Strip loin steaks and hedgehog mushrooms- the perfect combination

I bought some beautiful strip loin steaks the other day, and later found some hedgehog mushrooms. These two ingredients were the inspiration for this easy, warm-weather meal.

If you haven’t tried hedgehog mushrooms, give them a try. They have short seasons and are usually only available in spring or fall. They’re similar to chantrelles both in colour and flavour. They’re a visually appealing mushroom, so minimal effort is needed to prep them- let the mushrooms be the star of the show! Like all mushrooms, they must be well cleaned and dried before cooking, so make sure to get all the dirt out of their crevices before you begin.

To showcase my beautiful hedgehog mushrooms, I prepared them two ways- a mushroom cream sauce to compliment my gorgeous steaks, and tossed with thinly sliced red peppers and cherry tomatoes for an earthy, simple side.

Because strip loin is already tender and flavourful on its own, it needs very little work done to it to make it perfect. I pan-seared my steaks, but they also work very well on a BBQ. In either case, all you need to do to get these steaks ready is brush them lightly with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Make sure your grill or pan is really hot and clean before you begin searing. Sear for about a minute on each side, just until a nice crust has developed on the surface of the steak. If grilling, flip once or twice and leave the steaks on the grill until the desired doneness is reached. For cross hatching marks, rotate the steaks 90 degrees on both sides, so that the grill marks create a cross hatched impression. My basic rule of thumb for testing the meat is to check its firmness. An easy way to do this is to use the palm test- make a light fist with almost no pressure, and use your other hand to press on the palm of your fisted hand. That feeling is the equivalent to a rare piece of meat. A tighter fist produces the feeling of a medium piece of meat, and the tightest fist you can make is the equivalent to a well done steak.

I prefer my steaks to be very rare, so I only sear the outside and then allow them to rest, producing a bright red interior. However, if pan-searing and seeking a more well-done steak, pop the seared steaks into a 350F oven for a few minutes to continue cooking. Just remember, steaks need a good 15 minutes at least to rest, and in that time they do continue cooking. Remove the steaks before you think they’re done, so they will be perfect by the time you eat them.

Because I used a pan to sear my steak, I deglazed that same pan with a bit of white wine and some chicken stock, and allowed the liquids to reduce until the pan was nearly dry again. This is the pan I used to make my mushroom cream sauce. Of course, if you are grilling your steaks, you can make this sauce using a clean pan, and just begin at this next step. Start by melting a bit of butter over medium heat, and sautéing ¼ onion that has been finely diced. Add the mushrooms, along with a pinch of salt, and allow the onions and mushrooms to cook down for a few minutes. If you missed the deglazing step, now would be a great time to throw in about a tablespoon worth of white wine, and just allow the alcohol to cook out and all the flavours to combine for a few minutes. Add the cream, and lower the heat, allowing the whole thing to reduce to the desired consistency. The end result is a creamy, chunky, rustic mushroom sauce that will complement your dinner perfectly.

The other mushroom side doesn’t take long at all, so do it right at the end. In a clean pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, finely sliced red peppers, and cherry tomatoes, along with a bit of thyme and some salt and pepper. Sautee just until everything has cooked down lightly, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Steak and mash are natural partners, and I happened to have three big potatoes that needed to be used. A good trick for perfect, fluffy mashed potatoes is to mash them without any butter or cream being added, and then whisk the butter and cream into the mash for a smooth finish. A finely minced garlic clove will punch up the flavour to create garlic mash, although this is completely optional.

Once all the elements of the meal are ready, plating is simple. Start with a scoop of mash, followed by a generous helping of veg, and place the steak lightly on top of both, to showcase it as the star of the show. Because the mushrooms were also my stars, they are spooned carefully over the meat, but if a bit of the sauce falls onto the mash and veg, all the better!

Strip loin steaks

You will need

2-4 good quality strip loin steaks

¼ cup vegetable oil (for brushing)

Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat a pan or grill until it is very hot.
  2. Brush the steaks with a small amount of oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper
  3. Sear steaks for one or two minutes on each side, and then continue to cook until desired doneness is reached.
  4. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving

 

Hedgehog mushroom cream sauce

You will need:

1 tbsp butter

2 cups hedgehog mushrooms (or chantrelles), chopped lightly

¼ onion, finely diced

2 tbsp white wine

1 tbsp chicken stock

¼ cup 35% cream

1 stalk of thyme, leaves removed

Method:

  1. In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, melt ½ tbsp butter and cook onion until translucent.
  2. Add  white wine and chicken stock, allowing to reduce until very little liquid remains in the pan.
  3. Add the mushrooms and thyme, and cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms have cooked down slightly.
  4. Add the cream, and reduce heat to low.
  5. Add the rest of the butter, and continue reducing until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Hedgehog mushrooms, sautéed with red pepper and cherry tomatoes

You will need:

1 cup hedgehog mushrooms

½ red pepper, sliced thinly

8 cherry tomatoes

1 stalk of thyme, leaves removed

1 tbsp butter

Method:

  1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter.
  2. Place mushrooms, thyme, red pepper and tomatoes into the pan with a pinch of salt, and sautee lightly for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
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