Special meals don’t have to be complicated. These beef medallions are quick and easy. They pair so well with the excellent 2012 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon I received from Cultivar Wine.
Fancy is not a word that I would use to describe my cooking. Most often from scratch, sometimes simple, other times complicated, but not exactly fancy.
But every now and then I get the opportunity to make something a little special. Like when you receive an elegant, yet approachable bottle of fine wine.
I’ve been doing more drink writing in my freelance work lately which has made me make a goal for myself to improve my ability to pair foods and drink. I’m slowly beginning the steps to get the first level Cicerone certification, and I’m taking every opportunity to research and practice good food and wine pairings.
So it was perfect timing when I got the invitation to be part of Cultivar Wine’s Blogger Club. I gladly accepted and that means a few times this year I’ll be sharing about these new wines by pairing them with a new recipe.
The second I tried the 2012 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, I knew it had to be paired with something that had as much depth and flavor that the wine offered. It is my kind of cabernet — there’s the presence of rich fruit, but also the pleasant balance of a peppery, mildly cedar-like notes.
I went for a classic beef pairing with every effort to dress it up with a few of my favorites, which involves mushrooms, garlic, spinach and arugula.
I picked up some bacon wrapped beef tenderloin medallions. You can often find these already cut and wrapped in bacon, but it’s easy enough to do it yourself. Just use some kitchen string and tie it around the medallion to help secure the bacon while it’s seared and baked.
Spinach and arugula are sautéed quickly for a peppery base for the beef. And because, well, you gotta eat your greens. I made the gravy with beef stock because I wanted all the wine flavor to come from the glass and not the meal.
Despite this being a little on the fancy side, it really is super simple to make. A few minutes in the kitchen and you’ll be ready to open up the bottle of wine and enjoy.
- 1 lb. small bacon wrapped beef medallions
- Coarse ground sea salt
- Coarse ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 oz. cremini mushrooms, diced
- 1 tablespoon of unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups beef stock
- 2 inch sprig fresh rosemary
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon fine ground sea salt (optional)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1 1/2 cups chopped arugula
- 1/8 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
- Pinch of coarse ground black pepper
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- Let the beef sit at room temperature about 30 minutes. Lightly sprinkle the medallions with some sea salt and black pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. It's ready when water sprinkled on the surface sizzles. Place the medallions salted side down in the hot skillet. Lightly sprinkle the tops of the medallions with more salt and pepper. Sear for about 2 minutes. Flip and sear for another 90 seconds.
- Transfer the medallions to a baking sheet and bake until the internal temperature reaches between 140 to 145 degrees F for medium to medium-well. (145 degrees F is the safe internal temperature recommended by the USDA.) This took mine about 7 minutes. Cover with foil to let rest and keep warm.
- Turn the heat of the skillet to medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet and add the garlic and shallot. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook 2 more minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Slowly stir in the beef stock, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. Add the rosemary sprig. Increase the heat to high and let the gravy come to low boil, cook for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in the black pepper. Taste the gravy and add more salt based on your preferences. The stock I used was salty enough so I didn't add anymore. Discard the rosemary sprig. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the spinach and arugula and cook for about 1 minute, just until it wilts. Stir in the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Arrange the greens on a serving plate. Top with the medallions and top the medallions with the gravy before serving.
I also can’t forget to mention 2013 Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley Chardonnay. It is as much my kind of chardonnay as the cabernet was my kind of cab. Notes of apple with mild oak. I completely agree with the website’s recommendation for a Dungeness crab pairing. A crab cake or crab salad starter with the chardonnay before digging into the beef medallion and cab would be perfect.
If you’d like to check out Cultivar Wine for yourself, they are offering a special promotion to my readers. Use the code CultivarWineFakeFoodFree when you order and you’ll receive 10 percent off.
Discloser: The wines featured in this post were provided by Cultivar Wine. Thoughts are my own. I only write about products I enjoy.
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