I like to make Valentine's dinner for Mikey and myself because I think it's more special than going out. Last year I made an Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb, Hasselback Potatoes, Lemon-Butter Green Beans with Pine Nuts, and Mocha Pots de Crème. It turned out delicious but I was still fairly new to cooking and I recall feeling pretty stressed. This year I decided to take on a bit more since I'm now more comfortable in the kitchen. I chose recipes that I could prepare a couple of hours ahead and just let stand at room temperature until I was ready for them. It made everything so much simpler!
The meal (FEAST!) was so incredibly good. I was actually really surprised by how wonderful it all turned out! It was truly a special treat and I think that Mikey honestly appreciated a lot :).
The sauce for the filets was to-die-for. It would be good on anything and I loved how it soaked into the potatoes. Oh the potatoes! Let's just talk about those babies for a second. They had a nice woody flavor from the time that complemented the mushrooms in the sauce in a beautiful way. The pancetta imparted such a tasty savory flavor that paired nicely with all of the veggies within the potatoes (BTW these potatoes got my boyfriend eating both leeks and zucchini which he hates!). They were the perfect accompaniment to the juicy filet (which I perfectly cooked to a glorious medium-rare despite the fact my thermometer would not read anything besides 100 degrees). I HIGHLY recommend this meal, and just wait until you see dessert (coming in Part 2)!
Filet Mignon with Mushroom Brandy Sauce
recipe adapted from here
- 2 filets (I got a 6 ounce for me and an 8 ounce for Mikey)
- coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped shallots
- 2 big handfuls crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup low-sodium beef stock
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- fresh chives, to garnish
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add in the shallots and mushrooms and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir for about a minute. Add in the chicken broth, beef stock, and brandy and simmer until the sauce is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes. Add in the cream and stir. (This sauce can be made 1 day ahead. If making ahead, cover at this point and chill until ready to use.)
- Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Melt the other tablespoon of butter in a medium to large skillet over high heat. Add in the steaks and sear on all sides, DO NOT TOUCH STEAKS WHILE SEARING (I seared mine for about 4 minutes per side, and then just quickly seared the edges). Transfer steaks to a plate and and top with aluminum foil to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Pour the sauce into the skillet that you just cooked the steaks in and be sure to scrape up and browned bits in the pan. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve steaks with Mashed Potatoes with Pancetta and Leeks (below), spoon sauce over top, and garnish with chives.
Mashed Potatoes with Pancetta and Leeks
recipe slightly adapted from here
- 12 ounces yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled (this doesn't look like a lot but it's more than enough for two people)
- 3 ounces sliced pancetta, chopped
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup chopped leeks, white and pale green parts only
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 cup carrot, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1/3 cup zucchini, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, saute pancetta in a large skillet over medium- high heat until crisp. Remove from skillet and set aside on a small plate.
- Add one tablespoon of the olive oil to the same skillet. Reduce the heat too medium-low and add in the leeks and dried thyme. Saute until the leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the carrot and saute for another 4 minutes. Finally, add in the zucchini and saute about 1 minute longer, until veggies are crisp-tender.
- Drain the potatoes. You can peel them now too if you wish but I like my mashed potatoes with skin-on. Return the potatoes to the same pot, add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mash away! Stir in the pancetta and vegetable mixture and season with salt and pepper. (This can be made up to 2 hours ahead of time. Keep at room temperature until ready to use and then reheat over low heat.)
No calorie calculations for this meal :)! Valentine's Day is a day for indulging.