Sunday, May 9, 2010

Steakhouse Saturday

We went to the market yesterday with no idea what to make for dinner, but kind of hoping they would have lobster. They actually did have lobster tails, as well as fresh soft shell crabs that looked amazing, except at $6.99 each we would have spent a fortune since they were so small. Filet was actually on sale for once, and we thought it would be fun to do steakhouse dinner - filet au poivre with a red wine sauce, mashed potatoes, and sauteed spinach.

Well, it's only right to start with shrimp cocktail. No cooking here, we bought the cocktail sauce and the shrimp already cooked.

For the mashed potatoes, I wanted to do red potatoes with the skin on and make them kind of chunky.

5 large red potatoes (about 1 1/2 to 2 lbs.)
3 Tbl. butter
1/2 - 3/4 cup 2% or whole milk
salt and pepper

Wash the potatoes and cut them into large chunks. I actually cut them even a bit smaller than you see here - I cut those big half-moon pieces in half.

Put them in a pot with enough water to cover them, bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for about 25 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and return to the pot and mash with a potato masher.

I actually don't have a potato masher so I used two forks, which worked just fine but I ended up with a blister. So I don't recommend it, but if you don't have a potato masher it can be done.

Add the butter and milk, and salt and pepper to taste and continue to mash everything together.

I didn't measure the butter or milk that I put in, so I approximated for those measurements above. Just add bit by bit if you're not sure until it looks and tastes like the right consistency.

For the filet au poivre, first break up some whole peppercorns (about two tablespoons worth). If you have a mortar and pestle that probably works best. I don't, so I spread them on a cutting board, covered them with a piece of saran wrap so they didn't fly all over, and smashed them with the flat side of a meat tenderizer.

Let the steaks sit out of the fridge for about 10 minutes or so, not to completely come to room temperature, but just not to be freezing cold. Put the steaks into the crushed pepper and gently press so the peppercorns stick into the meat. Cover both sides.

Heat up a skillet over medium to medium-high heat with clarified butter. You want the pan to be very hot, but not as hot as it can possibly get. I have an electric stove so medium was perfect, for a gas stove medium-high would probably be better. Put the steaks into the skillet and don't touch or move them.

Cook about 4-5 minutes and flip over (for medium doneness).

Cook another 4-5 minutes and transfer to a plate or cutting board. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. VERY important! Don't cut into the steak to see if it's done, use a meat thermometer if you're not sure. Letting the steak rest lets it hold the juices in, if you cut it they'll all run out. Plus, letting it rest allows it to continue to cook just a little bit.

To make the sauce, use the same skillet as the steaks. Don't clean it, keep all the bits stuck to the pan.

1/3 cup red wine
1/4 cup beef stock
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2-3 Tbl. heavy cream
1 Tbl. butter
pinch salt

Add the red wine to the pan and let boil for a couple minutes to burn off the alcohol, and scrape off all the pieces stuck to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the rest of the ingredients, stirring until everything is melted and incorporated.

Pour over steaks.

The steak had a nice crust on it from being cooked in the skillet, and the sauce was really, really good. It was made with cream and butter, so how could it not be good? The mashed potatoes were great too. And I did the spinach with garlic since I didn't have any shallots. We followed all this with one of my favorite things in the world, coffee Haagen Dazs. Not exactly a light meal. Kind of a last hurrah because I'm in a wedding this weekend and this week I need to, as my sister says - lock it up.

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