Need a special dinner for Valentine’s Day? We’ve got it: Succulent steak served with a rich mushroom and wine sauce.
This elegant meal is actually easy and straightforward to prepare. That means less time in the kitchen and more time at the table.
With your own special valentine.
Recipe: Steak with Mushroom and Wine Sauce
Good steak is a splurge for most of us. So you’ll want to choose something that’s flavorful and tender. For this recipe, we use filet mignon that’s about 1-inch thick. Other good choices are strip, ribeye, porterhouse, or T-bone steak.
We prefer to cook thinner steaks (anything about an inch thick or less) entirely on the stovetop. If you’re using thicker steaks, we suggest starting them on the stovetop and finishing them in the oven (see Notes for how to do this).
What kind of wine to use for the sauce? Any table wine (red or white) will work, as will many fortified wines (we particularly favor port, marsala, or madeira). We’re using red wine for our sauce – because red wine works so well with beef. You can use any red wine that you like to drink, although for sauce we tend to prefer merlot, Beaujolais, or cabernet sauvignon.
It takes about 20 to 25 minutes to make the sauce (including prep time). Cooking the steaks requires 5 to 12 minutes (depending on how thick they are). Then it’s best to rest the steaks for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. But you can make the sauce hours ahead of time, or even the day before you plan to serve it.
This recipe serves 4. But for Valentine’s Day, there may be just the two of you, so you’ll need only 2 steaks. In that case, you’ll have some leftover sauce, which will freeze moderately well for a month or so. Or you can refrigerate it in an airtight container for a couple of days.
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter (or more to taste)
- ~2 tablespoons minced shallots
- ~8 ounces mushrooms, sliced or quartered (any kind of mushrooms will work; see Notes)
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- 1 cup wine (red, white, or fortified; see headnote)
- ~¼ cup demi-glace or ½ cup beef stock (see Notes)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons additional butter (to finish the sauce; optional)
- slurry of 1½ tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water (to taste; very optional)
For the steak:
- 4 six-ounce steaks, about 1 inch thick (if using thicker steaks, see Notes)
- salt to taste (maybe 1 teaspoon kosher salt)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (preferably one with a high smoke point)
- chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- First make the sauce (you can prepare it right before serving the steaks, or hours ahead of time): Place a large frying pan over medium stovetop heat. Add the butter. When it’s melted, add the minced shallots. Sauté for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms. Season to taste with salt, then sauté for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are nicely browned. Add the wine and demi-glace or beef stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cook until it’s reduced by about half (approximately 10 minutes). Then set the sauce aside until you’re ready to finish it (if you’re preparing it ahead of time, just refrigerate the sauce in an airtight container until ready to use).
- About half an hour before cooking the steaks, remove them from the refrigerator, pat them dry with paper towels, and let them warm to room temperature.
- When it’s time to cook the steaks: Place a heavy frying pan over medium stovetop heat. While the pan heats, season the steaks with salt. When the pan is hot, turn the heat up to medium-high, add the cooking oil to the pan (it’ll heat instantly), then carefully add the steaks to the pan (try to avoid splatters from the hot oil). Sear the steaks on one side for 1 to 2 minutes (until they release easily from the pan). Turn the steaks, then reduce the heat to medium. As the steaks cook, frequently spoon some of the pan juices over the top of them. Turn the steaks every 45 seconds or so and cook until done to taste (see Notes).
- Remove the steaks to a plate, then cover them loosely with aluminum foil. Use a paper towel to mop up any excess oil in the frying pan.
- Return the frying pan to medium stovetop heat, then add the sauce (from Step 1). While the sauce heats, use a wooden spoon to scrape any charred goodness from the bottom of the pan and mix it into the sauce. Simmer for a couple of minutes (if the sauce reduces too much, you can add a small bit of water to it). Are there juices on the plate where the steaks are resting? You can stir them into the sauce for extra flavor. Taste the sauce and season if necessary. Then stir in some butter (if you wish) to enrich the sauce and add body. Remove the sauce from the heat and, if it’s not as thick as you’d like, stir in some of the cornstarch slurry until it reaches the consistency you prefer (you probably won’t need to use the entire amount of cornstarch mixture).
- Plate the steaks, spoon sauce over them, and garnish them with chopped parsley if you’d like. Serve and enjoy.
- We use an instant-read thermometer to determine when the steaks are done. We usually pull the steaks from the pan when the thermometer reads 5 degrees less than the desired temperature (the steaks will continue to “cook” and firm up as they sit).
- How well done do you like your steak? Rare steak (coolish red center) is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F (so remove it from the pan at 120 degrees). Medium rare (warm red center) is done at 135 degrees F (remove at 130). Medium (slight pink center) is 150 degrees F (remove at 145). Well done (no pink center, or maybe just a tinge) is 160 degrees F (remove at 155).
- Is it really necessary to turn the steaks every 45 seconds or so (Step 3)? Actually, no. You can just turn them once or twice during the entire cooking time. But the steaks will look better if you turn them more often. And we think flipping cooks them a bit more evenly.
- For steaks over 1 inch thick: We often start the steaks on top of the stove in a frying pan. We sear them for 2 to 3 minutes, flip them, then place the frying pan in a 400 degree F oven to continue cooking until the steaks are done to our taste.
- For very thick steaks, you may want to use the reverse-sear method: Cook the steaks in a low-heat oven (around 225 degrees F) until the steaks reach the internal temperature you want (this will probably take 20 minutes or longer). Then heat a heavy frying pan on the stovetop and sear each side of the steaks for about 45 seconds. With this method, you’ll be ready to serve right away – no need to rest the steaks.
- When we cook one big steak for company, here’s our method: After the steak is cooked until rare (and rested), we generally cut it into slices. If some guests prefer their steak more fully cooked, we briefly add their slices to the pan of simmering sauce and let them cook just a bit more.
- What type of mushrooms to use for the sauce? We prefer cremini mushrooms (baby bellas). But sometimes we’ll use the smaller white button mushrooms, or the larger portobello mushrooms (these are all basically the same mushroom, just at different stages of maturation). We cut the mushrooms in half, quarters, or slices – depending on their size and our preference for that particular day.
- We also like to use wild mushrooms in this dish, and will often use 2 or 3 different varieties (it depends on what the market has to offer).
- Demi-glace (or demiglace) is a very rich brown sauce. You can use it as a stand-alone sauce or add it to another sauce to provide flavor, body, and color (as we’ve done here – and which is probably the way it’s most commonly used). We use commercially prepared packets of concentrated demi-glace (just add the contents to water to create the demi-glace). We’ve used (and like) a couple of brands: More Than Gourmet and Savory Choice. You can often find demi-glace at a specialty grocery store, and it’s readily available online.
- You can also make your own demi-glace from scratch, of course, but it takes about 2 days (really). In our younger days we were up for that. No so much now.
- If you don’t have demi-glace on hand, you can substitute beef stock in this recipe. The flavor won’t be as deep or rich, but it will still be a nice sauce.
- How much demi-glace or beef stock to use in the sauce? We suggest ¼ cup of the first, ½ cup of the second (and let the sauce reduce a bit more if you use the beef stock). But this is one of those “to taste” things – taste as you make it and adjust as necessary.
- Do note that most commercial brands of demi-glace and beef stock tend to be salty. So you may want to taste the sauce and add salt only right before serving, if needed. If your sauce is too salty, adding a bit of acid (maybe a few drops of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar) can help. Or try stirring in some cream.
- Speaking of salt: We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
Steak and Sizzle
“Hey, magic mushrooms,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “I’m feeling enlightened already.”
“Or maybe that’s just the wine talking,” I said.
“Could be,” said Mrs K R. “But this dish is prime in any case.”
“Yup,” I said. “I’ll stake my reputation on it.”
“Careful,” said Mrs K R. “A steak pun is rarely well done.”
Better be cautious. Don’t want to cow-er in fear.
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Looks like I’ve got a menu plan for next week. I know I will love this (as will Mark) and we have all the ingredients except the steak, and that is easily remedied! Thanks, John!
That sauce....that incredible sauce. I don't think I need to splurge on a steak. Give me a baked potato with this sauce and I'm all set. Happy V-Day!
Yum,if this recipe doesn't get our romantic juices flowing for Valentine's Day,nothing will!I've never tried packaged demi-glace sauce before, but will have to give it a try!
This is my favourite meal! That steak looks so tender and juicy. I love mine usually blue or raw and without sauce, just salt. But your wine sauce really has me drool! An excellent recipe, John.
This dinner looks so good -- elegant and delicious!
It's hard to bet a good steak, especially covered in a good wine and mushroom sauce. I think it would be a mis"steak" to have this dish with anything but the best steak available...
Hi David, we don't often have steak, so when we do, we want to do right by it. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, the sauce is wonderful. :-) Thanks for the comment, and Happy Valentine's Day!
Hi Fran, packaged demi-glace can be quite good. And SO convenient! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Angie, we usually like our steak plain, too, cooked to very cool center. Well with salt and pepper, of course! But a sauce is so nice. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amy, it's really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ron, definitely a mis-steak not to use the best cut of meat! And yes, this was prime. :-) Thanks for the comment.
The perfect entree for any celebration!! And lucky me will get to eat the hubby’s mushrooms!!!l
Hi Liz, the mushrooms are almost better than the steak. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh that looks heavenly.
I actually tried (and failed) to make my own Demi-glace once, so I also use the prepared stuff now.
Hi Anne, making demi-glace is a lot of work, so we always use the prepared stuff. And it's pretty good! Thanks for the comment.
Guess who's coming to dinner?
I know I would LOVE this recipe. It looks amazing.
This is very timely and perfect for Valentines Day this weekend.
Hi Amalia, we'll be waiting! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, it's really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pat and Dahn, timing is everything, they say. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love the sauce. My husband is the steak cooker but I can add your wonderful sauce.
Hi Gerlinde, steak is wonderful all by itself, of course, but this sauce adds a couple of more layers of flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, :-) Thanks for the comment.
what a beautiful meal you got there! I love the idea of making the wine sauce in advance. Steak and mushroom combination always works.
Hi Holly, steak and mushrooms (and wine!!) really are a great combo, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.
Since I largely live in an Asian food world whole steaks are not cooked often. My favourite by far is a wholly grass-fed thick sirloin rooked to barely rare in a grill=pan on the stove-top . . . mushrooms and wine sauce dress such beautifully but the only other side would be a green salad or a steamed Asian vegetable. Ah - and one of the benefits of having a home office is that making a demi-glace may take me three days but almost no work time :) !
Hi Eha, steak and green salad is such a classic! Although we do admit for a weakness for potatoes with steak, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
The sauce makes it a holiday meal. GREG
Hi Greg, it does! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Now this dreamy meal is perfection! And the more the mushrooms the better!
Hi Laura, never enough mushrooms. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Such an amazing dinenr meal!
Hi Denise, it's such a great dish! :-) Thanks for the comment.
your photos make me want to reach in and grab that meal! i have never cooked a steak and only eat them about twice a year when we go to the local pub, but this looks soooo delish KR! Drooling...
Before we gave up eating beef, we would make thick steaks by the "low and slow" method -- in the oven or on the cool part of the grill until the temperature was right, then seared by open fire or by torch. The wine sauce would be a nice extra.
be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Sherry, we cook steak at most twice a year. This year will probably be different, though -- have several steak recipes we want to put on the blog. If we get around to them. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mae, the "low and slow" (aka "reverse sear") method is nice. Kind of like a natural and speedy sous vide. Haven't torched a steak to finish it, but I have with other cuts of meat -- very effective. Thanks for the comment.
What a gorgeous Valentine’s Day dinner! The sauce reminds me of s sauce I made for a beef tenderloin dish, i made my own stock using roasted oxtail bones! That was an incredible meal. Definitely going to bookmark this for our next special day (I’ve got a seafood marathon going for Valentine’s Day).
Hi Eva, we've made our own beef stock a couple of times -- it's good. And you need to have THAT before you can make demi-glaze, of course. But these days we only make poultry stocks from scratch, not beef. Your Valentine's Day celebration sounds fabulous! :-) Thanks for the comment.
That is my kind of Valentine's dinner! Love it all.
Hi Judy, ours too! :-) Thanks for the comment.
The only thing missing on this delicious plate of food is a baguette to clean the plate with one your done. I certainly wouldn't want to miss one drop of that sauce. I'll take my steak rare, smothered in sauce. YUM! Happy Valentines to you and Mrs. KR!
Hi MJ, the more sauce the better! :-) Happy Valentine's Day, and thanks for the comment.
Wow that looks fab! The sauce has such a lovely rich color! Yum yum!
Hi Lydia, yum yum indeed! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I have two men in my house that would devour this in a second. Have no doubt some form of red meat will be on the table very soon!Have a great Valentine's Day John!
Hi Abbe, those two men in your house have good taste. :-) Thanks for the comment, and have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
We love a good steak in our part of the world, I grew up in Brahman cattle country. So a mushroom wine sauce hits the spot every time. Yes perfect for Valentines Day. Thanks for a great story.
Hi Pauline, you have such great beef for the steak and wine for the sauce where you live -- you're all set to make this, I'd say. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, you have us licking our chops. That sauce looks killer good! We have mushroom, shallots and wine. Now just need to get some delicious steaks. Wishing you and Mrs. Riff a very safe and romantic Valentine's Day.
Hi Bobbi, this sauce is great all by itself! But better on steaks. :-) Thanks for the comment, and Happy Valentine's Day!
Looks so delicious, I need to try a wine free version of this. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
I love cooking steak at home. In fact there are few dinners better than steak and mushrooms.
Hi Amira, we like a cream and mushroom sauce a lot, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, that really is a great dinner, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Looks like a perfect dinner, yum!
Hi Natalia, this is SO good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is the ideal meal for my husband for Valentine's Day, while chocolate is the food of choice for me. I can cook this for him, and we can open a box of truffles afterward to satisfy both our taste buds on this holiday. Happy Valentine's Day! ;)
Hi Carolyn, sounds like a win-win meal plan. :-) Happy Valentine's Day, and thanks for the comment.
This is a fabulous dinner! It’s Valentine’s Day today, and I’m not making dinner. My husband just had his birthday 3 days ago, and 2 days ago we had friends over. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking! And after 39 years, it’s not as fun as in those early years! Thanks for this recipe!
Hi Mimi, happy birthday to your husband! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Your sauce is such a lovely compliment to the steak. It elevates the flavors so beautifully!
Hi Heidi, we love a good sauce! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Gosh this looks like the perfect Valentine's Day meal! I don't eat steak very often but with this sauce, hmm, I'm drooling already. Looks fabulous, John. Hope you and Mrs Riffs had a wonderful Valentine's Day!
Hi Katerina, steak is one of those things we only eat a couple of times a year, too. So when we do, we often want to make it really, really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Now were talking, this is my kind of dish
Hi Raymund, this is really, really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love this recipe, John. With steak, the resting time is so short that, especially if I have other sides to last-minute-finish, I don't feel I have time to make a sauce unless it can be made ahead of time.
Hi Jeff, we love sauces that you can make ahead. Takes a lot of last minute stress out of entertaining! Thanks for the comment.
This sounds and looks wonderful.
Hi Dawn, it's a terrific sauce! :-) Thanks for the comment.
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