour 10 minutes

Steak Frites with Cabernet Thyme Gravy – a French bistro comfort food classic, elevated by an incredibly flavourful gravy. Tips for perfect fries, too.


For the Cabernet Thyme Gravy

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 2 cloves small garlic finely minced

  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cups low sodium beef stock

  • a pinch of salt to season

  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ tsp dry thyme

  • ½ cup cabernet sauvignon wine or other dry red wine

For the fries

  • 3 large or 4 medium size russet potatoes

  • 1 liter of canola oil

  • kosher salt for seasoning

For the Steaks

  • 2 inches thick-cut rib eye or strip loin steaks (1 ¼ or 3-4 cm thick)

  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

  • 1 tbsp canola oil (if pan searing the steaks)


To prepare the Cabernet thyme gravy

    • Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the minced garlic. Sauté the garlic in the butter for only a minute or so, just to soften it.
    • Sprinkle in the flour and cook until it gets slightly foamy, about another minute. Pour in the beef stock, whisking constantly. Add the salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a gentle simmer until the gravy begins to thicken.
    • Whisk in the red wine and simmer very slowly until the gravy reaches a thin, sauce-like consistency. Keep warm in a double boiler while the steaks and fries are being prepared.

    To prepare the fries

      • The best, most crispy fries are always cooked in two stages at 2 different temperatures. Plan to have the first stage of cooking completed and then do the final crisp cooking of the frites as your steaks rest.
      • Wash or peel your potatoes and cut them into fries. The size of the fries is up to you but shoestring size, about ¼ inch square ( 6-7 mm ) always maximizes the crispy flavor that complements the steak.
      • Keep the fries in room temperature or lukewarm water until ready to fry. Lay them out on layers of paper towels and pat dry with additional paper towels before frying.
      • Add the canola oil to the deep fryer and bring it to 350 degrees Fry the potato sticks until just beginning to crisp but not brown.; about 6-8 minutes for shoestring fries.
      • Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. These fries will likely go limp as they cool. This is perfectly normal. They will re-crisp in the second fry. Turn off the deep fryer until ready to fry again.
      • In the last few minutes of cooking time on your steaks, bring the oil up to 375 degrees F in the deep fryer. This way, you will be ready to do the final fry on the fries as the rest of the steaks.
      • Fry for an additional 6-8 minutes or until the fries begin to turn a light golden brown and become quite crispy. Remove from oil and toss with a pinch of kosher salt to season them before serving with the steak, gravy and some buttered green beans if you like.

      To prepare the steaks

        • Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before searing or grilling. It is much more difficult to cook a very cold steak to the desired internal temperature you prefer, than one that is at or near room temperature..
        • Generously season both sides and the edges of the steak with salt and pepper.
        • Cook to medium rare, or your desired internal temperature, on a hot, pre-heated gas grill or pan sear in a cast iron pan with the canola oil. As a guide, about 4 minutes per side will produce a medium rare steak.
        • Use a meat thermometer for the most accurate cooking results for steak. Internal temperature for rare is about 50 degrees C (120 to 125 degrees F), for medium rare 55 degrees C (130 to 135 degrees F) and well done should not exceed 70 degrees C (160 degrees F).
        • It is always important to rest the steaks for 10 minutes under a loose tent of aluminum foil before serving. This allows for residual cooking and for the natural juices to settle back into the meat. While the steaks rest, you can complete the second fry on the frites.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving
Calories 1190Total Fat 66gSaturated fat 27gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated fat 33gCholesterol 277 mgSodium 1213 mgCarbohydrates 55gFiber 6gSugar 3gProtein 82g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values ​​per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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