Steak Marsala – Would Julia Child Approve?

My husband got me some fabulous books for Christmas. Volume 1 & 2 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and a photography reference book to help me with my pictures.  The photography book is a great refresher for me and gives me a better idea of what I need to explore more thoroughly.  And the cookbooks are wonderful.  There are several recipes I want to try.

A few nights ago my son had a friend over who enjoys good food so I thought I’d make the garlic soup from the books.  Needless to say despite following the recipe I didn’t like it.  More on another post about that adventure but I had to quickly come up with plan B!  Fortunately we had bought the ingredients for another meal so I went with that instead.

The inspiration came from Julia Child and her recipe for Filet Steaks with Mushroom and Madeira Sauce.   I couldn’t find Madeira wine and I made a few other changes.  This meal has lovely deep flavours but is easy to put together.  We don’t eat large portions, in fact one person commented on a dish I made saying it was a delicious starter!  So I only bought about a pound of steak filet for 5 of us.  I also did up roast potatoes, parsnips, and carrots.

Mince half of a large shallot or a whole small one and slice several mushrooms.  As I was prepping the meal I played around with settings on my camera.  This shot was using the P setting.  Came out very different from what I was expecting!

Steak marsala 1 2013

Then I switched back to regular settings:

Steak marsala 2 2013

In a saute pan melt 2T of butter with 1T of olive oil.  Saute the mushrooms for a few minutes until they start to brown then add the shallots to soften.  At this point I started deviating from the recipe and added some fresh thyme to the dish.

Steak marsala 3 2013

Once the mushrooms are browned and the shallots are softened remove from the heat and set aside.  In a skillet melt a few more T of butter and a T of olive oil.  You want this to get hot without burning the butter so pay attention to the colour of the butter.  Season the steak with salt and pepper then pan sear for a few minutes on each side until you have the doneness you are looking for.  We prefer ours medium rare.

Steak marsala 4 2013

Remove and cover to rest.  Pour out about half the fat.  Again deviating from the recipe I added a cup of veg bouillon to deglaze and set that to simmer.  Add a spoonful of tomato paste and begin to reduce a bit.  Because I wanted enough to go on the steak plus the roast veg I didn’t reduce down to the couple of tablespoons that it called for.  I reduced it about a third.

Steak marsala 5 2013

Add the mushroom mixture and a third of a cup of marsala wine.  Simmer and reduce again.  Slice the steak and spoon the sauce with mushrooms over the steak.

Steak marsala 7 2013

The sauce was rich and layered in flavour.  My son, who’s not a fan of mushrooms, enjoyed it as well.

Steak marsala 8 2013

Thank goodness for plan B and here’s hoping Julia Child wouldn’t mind.  🙂


20 thoughts on “Steak Marsala – Would Julia Child Approve?

  1. This really does sound delicious. Isn’t it funny about soups sometimes. I love caramelised onions and eventually made a French onion soup recently – and couldn’t eat it. Will the same happen with roasted garlic? And I have a recipe for a Spanish garlic soup on my HD somewhere. Perhaps it’s best if it stays there 🙂

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