One of these days I’ll learn to plan my meals at the start of the week and shop for groceries accordingly, but until then, I’ll just keep on buying the staple items each week and throw in a few random items to make something out of. This week the random items were baby bella mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in a jar. Hmmm…what to do with these?
What luck, I found a recipe called, “Ribeye Steaks & Sun Dried Tomato Mushroom Sauce” on the Beef It’s What’s For Dinner website. Oh my goodness, can you say F L A V O R!!? I knew by the title that some seriously rich flavor could be expected, but goodness, I was quite surprised at just how flavorful this turned out to be!
There’s a little magic that happens when you mix and marry certain food ingredients and has to do with our 5th taste receptor, umami. Umami is the Japanese word for delicious. It describes the meaty, savory or delicious flavors we taste. OK, little biochemistry lesson here. There are three naturally occurring compounds that are sources of that rich umami taste. Proteins are made up of amino acids and one amino acid in particular, called Glutamic Acid is one of them. The second source comes from glutamates, salts of amino acids. The third natural source of umami is from nucleotides which are the building blocks of nucleic acids. Beef actually contains all three of these umami rich compounds! When you combine more than one umami containing food, you can actually maximize the umami taste by as much as 8 times. Other umami containing foods include mushrooms, tomatoes, aged or fermented cheese and soy products. With all that said, you can see why I knew this recipe would be rich with flavor just based on the name! Beef, truly ripe tomatoes and mushrooms!! Let’s get at it!
First order of business is to make the mushroom sauce.
Start by slicing your fresh mushrooms (4 ounces). Sauté the mushrooms in a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 minced garlic clove. When the mushrooms have cooked down (2-3 minutes), add your beef broth (1 can = 14.5 ounces) along with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. (The original recipe suggest removing the mushrooms before adding the broth, but I actually forgot to do this and the mushrooms married with the broth just fine as it reduced into a thick sauce. I didn’t have any cooking wine on hand so I just nixed that ingredient all together.) Dry red wine also contains umami flavor compounds so that would have been a very rich addition to the sauce had I had any! Let the broth simmer in the pan for about 10 minutes until it thickens into a beautiful sauce. Meanwhile, I pulled out about 5 sun-dried tomatoes from their jar and sliced them very thin. When the sauce had thickened I added in the tomatoes. Remove from heat and pour into a gravy boat until the steaks are ready.
I washed out the same frying pan and used it to pan-fry the steaks. I dried the steaks and rubbed each side with some ground black pepper and salt. (I actually used ribeye cap steaks instead of the full ribeye steak.) When the pan was nice and hot with a light coating of olive oil on it, I laid each of the steaks in and let them sizzle. It only took a few minutes to cook each side. When they pulled up from the surface of the pan easily, I knew they were ready to turn. To bring the internal temperature of the steaks up to 140 degrees, I put a lid on the pan and let them cook a little longer.
Steaks cooked, sauce made, it’s show time!
As you can see, I paired the steaks with pasta and sautéed spinach. The semi-bland pasta helped balance the incredibly rich mushroom sauce.
Full recipe here. I’m not kidding, this is a winner! It was really simple, I actually had most of the ingredients in my kitchen already and the finished product was quite a treat!