bits and pieces

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Filet Mignon with Bourbon and Blue Cheese Braised Oyster Mushrooms and Balsamic Drizzle

oooh baby I like it rare. Wine courtesy of the Cypress Hills Winery! 
I don't want to alarm you, but today is September 9th and it's supposed to snow. Time to get ready for winter apparently...

Not only is it supposed to snow, it's a goshdarned Tuesday. I know Wednesday is supposed to be the traditional worst/hump day of the week but for me it's normally my most productive day, and cause for celebration because I'm halfway closer to the weekend. And I don't even hate my job.

Hate my job I may not, but hate snow in September I most certainly do. Now I've been a Prairie girl for about 3 years now. I moved here on April 1st, and it was spring-like and lovely. We then backpacked in Asia for the winter after that, missing what was the mildest winter in the world. Since then, it seems like winter has decided to either have a) the most snow of the past century or b) become the coldest in living memory. Hurrah?

Now I'm a Canadian. I can deal with the cold. I like winter sports. I grew up snowboarding, and skating on a frozen pond. HOWEVER - when you wake up, look at the weather, see that it's -52, and realize, 'Gee, it's warmer on Mars!' - you have to wonder how and why anyone, including your beautiful self has ever chosen to live in such a place.

So yup. Winter. Time to load up on winter-y goodness and cold weather foods and make use of that BBQ until it's parka season. Which may be tomorrow apparently.

So for those of you who read this blog with some regularity (hello family!), you'll recall that up until a year ago, I had been a vegetarian/pescatarian for about a decade. Since then I have dipped my toe in the world of meat. #meatfeet (gross). I can't bring myself to eat pork, I am pretty down with chicken, and I enjoy a blue rare steak although I can eat about 3 oz of one. I also have big issues with fat in meat, gristle, and other texture related things.

So while the partner loves a NY Strip, I prefer something a bit more pedestrian. Which brings us to:

Filet Mignon... the filet mignon of steaks.

Tee hee. I'm pretty clever. Not the cheapest cut of meat, but the ingredients below are about half the cost of a dinner out, including the oh-so-necessary bottle or two of red wine.

Now I know the title of this is a bit much, and the ingredient list looks a big 'WOAH NELLY'. But answer me these two questions: can you saute mushrooms? can you bbq a steak? Yes and yes? We're good to go. Make this for a fancy Friday date night in. Make it for a sad snow-watch Tuesday. And if you're like me and can't finish a steak for the life of you, well, toss the left overs on some bread and have a fancy fancy lunch the next day.

2 filet mignon steaks. It doesn't really matter how big as long as they’re relatively equal in size. The average restaurant serving is between 6-8 oz. Go big or go home. Go for 8 oz.
2 tbsp salt & 1 tbsp pepper, combined.
3 cups of sliced mushrooms. My ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE are king oyster mushrooms (which are expensive at mainstream grocery stores, but pretty cheap at Ngoy Hoa  in Regina). You can totally use cremini though.
3-4 tbsp olive oil/butter/some combo of the two
1 big pinch of salt, 1 big pinch of pepper, 1 totally normal sized pinch of thyme

1/4 cup bourbon (or you can use another whisky)
1/4 cup of heavy (whipping) cream
1/3 cup gorgonzola (or any other bleu cheese)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

other things you will need:
1 sauce pan for reducing your balsamic
2 sautee pans - one for searing your steak (unless you're bbqing) and another for sauteeing your mushrooms
  1. Take your steaks out of the fridge about an hour before you want to start cooking and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Pat them DRY  with paper towels and them liberally coat them with salt and pepper. Leave them to sit for about half an hour more. And by liberally, I mean liberally. This is all the seasoning these bad boys will get.
  2. Heat your olive oil in a frying pan. Once it’s shiny and hot, add your mushrooms* and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  3. Sautee them, tossing occasionally. Once they've started to brown a bit, hit them with the bourbon! TSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Yes! Deglaze them with that bourbon! Keep flipping them until the bourbon is 90 % gone. Add most of your bleu cheese, and the heavy cream, and stir.
  4. Heat over medium until the sauce starts to thicken, and then leave on low while you go cook your steak.
  5. While all of this is going on - because you're a multitasking CHAMP - in a separate pan, simmer the balsamic until reduced by half. Do this while you cook steak.
  6. Heat your BBQ or a proper pan on HIGH. You want these steaks on Hot and Fast. Once your grill or pan is HOT, place your steaks in the pan and walk away for 3 minutes. If you’re doing this on a pan, there’s a chance your smoke alarm will go off. Whoops.
  7. After 3 minutes, flip (using tongs, never a fork), and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow it to rest for 7-10 minutes. This is for the rarer side of rare. Add 1 minute cooking time each side for rare, 2 for medium rare, etc.
  8. Ensure your mushrooms are warm enough for serving. Pop them on a plate, sprinkle with remaining bleu cheese, and top with your filet mignon. Drizzle with reduced balsamic.

*The ‘proper’ way to cook mushrooms is in batches, as if you crowd your pan, they don’t cook as well. But I am lazy and impatient so I always just throw ‘em in all at once.

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