I used to joke about what I’ve called, “Dr. K’s Desperate Dinners,” the meals my husband would prepare under duress when I was too busy to cook. He started out warming up leftovers and moved on to skillet grilled melted cheese sandwiches. Throughout it all, he’s been my sous chef, prepping vegetables and meats so I could do the fun part — cooking!
Several years ago he decided to learn how to bake bread. That success bolstered his confidence and he figured it was time to learn how to cook.
Of course, as a scientist, he was going to make it as challenging as possible. He invested in four cookbooks — because we didn’t have the right ones — and began reading through world-renowned chef Thomas Keller’s teachings. I’m enjoying the ride, and the chance to get some time away from the kitchen.
Cooking steak in airtight plastic bags in a water bath on low heat is a surefire method of getting succulent and tender beef cooked to a precise and consistent temperature. The time frame, anywhere from 45 minutes to four hours for a medium-rare steak, makes this element of the meal hands off. Start and finish the steak with a sear over high heat in a cast iron skillet to get the perfect browned exterior.
Sous Vide Filet Mignon with Mushroom Cream Sauce Recipe
4 – 8 oz filet mignons, cut about 1 1/2 inches thick
Equipment Note: To cook sous vide, the easiest method is to buy the Anova Precision Cooker. Priced at $149, it’s on the low end of these gadgets. They’re portable and only require electricity, water and a large pot to create the water bath for your meat. Bluetooth compatible, they’ll connect to your phone so you can receive notifications and monitor your meal as it cooks.
You will also need ziplock or vacuum sealed bags.
salt and pepper
2 T oil, divided
1 bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs
2 T unsalted butter
Place Anova Precision Cooker in large pot with water about 3/4 way up the pot. Turn on sous vide device to 129 degrees.
Dry and then salt and pepper steaks sparingly. For cooking sous vide, it’s not necessary to over-season; the spices infuse throughout the meat while cooking in the water bath.
Heat 1 T oil in heavy, cast iron skillet over high heat. Sear steaks until browned.
Package steaks in either ziplock bags or vacuum sealed bags with olive oil, whole bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Using butterfly clips, attach bag to side of pot so it’s submerged in water bath.
Sous vide for 1 to 2 hours.
For Mushroom Cream Sauce:
1 cup minced shallots
3 cups portobello mushrooms, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
4 T unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup brandy
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper
Sauté shallots in 3 T butter and oil remaining in pan used to sear beef tenderloin.
Add remaining tablespoon butter and sauté mushrooms until their juices begin to release and they’re browned. Remove mushroom mixture to clean bowl.
Make sure fan is off. Add brandy to pan and flame off heat using long handled grill lighter.
Note: Stand back from stove until flames die out!
And another Note: brandy is flamed to reduce the harsh taste of alcohol in a sauce. It’s not absolutely necessary to do it, although it’s kind of fun, if you’re careful. Another method of cooking off alcohol is to simmer it in the sauce slowly until the sauce is reduced by at least half. Your choice. Try it both ways and let me know which you prefer.
Add beef stock and thyme sprigs to pan and reduce sauce by half. Return mushrooms and any juices collected in bowl to pan and place on low heat.
Add half and half and bring to simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with mashed potatoes and wilted spinach for an elegant meal.
Stephanie Davis, a wine educator and co-star of the Wine Two Five podcast, thinks it essential to start drinking whatever red wine you select before you even begin cooking, because sipping wine will maximize the pleasure of just reading this recipe. Stephanie is all about learning. She was certain she’d hit the motherlode when she found a bottle of Colomé Malbec at her local wine shop, soon after a friend regaled her with stories about a recent trip to Argentina — and particularly Bodega Colomé. Stephanie recommends grabbing your largest wine glass and introducing it to this seductive Malbec. Listen as the wine whispers sweet nothings and helps you forget time.
Seductively priced at $22/bottle.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.
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