Monday, February 15, 2010

Pan Seared Filet with Mushroom Wine Sauce

Every year, I make Hirsh a special Valentine's Day dinner. I always like to try something new and fancy and this year, I decided that I would make filet mignon. I have been watching a lot of Alton Brown's show "Good Eats" and he did a show on searing. It seamed like a great way to prepare filet, so I did a bit more research, found a sauce online and went for it. For my first time preparing filet, I would call it a success...but there are definitely a few things I would change next time to make it even better. Since I was making it a surprise dinner for Hirsh and had kicked him out of the kitchen, it was a bit stressful to prepare, but I'm sure with an assistant it would go much smoother. I served the filet with long grain and wild rice and broccolini (technically a cross between broccoli and chinese kale, but I think of it as fancy broccoli).

Pan Seared Filet
2 1 1/2 inch filet mingon steaks (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
Olive oil
Kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 with baking sheet covered with aluminum foil in the oven.
2. Bring steaks to room temperature and dry with paper towels.
3. Spread a thin layer of olive oil on each side and generously salt and pepper the steaks, pressing seasonings into the steaks with your hands.
4. Heat 10 inch skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Cast iron is the best, but I used my non-stick.
5. Add steaks to pan and sear on each side for 2 1/2 minutes. Do not disturb except for turning once with tongs.

*This is when things started to get crazy. I had read about smoking issues, so I put our oven vent on high, but that was not enough. Our smoke detector (in the living room) starting going off and we had to open several windows until the searing was over. Then I looked again at my Alton Brown book and saw that it said that you should probably remove the batteries from your smoke detector when you sear meat. Good to know!
6. Transfer steaks to hot baking sheet and bake an additional 8 minutes for medium (less for more rare).
7. Let meat rest for 5 minutes, tented with foil.
8. Serve topped with mushroom wine sauce.

Mushroom Wine Sauce
2 tbsp of butter (I used smart balance to keep it non-dairy)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/c C sliced mushrooms
1/2 C dry red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)

1. Melt butter and olive oil in the pan.
2. Add garlic and parsley stirring until garlic is lightly browned.
3. Add mushrooms and wine, cooking about five minutes until mushrooms are soft.
4. Pour immediately over steak and serve.

Difficulty: Hard!!
Hirsh's Rating: 9
Debbie's Rating: 8.5 for taste, 7 for turning out like it should have!

What I would do differently next time:
The steak was very tender and delicious and the sauce complemented it well. But it turned out more medium-well than medium as I had hoped. I think I was so worried about getting everything hot enough that I overdid it a little bit. I would preheat the pan for less time on lower heat to get a less severe sear. I would also probably bake it for only 6 minutes after searing. I started the mushroom sauce a little too early, so it cooked too long, making the mushrooms turn red from the I would cook it a little less time. And finally, I would enlist help! With the steak, sauce, rice and broccolini all going at the same time, it was a lot to handle. So if you are going to try this alone, just be ready to be exhausted by the time dinner is on the table!


  1. Looks yummy! I make pan-seared filet often, it is Julia's favorite meal. I would recommend getting filets that are thicker, if you can find them - they stay nice and rosy in the middle when you sear them. And I think the mushrooms are just fine all red from the wine - it WAS Valentines Day!

    I used to always do what you did with this meal - have a ton of components that all need last minute attention. If you had roasted your veggies (the oven was already hot for the meat) you could have just thrown them in the oven before you started to make the meat and let them go for a while. Roasted broccoli is delicious, and of course so are roasted new potatoes.

    One thing to note about using a glass bowl for a makeshift double bolier - it has to be heat safe, like Pyrex, or it could shatter.

    I am so enjoying your blog!!

  2. Thanks for all the advice! Julia is a lucky girl that she gets pan seared filet! I will try to find thicker filets next time. And good point about the glass bowl-- I think I assume all glass bowls are pyrex since they are in my kitchen but it definitely needs to be heat safe!
    And I'm glad you are enjoying the blog. :-)