THE WASHINGTON POST – On occasion, I still like to make a ‘Sunday’ dinner. Not like the ones I remember from decades ago with a mountain of golden fried chicken, creamy potato salad, green beans and rolls. These often are less ambitious meals, but they still have that little something extra – that spin that makes you want to set the table, pull out the matching napkins and maybe light a candle.
I do not always wait for Sunday either. I use the term to describe meals that deliver a full-stop, sit-down and enjoy-the-food supper.
What sets these meals apart is the extra effort that goes into at least one dish. The creamed mushroom sauce that I recently spooned atop humble skirt steak is a perfect example of what I am talking about.
I found the mushrooms, appropriately enough, in the cookbook Sunday Dinners: Food, Family and Faith by Diane Cowen.
The mushrooms came from Matthew and Caroline Barnett of Angelus Temple and the Dream Centre in Los Angeles. Caroline Barnett said of Sunday dinner, “There is something about sitting around the table and talking about your day. It puts a reset button on your life.”
That is it exactly. Too often, dinner is something we gobble down after work and before whatever else comes next that evening – more work, homework with the kids, laundry or another Zoom call.
So, every now and then when I stumble across a particularly tasty dish, I use it as an excuse, or a prompt, to re-assess and slow down.
Here, a skirt steak is quickly seared with salt, pepper and herbs, giving you time to make a luscious sauce – even on a time-strapped weeknight.
Thinly sliced onions are sauteed with butter until just starting to caramelise. Sliced mushrooms and garlic are cooked until nearly dry and then cream is quickly stirred in. I took one taste and thought: Mmmmm. We are going to sit down and really enjoy this.
The rich sauce complements beef, but it would elevate a broiled chicken breast, taste great on pan-fried tofu or make you swoon atop homemade mashed potatoes. Serve the sauced meat with your favourite green vegetable or a veg-filled salad, warm up a loaf of sourdough, sit down and enjoy.
SKIRT STEAK WITH CREAMY MUSHROOMS
A skirt steak cooks quickly, giving you time to prepare a creamy mushroom topping that turns a humble cut of meat into an elegant supper worthy of your Sunday table. Try the creamed mushrooms on chicken or on top of mashed potatoes. Serve with green beans or a lightly dressed salad.
Make Ahead: The mushrooms can be made one day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.
Storage Notes: The mushrooms and steak can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to three days.
FOR THE MUSHROOMS
Three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One tablespoon unsalted butter
One medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
Two cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
Ten ounces fresh mushrooms, such as baby bella or button, wiped clean, stemmed and thinly sliced
Quarter teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Quarter teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Half cup stock
One tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
Half cup heavy cream
FOR THE STEAK
One pound skirt steak, cut into four equal pieces
Half teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
One tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or one teaspoon dried (optional)
One tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about three minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, one minute more, then add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Cook until the liquid released by the mushrooms evaporates and the onions and mushrooms wilt, seven to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mushroom mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, decrease the heat to medium.
Add the stock and thyme and stir to combine, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, stirring a couple of times, until the stock evaporates, three to five minutes. Stir in the cream, then taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Let the mushrooms simmer for about two minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Make the steak: Pat the meat dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme, if using.
In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the steak and cook, undisturbed, two to three minutes per side for medium-rare. The meat should be just charred. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, let rest for two minutes and slice thinly against the grain.
Divide the steak among plates. Spoon creamed mushrooms on top and sprinkle with more fresh thyme leaves, if using. Serve warm.
Nutrition | Calories: 517; Total Fat: 37g; Saturated Fat: 14g; Cholesterol: 122mg; Sodium: 494mg; Carbohydrates: 8g; Dietary Fibre: 1g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 27g.