Elegance at the table is a thing of the past. Party dresses and adornments. White gloves and diamond bracelets. French twists and simple chignons.
In my mind’s eye, I looked like Lauren Bacall in Designing Woman poised in front of a silver plate, a delicate white teacup and saucer trimming a raised eybrow. Hunter green pleated skirt with a matching light-weight, ribbed turtleneck. Tan heels dancing through the air. On my wrist, diamond pavé tiger and leopard bracelets dangling gracefully over white gloves. Dainty white gold hoop earrings and a matching collete necklace adorning simple makeup and wavy hair. Not to mention Gregory Peck in a 3-piece tux. Gorgeous!
The reality is, even with the fanciness of the meal, the cook was mozying around in pajamas. Appetizer fork resting on a plate lounging in front of a tv. This week’s binge fest of Vikings looked more civilized than I did! My black, attitudinous t-shirt perfectly described my mood, Harry Potter: Undesirable #1 (yes I still own this shirt and no I will never part with it! Comfort in the form of humor is a single girl’s best friend).
My dinner beckoned me away to long ago faces and faraway places. To a time, when ladies dressed for dinner and men wore suits. I love how a meal can do that. In reality, it’s just a tiny copper sauté pan with an expensive steak enhanced with a mushroom red wine reduction sauce. But it was so much more – comforting, dreamy, tender and juicy. Like being whisked away into the pages of a novel, neatly tucked within the shadows of place and setting, fork poised at the ready, attention rapt, pages turned, moments gathered. In a word – elegant.
Many of you will read this and think – oh she made steak! Yum! Whatever motivates you into the kitchen, my friends! But to this I say, Chateaubriand is not just a steak! It’s an accomplishment! Cheers! xoxo
- 1/4 lb beef tenderloin
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon of granulated sugar, to caramelize the meat
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cremini mushrooms, destemmed, thinly diced
- 2 shitake mushrooms, destemmed, thinly diced
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 medium sprig of thyme
- 1 small shallot (or 1/4 of white onion), thinly diced
- 1/4 cup of a good quality red wine (such as a Cavit Merlot)
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1/2 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Beef Base
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat the oven to 475°. Allow the beef tenderloin to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, begin prepping all of the vegetables for the sauce including the shallots, mushrooms, and garlic. Place in an oven proof sauce pan, roasting for 3-5 minutes until browned and fragrant.
- After 15 minutes, preheat a small skillet until blazing hot. Generously season the beef. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Dry sear the steak until a deep rich brown in color.
- Once seared, push the pan off heat and, with a pair of tongs, char the meat directly over the open gas flame until generously browned and somewhat crispy. It's messy but delicious!
- Return the meat to the pan, insert a meat thermometer and roast at 475° until the temperature reads 120 to 125 degrees F (about 5-7 minutes depending on your oven).
- Once cooked through, cover with foil and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the juices to seep back into the meat.
- Add a tablespoon of butter to the roasted mushrooms, shallots, garlic and thyme sautéing until softened. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and simmer until the red wine is reduced by half.
- Add the beef stock and the beef bouillon to the sauce. Return to a simmer and simmer until thick and glossy. Finally, stir in the heavy cream and taste for seasoning!
- For a rustic sauce, leave the vegetables softened. For a more finished presentation, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce until a deep red burgundy in color.
- This recipe yields a double portion of sauce for those who prefer a little extra flavor.
- Feel free to add some asparagus to the pan just before roasting for a little added greenery.
- If chanterelles are in season, you can replace one of the cremini mushrooms with 1 chanterelle.