Mushroom and Caper-Smothered Chopped Steaks
This is a slightly modified
rendition of the dish I prepared for my brother Tom’s last meal. I visited him
for a few days in 2008 in our hometown as he was dying. And although he was no
longer eating solid food, he wanted to have one final meal for our other
brother, several old friends, and me, and enjoy our company as we ate.
The dish I prepared for that
midday meal drew on the modest food that we ate in our childhood, “chopped steaks.”.
I bought all the ingredients at the old grocery store down in the village where
we always shopped. I remember how I made this because I wrote it up at the time
for a different blog I was then writing.
The recipe serves six.
2 pounds freshly ground sirloin or chuck
1 pound mushrooms (“baby bella” preferred)
3 English muffins, split
Butter or olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons red wine
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream or 1/2 cup cream cheese plus 3/4 cup water4 tablespoons capers, drained
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
Parsley for garnish, optional
Shape 6 burgers 1/2-inch thick, evenly flat and a little wider than the English muffins. Rinse mushrooms, trim off bottom 1/8 inch of stems. Slice mushrooms 1/4-inch thick.
oven to 150 degrees.
Heat large frying pan to medium high. Add several tablespoons butter or olive oil. Place split muffins cut side down and fry until just golden. Turn them over to briefly heat the backs. Transfer toasted muffins to a platter in the warm oven.
Heat the pan to hot. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on one side of the burgers and place them in the pan, seasoned side down. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the tops. After one minute, slide a spatula under burgers and turn them over. Fry one minute, then turn them and reduce the heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until desired degree of doneness.
cooked, place burgers on the English muffin halves and keep warm in the oven.
Pour off all except 1 1/2 tablespoons of grease or, if there’s not enough, add a little butter or olive oil. Over medium heat, fry mushrooms, sprinkled with 3/8 teaspoon salt, stirring often with a spatula. As mushrooms begin to shed some liquid and shrink, add pepper, and red wine, and continue to stir and fry.
wine has reduced by half, add the half-and-half or cream cheese and water and
cook mixture down to half, stirring frequently. Stir in drained capers and the
horseradish. Remove pan from heat. After a minute, taste and add a little salt
if needed (capers are fairly salty).
Place burger-topped English muffins on dinner plates. Spoon mushroom-caper sauce over top. Garnish with a sprig of parsley, if desired. Accompany with a glass of red wine.