Monday, March 2, 2015

Steak au Poivre and Asparagus/Mushroom Risotto

Whenever I think of risotto, a very favorite dish, I can't help but  think back to 2003 when we were traveling in Italy.  We were in the Piedmont, traveling in Northern Italy.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel on Lago d'Orta.  We were seated outside overlooking the picturesque lake and I was sick.  Flu symptoms and just feeling punky.  The menu sounded so good, but I told the waiter that I just could not eat.  He was most sympathetic and asked my symptoms.  I told him that my stomach was having a war with itself.

Immediately, he asked if he could order something for me. " I  will talk to the chef and bring out something that will taste wonderful," he said, and so he did.

I had the most delicious dish of risotto placed before me.  It was perfect food for a jumpy stomach.  Since then, my love for risotto has only grown.  It even tastes better when I am not ill.

Shopping for groceries, I saw a 2 pound bag of fresh asparagus and one whole pound went into my risotto along with mushrooms.  Though both the Trout and I were each in charge of 2 burners getting this dinner on the table, it turned out to be a very great meal.

Steak au Poivre

Adapted from Bistro24 at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix

Servings:  4

3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
Four 3/4 inch thick beef strip steaks (about 8 oz. each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whiskey

Coarsely crush peppercorns.  Pat the steaks dry and then brush with oil on both sides.  Gently press the peppercorns to coat both sides.  Season both sides of steak with salt.

In a large skillet over medium high, heat the oil.  When it is hot, reduce heat to medium and cook the steaks for 4 minutes on each side until medium rate.  Transfer to a place and cover while making the pan sauce.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the shallots.  Cook over medium heat, stirring 1 minute.  Add the wine, bring to boil and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan until reduced by three-quarters.  Add the stock and cream, bring to a boil, then simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.  Add juices from the plate of resting meat, whisk in mustard and whiskey.

Transfer steak to serving plates, spoon sauce over each.

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto
Recipe by Deseree Kazda, "Life's Ambrosia"
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound asparagus, bottom inch discarded, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine

In pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook asparagus and mushrooms until softened, about 7 minutes.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cover and keep warm.

In pot, heat broth over medium heat and keep warm while preparing risotto.

In another pot, heat butter and remaining olive oil over medium heat.  Once butter melts, stir in shallots and cook just until softened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in arborio rice just until coated in the butter.  Do not brown.  Pour in wine and and cook until wine absorbs.  Pour one ladle of hot brother over rice and stir consistently until liquid is absorbed.  Repeat until all the broth is used and absorbed.  Stir in asparagus and mushrooms.  Serve immediately.


  1. Risotto does sound like the best cure for a jumpy tummy. But on the other hand, yours looks like a perfect meal with your steak. Don't you love working together in the kitchen. We do that all of the time. We will be in Northern Italy in September. Looking forward to it.

    1. Northern Italy is a favorite location of ours. Something wonderful to look forward to.

  2. He definitely knew the cure! Your steak sounds delicious! And the mushroom risotto with asparagus is a must try. Thanks for the recipes, Susan! Take care.

  3. Leave it to the French to find a cure for everything through food. Your pretty risotto goes so well with a perfectly cooked steak. We love working together in the kitchen. Actually we do almost everything together. We'll be in Provence this spring and plan to pop over to Italy for a day or so. Can't wait.

    1. It's too early in the morning for me. Sorry, I meant to say the "Italians," not the French. Think I need more coffee.....

  4. You two are a dynamic duo on the range top! Evan and I would probably have an elbowing war! LOL! I love that that Italian waiter was able to come up with the perfect dish for your jumpy tummy.
    I'm hungry now. ;) blessings ~ tanna

  5. What a nice story, Susan. No wonder this dish is special to you. That is one delicious looking meal.

  6. Oh my, what a wonderful dinner. I've never paired steak with risotto but I'm wondering why I haven't!

  7. This sounds like the most satisfying and delicious feast, Susan....But what I liked reading best was how the waiter was concerned with your feeling ill and how he and the chef came up with something to help you. Some of my loveliest memories of food have to do with Italy!

  8. Both dishes look delicious Susan.

  9. Oh yum will give this risotto a try it sounds wonderful. Hope you are both well Diane

  10. Oh yum will give this risotto a try it sounds wonderful. Hope you are both well Diane