Kirsten’s Kitchen: Searing love for Valentine’s Day

Kirsten's steak with red wine reduction. Photo by Kirsten Lindquist

Valentine’s Day – the hype, the red, the chocolate, the flowers! No matter how you feel about all that, it is hard to avoid. So if you choose to celebrate the day and want to make something intimate at home, I have just the dish for you! 

In keeping with the spirit of love for all, this dish works for everyone – carnivore, vegetarian, even vegans! Thanks to the creative wonder of our modern world, you too can make a delicious red wine reduction sauce for your loved one and serve it over pan-fried steak or portabello mushrooms and you will be adored for your culinary skills. 

This is a relatively quick dish to make, but you do need to stand with the sauce at the stove to get it right. If you are searing mushrooms, make sure to have the oven on low so that you can keep them warm as you make the sauce; for steak, you want it to rest on the counter for at least 10 minutes anyway before cutting, which is about how long it takes to make the sauce.

Seared Steak or Portabello Mushrooms with Red Wine Sauce

(serves 2)

Steak for 2 (ribeye is good choice)


2 Portabello Mushrooms (remove stems and slice lengthwise into ½ inch thick strips


1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, separated (vegan if desired)

1 sprig rosemary or thyme

1 cup stock (beef or mushroom)

½ cup red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar



Preheat oven to 200 degrees if you are making mushrooms. To cook steak, heat heavy bottom skillet such as cast iron over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Pat steaks dry and then salt and pepper well. Use tongs to hold the steaks on their ends, render some of the fat off the steak in the pan, and then swirl to coat the pan. Place steaks in pan and sear for 2 to 3 minutes until a good crust forms, flip and sear the other side. Remove from heat and set aside to rest (unless you like your steak more well done). 

If you are cooking mushrooms, swirl 1 tablespoon of olive oil around your skillet and place the mushrooms cut side down and sear for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and sear other side. Place in the oven to stay warm while you prepare the sauce.

Using the same skillet you seared the steak or mushrooms in, turn heat down to medium, add 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl to melt. Add shallots and stir often for 1 to 2 minutes until they begin to soften; do not let them burn. Add rosemary or thyme and red wine and allow to reduce by at least half. Add the stock and balsamic vinegar and allow the liquid to reduce by half, seasoning with salt after adding the stock. Be careful with salt if you are using store bought stock. Once liquid has reduced again, taste and cut your final tablespoon of butter into smaller pieces, and whisk into the sauce. It should thicken slightly and coat the back of a spoon. Add pepper to taste and spoon over your mushrooms or steak.




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