Filet Mignon w/ Mushroom & Madeira Sauce

 

INGREDIENTS

3 TBSP butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 12 OZ button mushrooms, thinly sliced 1/2 cup minced shallots 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme 4 5-ounce filet mignon steaks (each about 3/4 inch thick) 1/2 cup Madeira 1-1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth 1/2 cup whipping cream Salt and Pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 TBSP olive oil in heavy large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 10 minutes until tender. Add 1/4 cup shallots and half of garlic, sauté until shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in thyme; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mushroom mixture to medium bowl. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to plate, cover with foil. Add remaining 1/4 cup shallots and garlic to same skillet. Sauté 2 minutes. Add Madeira and boil until reduced by half. Add broth and boil until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup. Add cream and boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Return steaks to skillet, cook to warm up, about 1 minute. Transfer to plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.

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WINE PAIRING

A meal as regal as this one calls for an exceptional wine. So far in 2009, the Spann Vineyards Cabernet from Sonoma is the best Cab I've had all year at any price. For $35 you would expect a good wine. The Spann Cabernet is a GREAT wine and could easily fetch $60.  This is an "OMIGOD" wine to be sure.  At least one person lucky enough to get a glass will inevitably blurt out something along those lines.  It's rich, it has depth, it's like cashmere in a glass balancing sweet jammy fruit with elegant nuances.  Peter and Betsy Spann have the ability to create beautiful wines that aren't over the top or overpowering, yet show layer after layer of interesting notes.  This reminds me of the 1988 Cheval Blanc I had last fall.  Perfectly balanced between sweet, sour, salty and bitter, it compliments the Filet pefectly.

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Rick's Picks: 2007 St. Francis Claret (Elu Mini Me)

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One of my favorite wines at St. Supéry is the Elu Bordeaux style blend.  Some of the grapes you might find in Elu are Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cab Franc.  Why am I talking about Elu?  Because the St. Francis Claret reminds me very much of Elu, only more affordable.

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The St. Francis Claret is made with the same grapes, but is 1/3 the price.  It's the Mini Me version of Elu.  If tasted blind, you might be able to pick out the Elu but at $22 a bottle why bother?  2007 St. Francis Claret has a different blend of 26% Merlot, 25% Cabernet, 23% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot.  Both are estate grown.  Both have a sweeter, jammy profile with vanilla oak.  The 2007 Claret gets a nod because the '07 vintage was incredible in California.  Winemakers were licking their chops when fruit came in 'cause the fruit was big, ripe and there was lots of it.

When we visited St. Francis in February, we had tasted through the lineup.  I hadn't tasted anything I was going to buy and take home, but overall their lineup was a solid representation of Sonoma wines.  They poured the Claret as an, "oh, by the way just try this" as we're getting ready to leave.

I had the "omigod" response and immediately bought 6 bottles.  Cashmere in a glass smoothness, plus sweet plum, black cherry, cedar and baking spices.  The Hungarian, French and American oak impart yummy vanilla, baking spice notes with a kiss of sweetness.  It's not just vanilla, it's french vanilla.  I picked the St. Francis Claret as a Rick's Pick because the quality for the price is awesome (QPR).  This is a great everyday drinking wine, especially if you like Bordeaux style blends like Elu.

A few food pairings you might like:

Southwest Skillet Steak

Filet with Blue Cheese Porcini Sauce

ONE YEAR!

Hard to believe how fast a year went by...  On August 1st of last year the Bakas family moved west to pursue a dream.

In the past twelve months I've had the privilege of meeting so many people across the country and share great wine.  Many of the people I've met are on this list you can 1-click follow on Twitter.

I've cooked up a deal for online friends to get the wine I'm going to celebrate with.  The newly released 2006 Napa Valley Merlot goes for $28/btl at the winery but on Thursday and Friday you can get it for about $16/btl including upgraded shipping!  Orders are in full cases (12 btls) only.

Here's the link to get the Merlot Use coupon code ONE YEAR when checking out to get the FED EX priority overnight shipping included at no charge.  When the order is filled and it ships out, it'll get to you the next morning.  Enjoy!

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#WorldCupWine Tasting Notes: 2005 Pago de Larrainzar from Spain

Pago de Larrainzar is a family owned estate winery from Navarra, Spain.

The wine presents an attractive and deep cherry-red color. On the nose, you will distinguish an intense aroma of mature fruit, compote, well assembled with notes of a well-aged wine in high quality barrels. This gives way to hints of minerals, pepper and coffee. On the palate, the taste is flavorful, very mature, appetizing and fruity. It is well structured and has a long finish. Merlot (45%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Tempranillo (15%).

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2007 Shameless Hussy Merlot

Hard Row to Hoe is owned and operated by Judy and Don Phelps in Manson, Washington.  This particular Merlot comes from the Riverbend Vineyards located in the Wahluke Slope appellation.  It's yet another Merlot from Washington state that grabs you by the back of the head and says, "I'm gonna rock your world so buckle up  — Kansas is going bye bye."

You'd expect a red wine named Shameless Hussy to be like a riverboat dancer on Xanax.  For twenty bucks this wine delivers.  What is delivers depends on what you're looking for.  It's a sweeter, jammier fruit driven wine dealing black fruits like blackberry, black cherry and marionberry.  There's distinct vanilla and spices, that combined with the fruits gives you a sense of blackberry pie in a glass.

This is a fun wine.  There's no need to analyze it and pick out the tasting notes, just pour it in a glass and rock n' roll.  Every now and then I get a hankerin' for a jammy style wine, and this one will scratch that itch.  The alcohol level on the label says 13.8% but it comes across more like 14.7%.  It's a little hot at first so if you're looking for a food pairing, something with some heat will offset the sweetness.  Red meats like flank steak or new york strip do well with generous salt and pepper along with some chili flakes.  The chili flake part is the secret that'll make many red meats marry up with the hussy.  Visit the winery web page at HardRow.com.

I don't give scores, but I would suggest picking up a bottle to see what Shameless Hussy has to offer you.  If you don't like Merlot, Washington state might change your mind.  Cheers!

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