This was a very special dinner. A couple of days ago my husband opened a bottle of 1987 Chateau Margaux (red Bordeaux wine) for a wine testing, and we had to drink it last night because the bottle was already open. This wine was bottled when I was 9 years old. Where does the time go? I feel old. Well, we don’t drink wine like that every day, and special wine requires something special for dinner. So, I sort of had to do backward wine pairing, choosing the right dinner to go with this particular wine. There aren’t many main courses out there that go with a fine red Bordeaux better then prime steak. I had a couple of filet mignon steaks in the freezer for a while (a story similar to rack of lamb in my freezer) – a perfect choice of meat for a fine bottle of wine. We actually don’t eat much red meat in our family, but when we do, it’s better be really high quality.
Then, I realized that our grill has not been fixed yet, so I was going to cook steak on the stove, then in the oven. I’ve done it before, and you can actually prepare a perfect steak (rare or medium-rare) without a grill. In fact, when using prime filet mignon steak, I almost prefer to do it in house, because I want the least amount of flavors to interfere with meat. I don’t want any extra smokiness from the grill, and I use only basic seasoning: salt, pepper and olive oil. That way, what you taste is the fine piece of meat, and not the spices.
I also like to prepare steak “the French way” – with a nice, rich, creamy sauce on the side. I happened to have a whole bunch of different kinds of mushrooms that my husband picked up at the Asian market (they have the largest mushroom selection in Phoenix). So, a creamy mushroom and wine based sauce sounded really good to accompany the steak! I love to stew various types of mushrooms in wine and discover different flavors for each mushroom type. This time, I had oyster and abalone mushrooms. Abalone mushrooms have earthy, meaty flavor, and that flavor goes really well with steak. You can find abalone mushrooms at any large Asian market. They look differently than most mushrooms: they have very large stems. I had 2 of those, and that would be plenty for 3 servings. When sliced and roasted, abalone mushrooms look like potatoes, – you can see for yourself on my photos.
To cook steak successfully on the stove is easy, but it does require some practice, just like it requires practice to grill the steak just right. Method that I use below requires first pan frying the steak and then cooking it in the oven. I will describe below exactly how I cooked my steak on the stove, but because all stove tops and ovens are different, yours might require more or less time to reach the desired doneness (rare, medium-rare, etc. ). You’ll just have to watch your steak carefully. I think the pan frying method works great for thicker cuts, such as filet mignon (the ones on the photo were almost 2 inches thick). So, for any cuts like these, which are 1.5″ thick or more, this is a great, fail-proof method. For any thinner steak, skip the oven part.
Filet mignon steak in mushroom cream sauce, cooked on stove top, then in oven
Prep time: 60 min
Cook time: 30 min
- 2 filet mignon steaks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 dozen oyster mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 abalone mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
How to grill steak on the stove:
1) Make sure steaks reach room temperature before you cook them. Never cook a cold steak. That means if you kept them in the refrigerator, they have to be out at room temperature for an hour before cooking.
2) Heat a skillet (cast iron or stainless steel) until very hot. Do not use non-steak pans. Preheat oven to 500 F (broil).
3) Season steaks generously with salt, pepper, brush with oil on both sides.
4) When pan is hot enough, add steaks. Do not add olive oil to the pan – olive oil should only be brushed on steaks. Cook steak on one side for 3 minutes (for rare). Do not move the steak because the crust is forming. Steak should sizzle, and a nice caramelized brown crust should form.
5) After you pan-fried the steak for 3 minutes as in step 4, turn the steak over to the other side and immediately put the pan with steaks in the oven under the broiler. Broil for about 4 minutes for rare to medium-rare. Check the steak half-way to make sure you don’t overcook it. Depending on the thickness of the cut, it could take just 2 minutes to reach medium rare (or 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit temperature inside the steak). My steak was 2″ thick, so I kept it under the broiler for 4 minutes. In general, for any cuts which are 1.5″ thick or more, this is a good method. For any thinner steak, you might skip the oven part altogether.
6) Remove steak from the oven, cover loosely with foil and let them sit for 10 minutes, covered. They will continue cooking and the juices will distribute nicely.
How to make mushroom sauce:
1) Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add oyster mushrooms. Cook on high heat for about 4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. You can actually stop right here and use it as-is as your side dish. Your mushrooms will look wonderfully delicious like this:
2) Or you can continue and add 1/2 cup of wine, close the lid and let mushrooms and wine simmer for about 10 minutes covered until wine is not red any more and becomes brown in color and infused with wonderful mushrooms flavors. You can stop cooking right here and use this as a sauce, it’s yummy and will look like this:
3) Or you can continue and add heavy cream, stir well, and cook on low for 2 minutes to infuse flavors, and there you have your mushroom cream sauce, which is super delicious:
How to cook abalone mushrooms:
1) Slice abalone mushrooms thinly like you would slice potatoes.
2) Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add mushrooms, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook 4 minutes on each side on high or medium until nice golden crust forms.
3) Remove to a platter.
How to cook bell peppers:
1) Similarly to abalone mushrooms, heat olive oil in a frying pan, add sliced bell peppers. Cook them on high heat for about 8 minutes, turning once, until they look roasted.
To serve, pour mushroom cream sauce on the serving plate. Place steak on top of creamed mushrooms. Put abalone mushrooms on one side of the sauce, and roasted bell peppers on the other side.