Mushroom and Caper-Smothered Chopped Steaks


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 water

4 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.

Warm 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. 

When 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.

When 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.

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