Monday, April 11, 2011

Designer Beef Dinner at Home

Nick and I usually make Sundays a day where we cook a meal that takes loads more time and effort than normal.  Not really having an idea what to do this past Sunday, Nick started flipping through our new favorite cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home, to find some inspiration.  Thinking beef was a good path to go down, we settled on Herb-Crusted Beef Medallions, which is something new and different for our kitchen.  Normally we do not cook a whole lot of red meat, but we decided to try something new.

Dinner is Ready

The Necessities...
  • 2 large shallots (chopped)
  • 1 cup of a full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons and 1/2 cup panko
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 egg white
  • Canola oil
  • 4 filet mignons
  • Salt and ground pepper
The recipe above is straight from the book, but we halved everything for the two of us.  First up, Nick chopped up the shallots.

For the wine, we had a bottle open from the night before, but it turns out we drank a bit much the night before, so we mixed two different kinds together!

The wine...
In a saucepan, Nick combined the shallots and wine and brought it to a boil until the liquid evaporated - about 20 minutes. 

Beginnings of a red wine sauce
Once evaporated, he add the broth and boiled the mixture until the the sauce reduces down to around 3/4 of a cup - about another 20 minutes. 

The Sauce
Once the sauce boiled down, Nick removed it from the heat and poured it all into a blender (a food processor would work well here too).  The butter and 1 tablespoon of panko were added, and the mixture was pureed to form a smooth sauce.

In the blender
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, the remaining 1/2 cup of panko, parsley, thyme and sage were combined...

Herbs and Crumbs
with an egg white.

The two filets had been sitting on the counter for about 20 minutes so that they wouldn't be ice cold when they went into the pan.  Nick generously salted and peppered them.

Seasoned Beef
The beef went into a large fry pan with a thin layer of oil over medium-high heat to sear, about 2 minutes on each side.

When the beef was seared, Nick removed it from the pan and pressed each medallion into the herb mixture on one side.  Here, there were some issues:  the crust just didn't want to stick to the beef!  Eventually, Nick ended up pressing a pile of the crumb mixture on top of the beef rather than dipping it in the bowl.  The pan was coated with oil a second time and the beef went back in, crumb side down and cooked until the the crumbs were golden brown (another 2 minutes).  Snag #2: after putting the beef back in the pan, the crumb mixture all came off the beef, so really, instead of "herb-crusted beef" this turned more into "beef with herb-crumb chip."

Nick ladled the sauce onto the plate and placed the medallions, crust side up, onto the sauce.  Nick had also oven roasted some asparagus and topped it off with a dusting of Parmesan cheese as a delicious side.
Dinner - YUM
This meal was delicious, something more like you would see coming out of a restaurant kitchen rather than my own!  Lucky for me, I have a chef in training living with me :)  Even though the herb crust did not want to stay on, it was still delicious.  The sauce had a lot flavor that complemented the beef and crust nicely.

Overall I would highly recommend giving this meal a go!


  1. Nice job, Nick! looks like a winning meal even if the crust had some issues.

  2. This sounds awesome! I've made something similar with mustard in addition to the shallots and wine... without the crust though, which I'm sure added some amazing texture.


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