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The Way to Someone's Heart...

Jennifer Chandler

Want to wow your sweetie on Valentine’s Day?

Cook them a delicious steak!

I think the best way to prepare a steak is with a cast-iron skillet and an oven.

Cooking a steak this way is an easy and fool-proof technique to make a beautifully juicy steak with a crispy, flavorful exterior. The results are a more tender steak than any I have had off of a grill. In fact, most restaurants use this same technique for cooking their steaks.

First you sear the meat on the stove-top to give it a nice crust. The trick is to have a super hot pan before you add the steak.  The sear not only gives the steak a lot of flavor, but it also helps seal in all the juices. I prefer to use a cast-iron skillet because it heats up more quickly and evenly than my stainless cookware.  

After the steak has a good sear on it, then put the whole skillet into the oven to finish cooking. Finishing the steak in the oven rather than on the stove-top allows for more even cooking of the interior without burning the exterior.

Why do restaurant steaks taste so good?  They are not afraid to really season it well.  Don’t be afraid to be generous with the salt and pepper.

Another benefit to cooking a steak this way is this that you can use the pan drippings to make a delicious sauce.  Just add a bit of water to deglaze the drippings for an “au jus” sauce to drizzle over the steak or follow this recipe in the link for a tasty mustard cream sauce.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Peppered Filets with a Grainy Mustard Cream Sauce

  • 4 filet mignons, cut 1 1/4-inches thick each
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees.

Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Generously season the beef with salt. Evenly press the coarse pepper on both flat sides of the filets. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the steaks until well-browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Place the steaks in the oven to finish cooking, about 8 minutes for medium rare. Transfer the steaks to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Pour all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Add the shallots and sauté over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the brandy and simmer uncovered until the liquor has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the mustard and heavy cream. Bring the sauce to a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the steaks hot with the sauce.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: For a milder sauce, you can substitute traditional Dijon mustard for the whole-grain variety. 

Back-to-the-Basics: I like the flavor that the brandy imparts to this sauce. You can substitute bourbon or cognac if you prefer. Or just omit the alcohol completely.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.