You could buy your sweetheart the traditional box of chocolate-covered cherries for Valentine’s Day or you can take it up a notch. This may seem like an odd flavor combination for a savory dish, but it works beautifully with red meat. Use sirloin for a leaner and slightly healthier option. The chocolate dry rub makes it extra luscious, and the cherry wine sauce makes it rich with just the right amount of sweetness.

2 Servings


  • 1 premium sirloin steak (1–1 1/2 pounds, 1–1 1/2-inches thick)
  • 1 Tbsp good-quality cocoa powder 
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper 
  • 2 Tbsps butter 


  • 1 shallot – peeled and thinly sliced 
  • 1 garlic clove – smashed 
  • 1 sprig rosemary 
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cherries – pitted, plus more to garnish 
  • 1 Tbsp butter 
  • Flaky sea salt

Prepare the Steak

Take the steak out of the refrigerator and pat it dry with paper towels. Combine cocoa powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper on a large plate. Cover all sides of the steak with the dry rub, and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat a large cast iron skillet in the oven at the highest temperature (480F–500F). Let the oven come to full temperature, then remove the pan with an oven mitt. Put it over high heat on the stovetop for 2–3 minutes or until smoking. Melt 2 Tbsps butter in the skillet and coat the bottom. Continue using the oven mitt since the skillet will be very hot.

Transfer the steak to the skillet. Avoid moving it so it forms a crust. Cook it on each side for 1 minute, then flip it one more time and transfer the skillet back to the oven. Let it cook for 3–4 minutes (medium-rare to medium). Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the steak to a cutting board and cover with foil until ready to cut and serve. 

Prepare the Sauce

Put the same pan with the drippings over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Add the shallot and let cook until soft. Add the garlic, rosemary, wine, and sugar; then lightly scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to release some of the browned bits. Bring the sauce to a boil and let it continue cooking for 3–4 minutes. Add the cherries, and continue cooking another 3–4 minutes until it’s reduced to have the original volume. Remove from heat and swirl in the butter and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed.


Slice the steak and place on a platter. Top with the cherry sauce and finish with flaky sea salt.

Reginelli Recommends: Edge Cabernet Sauvignon 

Edge is a medium-bodied cab with notes of chocolate, black cherries, and sweet spice. It goes down smoothly for a sexy Valentine’s night. $27.99.

See Wine Enthusiast Mary Catherine Reginelli at Pyramid Wines & Spirits., 901.578.2773.


Andrea LeTard is the creator and author of Andrea’s Cooktales, an heirloom cookbook being released Spring 2018. She is also a personal chef, small party caterer, and cooking instructor. Andrea has been featured on Cooking Channel, Today Show, and Local Memphis Live. She was chosen as a Top 100 Contestant on MasterChef Season 6. Her recipes are “next-generation southern”—fun and fundamentally southern with a modern twist. Follow Andrea on Facebook, Instagram (@andreas_cooktales), and her video blog series at