Friday, April 13, 2012

Beef Tenderloin Medallions with Caramelized Tomato Mushroom Pan Sauce – I’m Glad I Used All Clad

My friends at All Clad recently sent me an invitation to take part in a contest to develop a recipe showing off their 10-inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan. After carefully considering the offer for several seconds, I let them know I’d be thrilled to participate, and even more thrilled to accept their free pan.

After a little brainstorming, I decided seared beef medallions with pan sauce would best highlight the benefits of using this type of pan. Once I decided on a general direction, it was time to pick ingredients. For medallion meat, I chose soft and buttery tenderloin. For the pan sauce, I went with mushrooms and tomato, as I knew they’d allow me to show how spectacular a sauce one can achieve with proper caramelization.

There are two huge advantages to high-quality cookware (three, if you count how cool they look hanging on your pot rack). Because the steel is thicker and denser, the pan not only retains heat much better, but it distributes that heat very evenly. In this recipe, the advantages of both are seen quite clearly.

First of all, we’re able to do a very high-heat sear, with the surface of the medallions getting a beautiful brown crust, while the inside stays nice and rare, thanks to the short cooking time the pan’s heat retention affords.

Secondly, as we’re caramelizing the mushrooms and tomato sauce, you can see the advantages of superior heat distribution. This sauce is very easy, but if you’re using a thin, cheap pan, you’re going to get “hot spots,” which makes browning the sauce base more difficult. Certain areas will scorch and burn quickly, and you don’t get nice even caramelization. Here, you can see that wasn't an issue.

Above and beyond the advantages of the cookware, the recipe tasted amazing. I mean, come on, I can’t give the pan all the credit. It’s one of those dishes that unless someone watched you make it, they’d never believe how fast and simple it is to prepare. By the way, this wonderful sauce would work just as well with pork, veal, or chicken. 

Anyway, thanks to All Clad for the pan and invitation to participate in this contest. I can’t wait to see what other bloggers are participating, and what they’re making. Please stay tuned for more details and results in the near future. In the meantime, I hope you give this great recipe a try soon. Enjoy!



(Since this was for a contest, I was forced to type up the recipe!)

Seared Beef Tenderloin Medallions with Caramelized Tomato & Mushroom Pan Sauce

For 4 servings:

2 lbs beef tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 8 (4-oz) medallions, about 1-inch thick (this will also work with chicken breasts or pork chops)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil for searing
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
8-10 white button mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup marinara sauce (mine had basil and garlic in it, but any prepared tomato sauce will work)
1/3 cup Marsala wine
1 cup veal stock or chicken broth
2 tsp freshly chopped oregano leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

Season beef medallions generously with salt and pepper to taste. Put vegetable oil in a stainless steel pan, and place over high heat. When the oil just begins to smoke, sear the beef for about 2 minutes per side. The meat should get a nice brown crust, but do not cook all the way through, as it will finish cooking in the sauce. Turn off heat, and remove beef to a plate, and reserve until needed.

Add the butter and olive oil to the pan, and place over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until very well browned. Add the tomato sauce, and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the tomato sauce thickens and caramelizes on to the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the Marsala wine, and raise heat to high. As the wine comes up to a boil, use a wooden spoon to scrap any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. When almost all the wine has evaporated, add the stock or broth. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by about half.

Reduce the heat to low, and add the beef medallions back in. Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, or until the meat is heated through and cooked to your preference. You can add more stock if sauce seems too thick.

Remove the medallions, and divide on four hot plates. Turn the heat off under the sauce, and stir in the oregano and cold butter. Stir constantly until butter has disappeared into the sauce. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed. Spoon over meat and serve immediately. Enjoy!

View the complete recipe

46 comments:

Madonna said...

Like I said before, I can’t believe you can give such a thorough lesson in six minutes. BTW since you said, “Nothing says you don’t care like serving food on a cold plate”, I always warm my plates because you said so. Thanks again.

Anna said...

I'm writing my list for grocery shopping, and making sure to get some good beef for this recipe. So it's a real treat having you write up the recipe for us (even if it's for a contest ;) Goodluck - it looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

John, another winner. Just made this for the wife and I and it was delish! Going to the keeper drawer :) thanks, Joe V

Sandra from Montreal said...

OMG that looks amazing. Mushrooms and beef have got to be one of the best combinations of all time :)
Can't wait to try this! How did you do the lovely looking spaghetti that you served along side? Thanks again for yet another wonderful recipe to add to my repetoire :)

Chef John said...

Thanks!! It's the cut spaghetti I used in the video a while ago, this was just with tomato sauce.

Bob Walters said...

What you say about the pan is true (i.e. heavier is better from a heat standpoint), but there's more to it. Stainless steel is attractive for cooking because it is easy to clean, it's not too expensive, it looks good even when it'ss old (unlike most people) and it is rugged. However, the thermal conductivity (ability to transfer heat and avoid hot spots) isn't very good and the specific heat (ability to "hold" heat)isn't either. One solution is to simply use a heavier pan, but SS still isn't very good. The folks at Al Clad overcome this problem by sandwiching aluminum between two layers of SS. Aluminum conducts heat up to 15 times better than SS and it has roughly twice the ability to "hold" heat. But aluminum isn't very scratch resistant, it's not particularly strong,it looks old when it's old, and some say aluminum leaches out into the food and causes Alzheimer's disease and some other stuff I can't remember right now.

Therefore the clad aluminum/Stainless construction is ideal, so we can enjoy the good properties of both materials.

. said...

That looks soo delicious.
I like that you added tomato sauce and that you left the cream out and just used a dab of butter to thicken the sauce.
That way the sauce has to taste more "natural".
I will give this a try as soon as possible.
Thanks for the inspiration. :)

vivek said...

Another amazing dish. I have been using the recipes from this blog for some time now and its just been one great tasting meal after another.
One criticism I have is that while chef John draws inspiration from so many different cultures and food traditions I see very little Indian cuisine represented. If this continues the fine foodies of Indian origin will interpret this as an act of war.
As the official ambassador of all Indian people that enjoy this blog I warn you that the consequences of such continued flippancy may be dire; these include but are not limited to the intense sadness of over a billion people :(

Thanks for all the great meals!

cb said...

Hi Chef - nice dish! I have a nice pair of tenderloin steaks in my fridge for this weekend I was looking to do a nice steak and sauce with so you read my mind. Nice on the All Clad freebie too. :) Any significant benefit in flavor or juiciness to buttering a tenderloin cut (or other high meat cut) before you season & sear? I read about this and was wanting to ask you this question. It seems to me you would burn the butter but figured I would ask. I have seen chefs toss butter onto the steaks AFTER searing and finish in an oven but was not sure if this was the same thing. Thanks for all you do and I'll be making this recipe this weekend. Yum!

Deej Twombly said...

Congrats on your 700th! Well I guess this 701th...Been a big fan for a few years now and look forward to every post!!

I have learned soooo much and hope you keep going strong! Can't wait to try this beef dish tonight! Thanks from Salem, MA!

Deej

Chef John said...

Yes, you can sear in butter if you want! Just a matter of taste. The butter will get nutty brown at that heat unless you clarify it 1st.

axel14222 said...

I made this tonight. Unfortunately, the mushrooms which I bought at an upscale large local supermarket were infested with tiny bugs, so I tossed them. I substituted onion for the mushrooms and Cabernet Sauvignon for the Marsala. I'm sure my end result was different than yours, Chef, but it really was quite good. I didn't have the heart to throw out the excess sauce. I served this dish with your pierogi. Also, I used a Revere Ware copper clad stainless steel pan that is probably 60 years old. It worked well. Thanks for another keeper.

Anonymous said...

"and some say aluminum leaches out into the food and causes Alzheimer's disease and some other stuff I can't remember right now." -badump, tssssh!

Sorry, but this dish is begging for a little sour cream and paprika.

Anonymous said...

Nice Porsche!

Trying this one for dinner this week.

Happy over 700!

I would say, Congrats on joining the 700 club but I'm from the South East and The "700 Club", is a local Christian cult.

MEO

agnesmargaretha said...

I will try to do it. definitely. So simple yet healthy. Thank you Chef John!

Greetings from Indonesia :)

lisa0116 said...

Chef, I make this dish often with chicken thighs. It's a scrumptious meal. I use a 25 year old revere ware copper clad bottom pan every time. Love my stainless steel set I invested in 25 years ago. Still looks new after a ton of cooking and always cleans up easy.

Lisa in Atlanta

philogaia said...

I have been slowly (ever so slowly due to the cost) collecting a few All Clad pieces and I don't know how I ever did without them. I have one stainless skillet, a 12 inch and it is indeed what I use for meats and pan sauces. I love cooking in my iron skillets for many things but I prefer this pan for sauces because the metal doesn't react with the acid in the sauces. I've spoiled myself rotten with this great cookware.

I do a lot of pounded thin chicken thighs and pork tenderloin with this technique. The occasional piece of beef... As you say, easy and fabulous.

Sam said...

Hi Chef John, greeting from Brisbane Australia!
Made this recipe for dinner tonight, and have to say it was great! Easy to make, yet very tasty. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes, I watch every single one...

David said...

That's a fancy looking knife.
What brand is it? If you don't mind me asking...

OH and fantastic recipe.

Chef John said...

Porche. It was a gift! :)

LibStre said...

Hi Chef John--I prepared this dish last night and could not believe that such deliciousness (Is that a word?) came out of my kitchen. Everyone at the table agreed that recipes like this one would make us never go to a restaurant again. Looking forward to preparing this sumptuous dish soon. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
You must have learned to cook from me! That's exactly the way I cook our steaks and 'shrooms. But when I do the pasta I break them short and sautee it (some will brown...good) in the oil left from the mushrooms and tomatoes (from a can with sauce which I strain so I can get a better sear on the tomatoes) and then add back a little of the saved tomato sauce, it adds another dimension to the pasta. Try it.
Yvonne

rock said...

love you - but --
you posted for 4 and cooked for 2
did you have 2 pans ?

Chef John said...

I only made 2. I would have used a larger pan to do 4. I posted the amounts for 4 for the contest.

Anonymous said...

Chef John! I can't eat beef and neither does my family and friend's because we are practicing Buddhists. Can I substitute this with pork? Would it still work good or do I have to adjust the timings? Thanks so much! I watch your videos from so long ago. You just keep improving and it really inspires me.

Chef John said...

Use any meat you want!! Enjoy!

Dan and Hilary said...

Chef John, you have done it again with this amazing technoque and flavor profile! I made this tonight for my wife and it was fantastic, probably my favorite pan sauce of yours I have tried so far, so tangy and robust!

I did not have Marsala or fresh Oregeno, but I did have a full bodied red and some fresh parsley and it totally worked. Next time I splurge on filet of beef tenderloin I will be fully prepared for the awesomeness, and will try it with Marsala.

Please keep posting your fantastic recipes. I have really learned how to really step it up as a home cook with the help of your videos ove the last few years. Plus, who knew cooking could be the precedent for so many bad, but hilarious jokes?

Chef John said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Can you please give some advice for people that have to use an electric stove top versus gas. I am new to electric and tried this recipe as you wrote it and almost burnt it. I did however salvage it and it came out awesome! My question is: How to adjust the heat for a recipe that is being cooked with gas on an electric stove top. Thanks for ALL YOU DO!

Chef John said...

I never use electric, but even if I did, there wouldnt be much info I could give since they all have different settings. Sorry!

cookinmom said...

What else do you use grape seed oil for????

Chef John said...

For anything. It's flavorless.

Anonymous said...

Can i substitute tomato sauce with tomato paste? thanks!

Dan Loftus said...

Hi Chef!

I picked up a Marsala "Sweet" wine, as opposed to the "Dry". Will this work for tonights dinner? Or should I go get the dry?

Chef John said...

I much prefer the dry! The sweet is dessert wine and not as good IMO.

Dan Loftus said...

Chef,

You Rock! I went a bought the dry Marsala, fixed it per your excellent directions, and could not believe the look on my guests face! They said thanks (several times) for the 5 star dinner!

Thank you very much!

Jake said...

I used to be a le cruset man, now though, it is all about the All Clad. Thank you Chef John for all you have done to improve my cooking.

Anonymous said...

Hello Chef!

I was just wondering...how do you always keep your stainless steel pans nice, shiny, and brown-spot free!

Also! Thank you for your videos, I have made so many things already! My cooking has definitely improved a lot.

Chef John said...

Not sure, just wash in soap and water.

Janie Dee said...

Anonymous I put my pan back on the burner with water and soap if needed. If that doesn't work you can use Bar Keepers Friend. Just remember to rewash with soap and water. Hope that helps.

McShine said...

I love this recipe, the sauce is amazing! However, I'm a little confused about one thing: I've learned from a friend who works as a chef, that you should never salt a steak before frying it, because the salt draws out the water from the meat and makes it dry and chewy. However, I've noticed that you always salt your steaks before frying them, and they seem perfectly juicy. So what's the correct way to do it? I'd appreciate your input on this :)

Chef John said...

Your friend is wrong. Did the meat look dry to you? ;)

Sharena said...

I made this for Valentine's Day dinner for my meat-eating boyfriend (I'm a vegetarian). Followed the instructions very carefully and it turned out perfectly. I got so many points for this! :]

kathiguam said...

This was absolutely delicious! The only downside to this recipe is that hubby doesn't eat meat or mushrooms so I had it all to myself. :-D

nadya said...

chef john, i want to make this for dinner for my in laws (so your answer to this question is abscolutelt essential!). is it ok if i sear the beef and make the sauce a day ahead and then finish reducing/cooking the medallions when i get back home from work the next day and before they show up for dinner?? please say yes.

Chef John said...

yes, but much harder to get meat perfect reheating!