I happen to adore mushrooms. But I remember the days when they appalled me, mostly because they tasted like dirt. Unfortunately, my mother picked a lot of mushrooms in her foraging days, and I missed out on all of that!
Fast forward a couple of decades and I’m now a proud mushroom lover. For the blog I’ve topped a warmed brie with sautéed mushrooms, prepared crèpes filled with mushroom duxelles, and topped toasts with creamy mushrooms. They obviously can be used in so many ways.
Although I’m not much of a steak eater myself, I will enjoy one with my husband when I plan on topping the filet mignons with sautéed mushrooms. There is just something magical in that combination.
So much can be done with sautéed mushrooms, by using wine or cognac, bacon grease or duck fat, herbs, spices, demi-glace… and when you enjoy a perfectly cooked steak topped with perfectly cooked mushrooms you feel like you’re dining in a 5-star restaurant.
I buy whole mushrooms and peel them with a small knife before slicing. I don’t trust the pre-sliced variety.
Here’s what I do.
Enough for four steaks
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
2 – 3 shallots, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons cognac
1/2 cup flavorful broth mixed with
1 teaspoon beef demi-glace and warmed
1 – 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
Place 3 tablespoons of butter in a hot skillet or wok over high heat. Add the mushroom slices and season with the garlic pepper. Stirring or flipping frequently, sauté them until browned. Using this high heat technique, much less fat is required and more browning occurs.
Remove the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside. This step can be done way ahead of cooking the steaks.
Meanwhile, prepare the steaks and place them on a rack to rest. Cover lightly with foil.
Add the remaining butter to the cast-iron skillet that the steaks were cooked in, and sauté the shallots gently, adjusting the heat accordingly. You don’t want too much caramelization.
Return the mushrooms to the skillet, along with any juices that might be in the bowl. Then over fairly high heat add the cognac and flambé the mushrooms. Shake the skillet gently until the flames subside.
At this point add the broth and demi-glace mixture. Stir well and let reduce a bit.
The mushrooms should be nice and glazed. Add the parsley, thyme, and season with white pepper, if using, and salt.
Serve immediately over filet mignons or your choice of steak.
You can use part wine and part stock if you prefer, and if you prefer garlic over shallots, use them, just don’t sauté them for more than 30 seconds.
If you don’t like the liquid, you can always quickly remove the mushrooms, add a little Wondra flour, and make a quick “gravy” with a whisk. I prefer the broth.
Furthermore, a little heavy cream or creme fraiche can be added for extra decadence!