Turn your dining room into a steakhouse in three easy steps: 1) Pick up two nice rib-eyes or strip steaks from your local butcher; 2) follow the 20-minute recipe below; and 3) pop open one of these restaurant-worthy wine bottles recommended by a longtime sommelier. Easy? Yes. There is, however, an important fourth step: Before you dig in, clink glasses to spending a fraction of what you would have at an actual steakhouse.
Steak and Mushrooms in Cabernet Au Jus: Mix 2 tablespoons tarragon-Dijon mustard and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Spread mustard over 2 rib-eye or strip steaks (6-8 ounces each), coating both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook steaks to desired doneness, turning once, about 5 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter. Add 4 ounces sliced mushrooms to skillet; cook, stirring and adding more oil if needed, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cabernet sauvignon; cook, stirring up browned bits, to reduce wine slightly, 5 minutes. Pour mushrooms and sauce over steaks. Makes: 2 servings
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Pairings by sommelier Ryan Arnold, divisional wine director for Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, as told to Michael Austin:
2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red Wine, Contra Costa County, California: An old-vine field blend dominated by carignan, mourvedre and zinfandel, this wine is at once dark, juicy, gamey and floral, with the earthy flavors of mushrooms and the body to match perfectly with steak. The carignan adds a bright, refreshing burst of red fruit that will cut through the sauce and make you want to go back for another bite.
2014 Domaine Jamet Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes, France: This entry-level syrah from a Cote-Rotie master over-delivers on its own and will be great with this steak. The natural flavors of syrah (rosemary, olive, black pepper, purple flowers) will add even more complexity to the dish, but the structure of syrah is what makes this paring work. Rich and round, with silky tannins, it is not as astringent as cabernet sauvignon but just as powerful.
2014 Castello di Ama “Ama” Chianti Classico, Italy: Many chiantis aren’t perfect matches for steak, even if bistecca alla fiorentina (porterhouse) is the most-celebrated Tuscan dish. But because of the high elevation of Castello di Ama vineyards, these grapes can hang longer and develop more before picking. This makes the flavors deeper and the mouthfeel richer while still maintaining a refined acidity, a wonderful partner to such a juicy dish.