Steak au Poivre with Mushrooms
When 6 o'clock rolls around, it's time for the evening meal. While anything goes at dinner, the lessons learned from eating plant-based foods during the day will almost certainly carry over to your after-6 choices. Soon you won't need an eight-ounce steak to satisfy you; two to three ounces will do the trick. This recipe features pan-cooked mushrooms, which are irresistibly delicious, especially when paired with steak. The trick is to stir them just enough to prevent burning but infrequently enough to let them caramelize a bit. (Same with the leeks, whose sweetness contributes mightily.)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds mushrooms (like button or cremini), sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 leeks, rinsed well and sliced crosswise
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 pound beef sirloin, rib eye, strip, or other steak (about 1-inch thick)
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 3/4 cup red wine or water
- Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release water and pan begins to dry out again, 10 to 15 minutes. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally until they soften a bit, 2 or 3 minutes. Add tarragon and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds or so, then transfer mushrooms and leeks to an ovenproof dish and place in the oven.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Sprinkle in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, and immediately place steak (or steaks) on top. Cook undisturbed until meat develops a brown crust on the bottom and releases easily, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side browns a little too and steak is still a little more rare than you like it no more than a couple more minutes. (The best way to know for sure is to nick steak with a sharp knife and peek inside.)
- Transfer steak to a cutting board and add wine to the skillet. Cook, stirring to loosen any browned bits and let liquid reduce to a little less than 1/2 cup. Cut steak across the grain into 1/2-inch slices and place on top of mushrooms and leeks. Pour pan juices over all and serve.
- For pepper steak with asparagus and shallots, instead of mushrooms, slice 1 1/2 pounds asparagus on the bias into 1-inch pieces. Substitute 3 large shallots cut crosswise into thin rings for leeks. In Step 1, cook shallots in hot oil to give them a 2- or 3-minute head start, then add asparagus and go from there.
- Recipe adapted with permission from The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman