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Valentines day dinner for wife who likes her steak "well done."

pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 11:58 AM

I'm cooking dinner for my wife on Valentine's day, and I know she prefers her steak well done (basically, she doesn't want to see red--she calls that "well done" but perhaps I can get away with medium/medium well). I wanted to do something special, like filet mignon, but I'm worried that it won't be very good if I cook it to her specifications. I also want to make a bearnaise sauce because, well, it's amazing and I've never made it before.
Do you think I'd be better off choosing a different cut? What cut would you recommend that would be OK cooked past medium rare and would also take the bearnaise sauce well?
Also, can you recommend some quick sides? I won't have much time to make the meal as I get out of work somewhat late...

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  1. monavano RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 12:42 PM

    Ribeye has more marbling, so it can bring the flavor and perhaps remain tender as you cook the life out of it ;-)
    But, it really depends of what your wife likes. If filet "wows" her, then do filet, by all means.
    Sides? Simple oven roasted brussel sprouts, asparagus, or cauliflower.
    What's nice about an oven roasted veg. is that you just put it on a baking sheet with evoo, s+p and let the oven do the work while you attend to other things.
    Pommes Anna can be made ahead of time and reheated later.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano
      Red Oakley RE: monavano Feb 13, 2014 04:23 PM

      I'd never heard of Pommes Anna. Just spent 10 minutes salivating over various recipes online. Thank you for educating me!

    2. r
      rjbh20 RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 12:44 PM

      Filet is the least flavorful cut, since it has almost no marbling, and cooking it to well done or thereabouts is going to make it even more tasteless. Maybe a boneless ribeye? And the bearnaise sauce is a good ideal, regardless.

      SIdes? Pommes frites, of course. And a sprig of watercress if you're so inclined.

      1. monavano RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 12:49 PM

        You *could* even do frozen fries as a side.
        DH and I love Zesties, and I'm not proud, so yeah, I eat and really enjoy them!

        Lucky wife, btw!

        1 Reply
        1. re: monavano
          melpy RE: monavano Feb 14, 2014 06:44 AM

          Gosh I miss those Zestie fries.

        2. d
          DowntownJosie RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 01:02 PM

          How about beef stroganoff? It is usually made with filet so it is a quick dish to put together. Serve it with egg noodles and a salad.
          Bearnaise, hollandaise, beurre blanc are good with fish as well. I think butter sauces go well with most proteins and vegetables.

          12 Replies
          1. re: DowntownJosie
            hotoynoodle RE: DowntownJosie Feb 13, 2014 02:16 PM

            never heard of stroganoff being made with filet mignon, but anything is possible.

            op, does your wife actually like steak? many who order meat well done don't actually care for the flavor. if she does like it? cook it the way she likes if this meal is for her. :)

            steamed broccoli or green beans make a quick side dish. as do sauteed mushrooms.

            1. re: hotoynoodle
              marcyfitz RE: hotoynoodle Feb 13, 2014 02:31 PM

              I never make my beef stroganoff with anything BUT filet mignon -- used the recipe out of The Gourmet Cookbook the first time I made it and it was so good I never looked for another.

              1. re: marcyfitz
                magiesmom RE: marcyfitz Feb 13, 2014 03:12 PM

                Me either.

              2. re: hotoynoodle
                DowntownJosie RE: hotoynoodle Feb 13, 2014 02:34 PM

                It is really delicious with filet. You should give it a try.

                1. re: hotoynoodle
                  linguafood RE: hotoynoodle Feb 13, 2014 02:42 PM

                  Stroganoff is generally made with tenderloin aka filet. What kind of beef to you use for your stroganoff?

                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                    Sherri RE: hotoynoodle Feb 13, 2014 03:03 PM

                    Following my mother's example, starting in the mid-50s, I have never made Stroganoff with anything but beef tenderloin. It is an excellent use for those of us who buy a whole tenderloin and trim it ourselves. The odd bits make terrific stroganoff. You are doing a grand thing for your wife. Fear not, Bearnaise is quite do-able. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of "blender Bearnaise" recipes out there; of course you can adapt a blender Hollandaise as well.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      grangie angie RE: hotoynoodle Feb 13, 2014 03:48 PM

                      Two of my Russian cookbooks and Cooking of Russia- all recipes call for filet mignon(tenderloin)for the Stroganoff.
                      The only way I make it,very delish.

                      1. re: grangie angie
                        hotoynoodle RE: grangie angie Feb 13, 2014 04:08 PM

                        filet indeed is cut from the tenderloin, but i guess it wouldn't occur to me to smother something that spendy.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                          linguafood RE: hotoynoodle Feb 13, 2014 04:11 PM

                          So if you don't use tenderloin aka filet for stroganoff, what *do* you use?

                          1. re: linguafood
                            monavano RE: linguafood Feb 13, 2014 04:15 PM

                            Sirloin tip or chuck.

                            1. re: monavano
                              hotoynoodle RE: monavano Feb 13, 2014 05:04 PM

                              would be more inclined to use sirloin yes, but honestly i do not like stroganoff. at. all.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                monavano RE: hotoynoodle Feb 13, 2014 05:08 PM

                                I love just about anything with sour cream ;-)
                                btw, I recently learned of a great way to stabilize sour cream so that it doesn't break when adding to finish a dish, such as this (from CI's Chicken Fricassee recipe).
                                Add a bit of sauce to an egg yolk to temper, then add that mix to the dish.
                                It's been working really well for me.

                  2. grampart RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 02:37 PM

                    Are you committed to cooking a beef dish?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: grampart
                      pdub314 RE: grampart Feb 13, 2014 04:47 PM

                      yes, even more precisely I'm committed to steak...

                    2. porker RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 02:54 PM

                      Steak Diane (ribeye or striploin well marbled as mentioned) with butter sauteed Pleurotte mushrooms and lightly braised brussel sprouts tossed with a bit of lemon juice and grated parmesan.
                      Earthy cab/merlot.

                      1. v
                        valerie RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 02:59 PM

                        Can you grill? Meaning, are you somewhere where there isn't a million feet of snow like by me? If you can grill, I like steak well done and I often make grilled flank steak. I will eat the thinner sliced near the ends and my husband will eat the thicker slices from the middle that stay more medium.

                        Not sure about the sauce though since when I cook marinated flank steak, it doesn't need sauce.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: valerie
                          pdub314 RE: valerie Feb 13, 2014 04:47 PM

                          Can't grill, unfortunately..

                        2. c
                          calumin RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 02:59 PM

                          I would do at least one side that has some moisture to help with a well-done steak. Maybe a good mac and cheese.

                          A medium-well filet wouldn't be too bad if you have a nice béarnaise. I'd do that or a ribeye (especially if you can get a prime grade cut).

                          1. monavano RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 03:07 PM

                            You could also do flank, flap or even skirt steak and here's why: Generally, these steaks are uneven in thickness. Some parts get done more than others. You could sear/grill a nice piece of steak and slice it up, portioning out more "done" for her, and less "done" for you.
                            Win, win.
                            Oh, and win again- they're pretty cheap, yet delicious cuts.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: monavano
                              fldhkybnva RE: monavano Feb 13, 2014 03:42 PM

                              I'm not sure I'd serve any of those cuts well done.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva
                                monavano RE: fldhkybnva Feb 13, 2014 04:00 PM

                                *I* wouldn't serve any steak well done.
                                His wife LIKES steak well done. My suggestion is to cook a steak that can have different levels of doneness and not pay $$ for filet mignon that's going to be cooked to death and not have much flavor to begin with to boot.

                                1. re: monavano
                                  fldhkybnva RE: monavano Feb 13, 2014 04:03 PM

                                  Sorry, I see your point. Give her what she wants even if it's not desired by most. Best of both worlds.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                                    monavano RE: fldhkybnva Feb 13, 2014 04:08 PM

                                    I did something similar for my brother and his family.
                                    They came to visit and I wanted to give them a steak dinner because they love it so. The thing is, brother and his family eat steak the way we did growing up- well done.
                                    Sooooo.... I bought reasonably priced choice strip steaks at Costco, and didn't mind (too much!) grilling their steaks well down.
                                    Even served A-1 with it!
                                    They loved it, and that made me happy.

                                    1. re: monavano
                                      porker RE: monavano Feb 13, 2014 07:06 PM

                                      I used to cringe at well done steaks, but hey, diferent strokes, right?

                                      I had a line cook show me a little something about "well done";
                                      There was one customer who came in and insisted that nobody *ever* served her a well done steak. So my line cook (we called him Rock 'cause he once passed a huge kidney stone) takes the 3/4" inch thick strip and puts it on the low flame of the grill, 4 flips it, about 4 minutes per side. Then he slides it over to the high flame, covers it with an aluminium pie plate and hits it with water, steaming it. 'Bout 4 minutes later, flips and repeats.
                                      Just when I thought the poor meat had the life completely sucked out of it, Rock puts it on a plate and microwaves it on high for FIVE MINUTES.
                                      It looked completely un-servable, kinda like a 20 year old, black wingtip shoe found at the dump with no sole or laces. It was stiff as a frozen cod, even curled up a bit.
                                      He winked at me, served it up with vegetables and a baked potato (flat rate, sides included...).

                                      I was sure the woman was going to complain, but it was just the opposite, she gushed with compliments. She returned many many times and always ordered the steak, "You're the only ones who know how to cook a steak!" she always said....

                                      1. re: porker
                                        monavano RE: porker Feb 13, 2014 07:32 PM

                                        great story!
                                        "Rock", ha...

                            2. chowser RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 03:10 PM

                              Can you do a prime rib and give her the end cut? I agree about a creamy side that goes w/ drier meat, maybe creamed spinach. My MIL does onions and mushrooms and they're a great side w/ steak, too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chowser
                                pdub314 RE: chowser Feb 13, 2014 04:49 PM

                                Prime rib would be nice, but there's no time for that at this point. Maybe next year!

                              2. Ttrockwood RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 04:11 PM

                                Make the always awesome ever popular stupid easy hot crash potatoes:

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ttrockwood
                                  Hobbert RE: Ttrockwood Feb 15, 2014 03:00 PM

                                  Those look fantastic! Of course, I've never met a potato I didn't like :)

                                2. p
                                  pdub314 RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 04:53 PM

                                  Update: I've committed to ribeye. Just bought them. Got some potatoes and broccoli at the store also. Might try the Pommes Anna; that's a good idea.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: pdub314
                                    monavano RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 05:03 PM

                                    Good luck! Please report back on the lovely event!

                                    1. re: pdub314
                                      magiesmom RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 05:14 PM

                                      You don't have to worry about hers as long as you cook it enough she will like it. And bernaise is good on anything.

                                      1. re: pdub314
                                        Hobbert RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 05:18 PM

                                        Hasselback potatoes are also neat- easy to do but look really cool.

                                        1. re: Hobbert
                                          Ttrockwood RE: Hobbert Feb 13, 2014 06:37 PM

                                          +1! I've been loving these-and gorgeous presentation

                                      2. Ruthie789 RE: pdub314 Feb 13, 2014 07:30 PM

                                        One problem with filet mignon is if it too thick it might be difficult to cook it to the well point.(speaking from my own experience) I would fry until medium and then put in the oven until the desired temperature is reached. It will be tender. You could have some roasted potatoes and honey glazed carrots as sides.

                                        1. biggreenmatt RE: pdub314 Feb 14, 2014 06:57 AM

                                          You've already bought the meat so my suggestion will be redundant, however...

                                          Many years ago, I went to a Nicaraguan or Salvadorean restaurant on the advice of a friend, and they had a plate that was rice, beans, some kind of veg and steak. I ordered that.

                                          I remember what I got was an un-sliced slicing steak (skirt, flank, flat iron, something) that was cut very thin (maybe a half-inch) and, as it turned out, very marinated in some kind of... marinade. I cut into it and it was well done, didn't have much hope. It turned out to be super-flavourful and surprisingly tender. In the future, you might want to look into that kind of prep.

                                          While we're on the subject, any of you other steak-heads know what I ate?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: biggreenmatt
                                            Sherri RE: biggreenmatt Feb 14, 2014 10:16 AM

                                            Could have been Carne Asada, a citrus marinated thinly cut piece of beef that is often grilled.

                                            1. re: biggreenmatt
                                              Hobbert RE: biggreenmatt Feb 14, 2014 10:30 AM

                                              Yep, carne asada. It's a pretty standard Latin dish and my favorite. I use skirt steak when I make it.

                                              1. re: Hobbert
                                                biggreenmatt RE: Hobbert Feb 14, 2014 10:51 AM

                                                Tremendous! Even cooked to a deep brown!

                                                1. re: biggreenmatt
                                                  Puffin3 RE: biggreenmatt Feb 14, 2014 12:08 PM

                                                  With the greatest respect IMO any one wants to eat beef "well done" isn't actually going to ever get the best out of the meat.
                                                  Go for FM and cook it till it's gray and then add something with a 'flavor' like a sauce. At that point the beef is only really a tasteless 'place-holder' for whatever flavor she enjoys.
                                                  This happens a lot with fish. Many people don't really enjoy the 'fishy' flavor of fish b/c they have never experienced how delicious really fresh fish is so a thousands recipes have been invented to camouflage the 'fishy' taste.
                                                  Sad really.

                                                  Happy VD to you both.

                                            2. scubadoo97 RE: pdub314 Feb 14, 2014 01:06 PM

                                              Make it the way she likes it. My wife orders her fillet well done or no pink and is perfectly happy with the results. Cut individual steaks so you can enjoy yours to your liking

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: scubadoo97
                                                mike0989 RE: scubadoo97 Feb 14, 2014 03:24 PM

                                                Surprised this wasn't suggest before.

                                              2. wekick RE: pdub314 Feb 14, 2014 01:18 PM

                                                This what I do for those who like or have to have well done for health reasons. It is a quick sous vide. I fill a big pot and bring the temp to 135F. Put the steak in a zip lock and push the air out. Drop it in the pot for 45 minutes. I have done it in the oven at 140F and on the stove top on very low or just turn it off. It will very gradually bring the temp of the meat up to temperature without over shooting. You can then grill it or whatever you are doing to your steak. It will come up a little more when you cook it. I t does take a little experimentation to see what you need to bring it up to initially. I have done filets, prime sirloin and teres major that way. We are usually grilling outside that way.

                                                1. p
                                                  pdub314 RE: pdub314 Feb 15, 2014 01:55 PM

                                                  Thanks for all the tips! I ended up making the ribeye with bearnaise sauce. I alsom made the hot crash potatoes and some broccoli with lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and some nuts (similar to a recipe someone linked). The bearnaise sauce came out great I think. She was quite happy!
                                                  Thanks for the help everyone.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: pdub314
                                                    linguafood RE: pdub314 Feb 15, 2014 02:13 PM

                                                    Glad it worked out for ya!

                                                    1. re: pdub314
                                                      monavano RE: pdub314 Feb 15, 2014 02:19 PM

                                                      I love all of your choices.
                                                      The crash hot potatoes are really neat in that they can be made ahead of time and just popped into a hot oven before serving.

                                                      1. re: pdub314
                                                        Ruthie789 RE: pdub314 Feb 15, 2014 03:46 PM

                                                        Sounds delicious!

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