Winter Means Wine Sauce

For me, winter always means red wine sauces. There’s something so hearty about a sauce made from a bold, full-bodied red wine. Or, in the case of this recipe, a dry red wine. But, in any case, red wine sauce is a decent staple when you want to whip up something fancy for meat.

I found this recipe on epicurious.com. It originally called for hanger steak, but I have an aversion to hanger steak unless it’s been marinating for a day and a half. So, I threw this sauce over filet mignon. I think it would also work over chicken, lamb, or veal (maybe not pork… but you never know).

Anyway, make your meat choice, and bring on the saucy wine.

Your Choice of Meat with Mushroom and Red Wine Sauce

  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 12 oz assorted mushrooms, torn or cut into large pieces
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 T (½ stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • Choice of boneless meat (about 1½ lb)
  • Coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 1 6″ sprig rosemary
  • 1 C dry red wine
  • ¾ C low-salt chicken stock

Heat 2 T oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat (don’t use nonstick for this recipe… you’ll need a not nonstick pan to get the right amount of searing on your meat). Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown around the edges (do not burn the mushrooms!), about 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Melt 1 T butter with remaining 1 T oil in same skillet over medium heat. Season meat with salt and cracked pepper. Add meat, garlic, and rosemary to skillet. Sear each side of meat evenly so that it is browned. (Here’s a trick for knowing when to turn meat over. The meat should release from the pan on its own. So, you have your chicken or steak or whatever in the pan and you think it’s browned enough. Take a pair of kitchen tongs and gently see if you can pick up the meat. If it seems stuck to the bottom of the pan, then you need to let it brown more. Don’t worry, you’re not going to burn it. Just try again in another minute or so.)

Depending upon meat selection, cut, size, and how you like to eat it (rare steak, for example) searing it on all sides might do it. If so, transfer to a cutting board. Let rest while preparing sauce. If not, transfer to a baking dish and finish it off in a 350° oven (chicken breasts or thick cuts of beef if you prefer them medium). You’ll just have to wing this portion of the recipe. I used filet mignon and it was a decent rare to medium rare after searing the top and bottom and rolling the sides.

Pour off all but 1 T fat. Add wine; cook, stirring up bits, until reduced to ¾ C, about 5 minutes. Strain; return liquid to skillet. (You’ll want to actually strain so as to remove all of the rosemary and garlic bits.) Stir in stock; bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to ½ C, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; Whisk in 3 T butter. Stir in mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.

Service depends upon the type of meat. You can spoon the mushroom sauce on a plate and add sliced meat atop or add your meat to the plate and spoon the sauce on top of the meat.

Results

Despite the pile of brown going on in this picture, the recipe is really good. I’m pretty sure it’s the combo of butter, meat frond, and wine that does it. There’s a subtle saltiness and a definite creamy mouth feel without being creamy in texture… if that makes sense.

Steak and mushrooms

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