Friday, December 7, 2007

Oh My Omaha

Some people like to give out baked treats around the holidays. Don's grandparents give out steaks. Now that's what I'm talking about! So last week we received a shipment from Omaha Steak company labeled "Extremely Perishable Goods." Inside was an assortment of neatly packaged various frozen meats and goods including steaks, chicken, pork chops, stuffed potatoes and even some dog treats all being cooled by a block of dry ice (which I didn't realize was dry ice until I tried to pick it up and burnt my fingers.)

So now I have an exciting freezer full of treats and a new source of inspiration to come up with exciting recipes on how to prepare them. Yesterday I set the sirloin steaks in the fridge to thaw and decided this time that I would search the Food Network Website for ideas. It was getting late in the afternoon and I was feeling a bit lazy so I didn't want anything too involved or that was going to take too long to prepare. Enter Rachael Ray to the rescue! I printed out the following recipe for Pepper Crusted Tenderloin with Mushroom Cream and Roast Asparagus and was off to the grocery store. This is another recipe where all of the ingredients can be purchased at your local Trader Joes - unless you are not from California, then you may have to go to the liquor store to pick up your cognac or Brandy.

Even though we just used sirloin steaks instead of tenderloin the recipe was still fabulous. The mushrooms soaked the concentrated flavor of the brandy and the subtle cream sauce was not so overpowering that it didn't allow you to still taste the great natural flavors of the meat. And considering that this meal took only 15 minutes to prepare start to finish, this one is definitely a keeper! I can't wait to try this again with some filet mignon.

Pepper Crusted Tenderloin with Mushroom Cream and Roast Asparagus

3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed at stem (fat stems should be peeled down a bit as well)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
4 (1-inch thick, 3 to 4-inch round) beef tenderloin steaks, about 1 pound total
4 teaspoons coarse black pepper, a rounded palm full
2 tablespoons butter
6 white mushroom caps, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup cognac or brandy, eyeball it
3/4 cup cream, eyeball it
Chopped parsley leaves or chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Spread asparagus on small baking sheet and dress with a liberal drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt. Roast the spears in a hot oven until tender and ends are crisp and slightly brown at edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Asparagus should remain bright green.

Take the chill off the meat then pour the black pepper onto a small plate. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high to high heat. When oil smokes, press each steak into pepper to coat then place peppered side down in the skillet. Sear and caramelize the meat 3 to 4 minutes, turn and cook 2 minutes more for rare, 3 minutes for pink.

While the meat cooks, heat a small skillet over medium flame and melt then butter. Add mushrooms and lightly saute them for 4 to 5 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and add cognac or brandy to the pan. Be careful of flare ups. You may want to add the liquor off the stove top then return the skillet to the heat. Reduce the liquid by half, cooking off the alcohol and concentrating the flavor, then stir in the cream and warm it through. Reduce heat a bit and let sauce thicken 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon sauce over meat and serve with asparagus alongside.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

This does sound tasty. Too bad Kirstie doesn't like mushrooms or this would be a perfect meal! I have grown a fondness for well-prepared asparagus, too, so this sounds like a great combination!