Thursday, June 28, 2012

Filet Steaks with an Irish Whiskey and Mushroom Cream Pan Sauce

Oh my goody goodness this was good.  Too good.  Way too good.  I'm still amazed I was capable of making such a wonderful dinner.  Last night, we had some left over heavy cream in the refrigerator from the Chocolate Fudge Truffle Cheesecake I made for my mom's birthday last week (you can find this sinful dessert recipe here), and since we almost never have heavy cream, I insisted that I make a dinner recipe using it.  My mom had already bought steak fillets, and I had a recipe saved that I had been wanting to try since it included heavy cream and whiskey (who could go wrong with these two marvelous ingredients!?).  So I altered the saved recipe based on what we had, and it turned out to be the best steak dish I've ever had.  My parents also agree.  It was absolutely perfect....the steaks themselves cut like butter, were super duper juicy, and had a wonderful, meaty flavor.  The sauce was unlike anything I had ever had before.  It had the dominant flavor of beef - from the stock - but the whiskey gave it a zesty burst of flavor, and the cream wasn't overpowering at all; in fact, my parents couldn't even tell there was any cream in the sauce.  It simply blended all the flavors of the ingredients together and made the sauce slightly rich.  I decided to add the mushrooms to the dish last minute, and boy am I happy I did because they went so perfectly with the rich, beefy sauce.  However, if you don't like mushrooms, they can easily be omitted.  This is a heavenly dish that is sure to impress.

Yield: 4 servings

Four 1 to 1.25 inch pieces beef tenderloin (about 7.5 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (if not using a cast iron pan)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
5 white mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1/4 cup Irish Whiskey, such as Jameson
1/2 cup beef stock 
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon juice


Season each steak generously with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-based (preferably cast-iron) skillet that's large enough to hold the steaks over high heat until quite hot. (Add the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil if not using cast iron.) Test by touching the edge of one steak to the pan surface; it will sizzle briskly when ready. Immediately drop in the steaks and sear one side for 2 minutes. Sneak a peek to see if the first side is nicely browned. If not, continue to sear that side for another minute or so. Flip the steaks and sear the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium high, cook for another 2 minutes, flip, and cook until a digital instant-read thermometer in the center of the meat reads 120 degrees F for rare or 125 degrees F for medium rare, another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the steaks to the warm platter and let them rest, covered loosely with foil, while you make the sauce.  You can also set the steaks in a separate skillet and place on the "warming" section of your oven if you have it.
To make the pan sauce: Return the unwashed pan to medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt (be careful not to let it burn if the burner is still very hot!). Add the shallots and and cook, stirring, until fragrant and just tender, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the whiskey and mushrooms and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pan. Add the broth and Worcestershire sauce , raise the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Whisk in the mustard and then the cream. Continue to cook at a boil, stirring, until reduced to a saucy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Place a steak on each plate, drizzle with the juices left in the steak pan, and serve the steaks with the mushroom cream sauce.

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