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  • Mary Kay

Sweet Vermouth Mushrooms Make the Steak!

Day 1 of "25 Days of Angels Baking Christmas Memories"

What a wonderful meal for Christmas Eve or any other special day. The easiest steak you can make - Doug's Sweet Vermouth Sauteed Mushrooms are the best with a nice medium rare tenderloin steak.

Doug has made vermouth sauteed mushrooms with steak for decades, and it's still my favorite way to have a steak. He's my real Angel when I can hear him clanking the heavy cast iron fry pans out of the cupboard. He makes this a very special dinner in a very deliberate way. He has everything timed out - it's such a simple meal, but with complex and delicious flavors.

Set your small heavy cast iron pan hot on the burner or grill, medium to medium high, and melt a couple tablespoons of butter. When it's sizzling, he adds the sliced mushrooms and sautés them until they have started to shrink and get a light brown color. Add the sweet vermouth and lower the heat and let them cook until the liquid is mostly gone and the mushrooms have started to caramelize.

This is the stage when Doug has to watch the mushrooms very closely because I start to sneak-taste test them to see if they taste good enough to put on our steaks. In the meantime he has already heated up the large cast iron fry pan on high, and tests the readiness with a few sprinkles of cold water. If drops dance around on the pan, it's ready. Timing the steaks, his mushrooms are done perfectly about the time the steaks are. Topping the steaks with the caramelized mushrooms makes for a delicious dinner for two.

This process chars (not burns) the steaks on both sides, sealing in the precious juices. They will be crisp on the outside and medium rare tender on the inside. My favorite!

Prep your pans:

A 6" cast iron fry pan will work for the mushrooms.

A 9" - 10" cast iron fry pan will work for the steaks.


2 T Butter

1# Button Mushrooms

1/4 C Vermouth, sweet

2 8 oz Tenderloin Steaks, prime

Sauté the Mushrooms:

- Heat the small cast iron pan on medium heat.

- Melt 2 tablespoons until it just begins to get brown.

- Pile the mushrooms into the pan. They will be overflowing, but shrink in a couple of minutes.

- Make sure you slice more mushrooms than you think you will need since they shrink in size as they are sauteed and caramelized. (Compare the mushroom pics.)

- When the mushrooms are a nice light brown, add the sweet vermouth.

- Keep the heat on medium to medium low to allow cook off the sweet vermouth and the mushrooms are caramelized.

- Set aside and keep ready for the frying steaks

In the meantime, fry the steak

- If you are frying the steaks inside, turn on the fan above the stove. This might create some smoke. Don't be alarmed. If you don't like the smoke, just turn the burner down. You might not get the char that Doug gets, but you can still get the top and bottom browned. It just might not turn out to be medium rare.

- Turn your oven on to the warming setting - about 150-170F degrees.

- As soon as you add the mushrooms to the small pan, heat up the large cast iron fry pan on medium to medium high heat on top of the stove for the steak. Doug turns the burner on to medium high to get the best char on the outside of the meat.

- Test the pan by sprinkling some cold water in the middle. If the water drops dance around in the pan, it's ready for the steaks. If you are using an electric stove top burner like we do, it might take a couple of minutes to get the heat up to where you want it.

- Carefully lay the steaks in the pan - they will sizzle.

- Time the steaks, 4 minutes on each side for medium rare. Do not press or pinch the steaks. Do not move them around. Just let them sit and fry without touching them. They will naturally release from the pan at the end of the four minutes.

- At the first 4 minute mark, turn the steaks over and let them fry on the other side. By now you may experience a little smoke - make sure your stove fan is on.

- At the end of the two 4 minute frying times, set the cast iron pan and steaks in the warm oven for 5 minutes. This will help reincorporate the juices evenly throughout the steaks.

- Serve up our steaks with the delicious sweet vermouth mushrooms. It's a combination you will look forward to for every time you prepare a steak.

Tasty sides for Sweet Vermouth Mushrooms and Steaks:

- An old favorite standby you would find in a long gone by supper club would be a nice lettuce side salad with thousand island dressing plus garlic toast.

- Baked potatoes with sour cream and butter are an easy side to fix for these steaks.

- I personally like homemade hash browns or lyonnaise potatoes with these steaks.

- Au gratin potatoes are great for a special occasion. - - You can start baking them in the oven before you start the mushrooms on top of the stove.

- Roasted broccoli is a favorite of mine with fried steaks or pork chops. It's easy. Just cut up a bunch of cleaned broccoli florets onto an extra virgin olive oiled oven safe pan. Add some Mix them together and roast at 400F degrees for about 10 minutes. Longer if you don't like them crunchy.

- And, don't forget dessert. Many of the long gone supper clubs offered desserts like chocolate turtle cheesecake or grasshopper ice cream drinks.

Make a delicious dinner for someone special and "Bake your own Memories."

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