Showing posts with label mushroom sauce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mushroom sauce. Show all posts

Monday, April 21, 2014

Duck Breast with Mushroom Sauce

I feel a little bit guilty eating duck breast because I love watching the ducks around here. Along with the Canadian geese, they provide loads of entertainment. There's quite a bit of quacking and honking going on this mating season.

We love duck, though, and I was thrilled when I found duck breast at Fresh Market. I have roasted a lot of ducks but wasn't quite sure what to do with just a breast. It was a good thing I checked some recipes. This is a quick dish! Not counting the sauce, start to finish, it takes about fifteen minutes. It would be a fabulous dinner party dish or a romantic dinner for two.

If you're not a saucy kind of person, I think you could make this so easily without a sauce. Think steak. Nice with a sauce but not really necessary. If you hate mushrooms, duck lends itself very well to fruity sauces as well.

I served this with rice. One duck breast will feed someone with a fairly good appetite. Maybe not a professional football player. Two duck breasts could probably serve three light eaters. I have to say that the pictures don't do it justice. It makes a very pretty presentation on a plate. The meat came out soft and juicy. We'll be having it again, for certain. It might just become my favorite go-to dish for birthday celebrations.

Duck Breast with Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot minced (about 1-2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon marjoram
2 garlic cloves minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
salt & pepper

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauce pan and add butter. When the butter has melted add the shallots and marjoram. When the shallots begin to soften, add the mushrooms and the garlic. Cook until the mushrooms soften, then add the chicken broth and simmer without a lid. Salt and pepper to taste. *See below.


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 duck breasts
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Heat the olive oil in an oven-safe pan. Salt and pepper the meat. Score the duck skin and fat in a diamond pattern. Sear the duck, skin side down, for seven minutes. Flip the meat over and place the pan in the oven to roast it, uncovered, for six minutes. Remove from oven, place on carving board, and let rest before carving.

If you are not making the sauce, save the fat from the duck pan to fry potatoes later that week.

* If you are making the sauce, leave two tablespoons of the duck fat in the pan, and add the mushroom mixture. Combine and serve with the duck.

The duck breast.

Score it.

So tender!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce in One Pot

Last New Year's I happened upon the best piece of pork I've eaten in a long while. There wasn't much of a recipe to it. I just salt and peppered it and popped it into the oven to roast. I think the key was the cut. It was rack of pork. I hadn't planned on making anything of the sort, and there was only one at the store. I figured it was meant for us.

Otherwise, the only cut I bother buying anymore is the tenderloin. Don't confuse it with a pork loin. The tenderloin is small, usually between 1 and 1.5 pounds. They're larger on one end and taper off completely on the other end. Pork loins run about 2 to 4 pounds. They're much bigger in comparison. 3 to 4 inches across with no tapering.

Pork loins are what my mother used to roast so beautifully. They're so lean now, though, that they really benefit from low, slow cooking. You'll note that for my tenderloin, the oven temperature is 400, yet it turns out soft and moist.

Interestingly, the National Pork Board says pork should only cook to 145 and should rest for 3 minutes. Hmm. I'll try that next time, but my pork went to 162 and was perfect. Just a little bit rosy inside when cut. I'll let you be the judge of the appropriate temperature.

This makes quite a bit of mushroom sauce. It would be great on pasta or with potatoes so you can savor every little drop.

Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce

oven-safe pan with lid

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small pork tenderloin (see note above)
1/2 onion
1 celery stalk
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
8 ounce package cremini mushrooms (or white mushrooms)
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat the oil in a large oven-safe pan. Rinse the tenderloin, pat dry and rub with salt and pepper. Brown the tenderloin. Remove the tenderloin from the pan. Add the onions, celery and marjoram. Saute until the onions begin to soften. Add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms soften, add the chicken stock and stir in the flour. Nestle the pork tenderloin in the middle, cover and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. The meat should be around 160-170 when you take it out. Allow the pork to sit 5 - 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with mushroom sauce over it.

Use one pot. Less washing!

Sauce cooks along with the meat.

Coming in June!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Beef Filet in Pastry with Mushroom Sauce

When I was in high school, Mr. Holleman, one of my English teachers, invited a number of students to his house for dinner. I don't recall what we were celebrating, but I do remember that he made Lamb Wellington. It was a delicious and elegant dinner. We were all impressed, but not nearly as impressed as I am today. Lamb Wellington is a major production, and we'd have been just as happy with pizza! I'm even more impressed because he had to make the pastry dough, too. I have no idea what happened to Mr. Holleman, but I bet he's still a great cook.

When I was shopping recently, I came across something called Puff Pastry Dough Squares. They're frozen and the package says they're excellent for croissants and turnovers.  Hmm, but I had something more savory in mind.

Unlike frozen filo dough, this doesn't need to defrost overnight. Twenty minutes does the trick. That makes it easier to handle, too, because it's still cold when you're working with it.  I'm planning to try out some more ideas, but I went for beef filets first.

I kept the contents simple for my first try, simply salting and peppering the meat. Honestly, that was all it needed. I used mustard, but it wasn't necessary at all.

I learned a few things this time around, too.  It makes a beautiful presentation. Try them out on family before you make them for a dinner party, but they look gorgeous.

Use a high quality cut of beef, preferably tenderloin. The individual servings of meat should be fairly small, because they have to fit into two squares, approximately 4x4 inches.  But look for thick pieces of meat. The one complaint I had was that the meat was overcooked for my taste. It came out medium, when I would have much preferred medium rare. While it seems like the solution to that would be to simply cook it for a shorter period of time, the pastry dough has to cook for about twenty minutes or it won't puff properly. So it seems to me the solution is to use a thicker piece of meat.

Another thing I learned as I went is to rub olive oil around the edge of the pastry dough BEFORE you place the meat or anything else on it. It's just much simpler that way.  Of course, you could add cheese or some of the mushrooms on top of the meat if you want to -- I'll be trying some of those variations and will let you know how it goes.

So here's the recipe, simple as can be, but oh, so tasty!

Beef Filet in Puff Pastry

olive oil
4 pieces frozen puff pastry dough squares
2 thick, small beef tenderloin pieces
mustard (optional)
1 egg

Follow the instructions on the filo package about thawing.

Preheat oven to 400.

Salt and pepper the steaks on both sides.

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan at medium heat. Brown the steaks on each side for about 1 minute and remove from heat.

Meanwhile lightly grease a baking sheet, or cover it with parchment paper.

Use two pieces of the square filo dough for each steak. Dab a little bit of olive oil on your finger and run it around the edges of both filo squares. Place the steak on one piece. If using mustard, spread a little bit in the middle of the other piece. Then take the top piece and lay it over the steak, olive oil side down.

Using your fingers, press the edges together firmly. Run around the whole thing pressing a second time to be sure it's sealed. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat for the other piece of beef.

Whisk the egg and brush over tops of both pastry packets.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Serve topped with Mushroom Sauce, below.

Mushroom Sauce

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 1/4 cups chopped mushrooms (cremini, button, Portobello)
1/2 cup chicken stock + 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon flour

Mince the garlic and cut the mushrooms into 1/2 inch cubes.

Pour the olive oil into a pan over lowish heat and add the garlic. When fragrant, add the mushrooms and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Cook gently, stirring occasionally. Mix the flour with 1 tablespoon chicken stock until the flour dissolves and there are no lumps. Slowly stir it into the mushroom mixture to thicken it. Add salt and pepper to taste.