Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Gourmet Valentine's Day

One Valentine's Day, about three years ago, Mike made this special dinner for me.  I have been requesting it for Valentine's Day ever since. :)  It's a bit of a splurge (price wise), but it tastes AMAZING, and you can have a very nice dinner for two at home for much less than a similar meal at a restaurant.
Surf and Turf - Lobster Tail and Porter House Steak with Wine Sauce


2 Lobster tails
4 tbs butter 
6 cloves of garlic, minced

This part is really easy.  Using a large knife, crack the lobster shell in half, length wise, so you can lay the meat flat.  Put it on your George Foreman grill (you know you all have one...) and cook until the tail turns nice and red.  That's it!
To make a nice little butter dipping sauce, just saute your minced garlic in butter in a small skillet.  The garlic flavor is pretty strong, so when it's done cooking, I'd suggest straining out the garlic so you're left with just garlic-flavored butter.  


I'm going to let Mike write this recipe, since I've never actually made it (hehe - I'm spoiled, I know). :)

My wine sauce is based on this one from, with a little modification.  It is a thick, savory sauce created with heavily reduced red wine and nice beef stock or demi-glace.  Sauteed mushrooms and shallots also absorb those tasty juices during the reduction and taste wonderful on the steak.  Now, your ingredients!
  • Steak, cut of your choice (porterhouse is very nice)
  • 3 cups (about 1 750 mL bottle) dry red wine, divided
  • ? tbsp Williams-Sonoma beef demi-glace
  • 1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine
  • 2/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 lb chopped mushrooms
  • optional: corn starch, soy sauce, thyme
A few notes on the ingredients:

  • Williams-Sonoma demi-glace is pricey – about $30 for a 10.5 oz jar.  The original recipe calls for consomme, which I can’t imagine anyone ever going to the trouble to make.  On the cheap, I have also made this sauce using Kroger or Swanson beef broth, and found that a full bottle of wine to about 16 oz. broth works well, but factor in at least an hour to let all that liquid simmer and reduce!
  • Save money and use cheap wine.  A $5 bottle or wine from a box will taste wonderful in this sauce; save the nice stuff for drinking with dinner.  
  • Most grocery stores have shallots if you look for them, even if you haven’t heard of them before.  This recipe is where I first discovered shallots!  They’re a bit milder than regular onions; I think if you had to use onion I’d use red onions.  But try shallots if you can!
  • I used regular white mushrooms because shiitake are expensive.  But if you try them, let us know!

Beforehand, have ready: one large pan for reducing the sauce, one medium pan for browning and searing the steaks, and either a Foreman-type grill and an oven pan and aluminum foil.

  1. Saute the chopped shallot and mushroom on medium heat in the butter.  Also, preheat oven to 350 degrees and get out an oven pan and a large sheet of foil for each steak. 
  2. Once the shallots turn a nice semi-translucent golden color, add bottle of wine and 4 tbsp. demi-glace.  (if your pan isn't big enough, just add more liquid in as the sauce reduces).  Bring everything back to a simmer and stir frequently, as a film will form on the edge of the pan and you want to keep that flavor in the sauce.
  3. Remove the mushrooms and shallots with a slotted spoon, then raise heat to speed reduction.
  4. Once reduced by half, dump wine mixture into bowl with mushrooms and shallots.
  5. In now empty pan, add the steaks with a little olive oil or butter on medium heat for no more than 3 min / side.  Go to med/low heat and continue to cook for 1-2 min/side until done as desired.
  6. Add remaining 1/3 bottle of wine and 1 tbsp demi-glace to pan, scrape loose browned bits from steak and bring to simmer.  Simmer 1 min.  Add soy, corn starch and first half of sauce from other bowl.  Add thyme if desired.
  7. Reduce to desired thickness and enjoy.

This sauce will keep pretty well in the refrigerator for several days (we actually think it tastes even better on day two!), and we've even frozen it and reheated it with no problems.  While we used porterhouse steaks for our Valentines day, this sauce will make even poor cut of meat taste fantastic.

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