Thursday, January 6, 2011

Herb Crusted Steak with Wine and Mushroom Reduction

Some things are just meant to go together: peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, Oreos and milk, Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippin. You get the idea. And near the top of this perfect pairing list, or possibly at the top depending on who you ask, is steak and red wine. The two are just meant to be consumed together. They are both delicious in their own right, don't get me wrong. But something magical happens when they are together. The steak draws out the earthy richness of the wine while the wine elevates the buttery, melt in your mouth quality of a good steak. Add a simple mushroom sauce to the steak and you have all sorts of umami going on in your mouth. There is something incredibly satisfying about flavors that are so connected to the Earth. No one wants their food to actually taste like dirt, of course, but hearty earthy flavors have some of the same soul-satisfying qualities as getting your hands dirty planting a garden or building something. Not that I do much of either of those things - although I will have a vegetable garden one of these days! - I can imagine what that would feel like. So for now, I'll get my soul satisfaction through delicious steak paired with the perfect glass of red wine.
However delicious steak and red wine may be, it's not the sort of thing I would want to eat every day. (Gavin might disagree but that's another story.) Part of its appeal, for me at least, is that steak is a special occasion sort of thing. I'm not talking about beef in general, or meat for that matter, but really good steak deserves special attention. This year for our Christmas Eve dinner, I made my family Filet Mignon with red wine and mushroom sauce paired with an excellent Bordeaux from the St. Emilion region. Chateau Rocher Corbin produces a delicious red wine full of rich flavors, blending Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The dark and earthy berry flavors went perfectly with the steaks, seasoned with fresh rosemary and thyme. Although this meal is definitely worthy of a special occasion, it isn't at all difficult to prepare. A few really good quality ingredients will do most of the work for you. And feel free to ask a friendly wine person (at Wine Authorities perhaps?) for suggestions on a perfect pairing for your steak meal.

Herb Crusted Steak with Wine and Mushroom Reduction (serves 4)

  • 4 x 6 oz Filet Mignon (or your preferred cut of beef or size of steak)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 12 oz sliced mushrooms (I prefer cremini but button also works)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (something you would drink, but save the really good stuff for the meal)
Pat steaks dry and allow to come to room temperature before cooking; cold meat = tough meat.
Heat oil in a large pan or grill pan over medium to medium high heat.
Season steaks liberally with salt and pepper. Combine fresh herbs and divide among the four steaks. Press the herbs into the meat to stick.
Sear the first side of the steak for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, medium-low and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Flip the steaks and continue cooking till desired doneness. For medium rare, the steak should be about 125-130F.
After you have flipped the steaks, add the onions to the pan to begin sauteing while the meat finishes cooking.
Remove the steaks when they are done and allow to rest while finishing the sauce.
Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute for 6-8 minutes to brown. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up any of the herbs left in the pan.
Simmer the sauce until the wine has reduced by half.
Serve the mushroom sauce alongside the steaks and pour yourself a glass of red wine.

For a printable recipe click here

1 comment:

  1. I just wake up from sleep and I am already reading your blog. This signifies something! Very useful ideas. Thanks!

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