It's time for the wonderful cooks of the Cooking Light Supper Club to gather around for dinner and a chat. It was my turn to select the theme for the meal and I went with '100 Miles of Flavour' - lately I've been struggling with the environmental footprint of the food that I eat so the challenge was for us to cook our dish using main ingredients that are sourced close to home.
In hindsight it was foolish for me to do this in April. I live in Canada. There was snow on the weekend. There isn't a good deal of fresh food anywhere at this time of the year. I had a food challenge on my hands.
Funnily enough, when I posted on facebook that I was making a 100 mile dinner one of my friends commented 'enjoy your root vegetables'. That is about all we have available right - potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnip that were dug from the ground in the fall and have been sitting in cold storage all winter. I do love my root veggies but one can't really make a meal from them for the supper club.
Then I read about Dearsley's Meats on the award winning food blog Crackers. Dearsley's Meats is a local, family owned and operated butcher shop that first opened in 1914. Gary and Darlene Dearsley are the 4th generation to run the business that was originally known for their sausages and head cheese, but Gary has since switched the farm over to beef.
Although not certified organic, their cows are naturally raised, hormone and chemical free, and happy. The Dearsley's grow their own feed and hay and the cattle get plenty of oats, corn, molasses, and grass in the pasture. We had a great drive there last Saturday (less than 15 minutes, well within the 100 mile limit)
There I bought 4 thick beef tenderloin steaks for our dish - Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom- Red Wine Sauce. I also went a little crazy when faced with all of the fresh meats . . . walking out with two large bags and $ 100 less in the wallet.
The mushrooms I bought were from a mushroom farm located about 20 minutes north of us. still within our 100 mile limit but far enough away that we don't smell the farm. I feel sorry for the folks who live downwind from them because on certain days - WOW
The other main ingredient was red wine. We have more than 300 bottles of wine in the cellar, much of it red, much of it from Niagara (again, well within the 100 mile mark). We decided to go with a 2007 Merlot from bad-boy cult winemaker Daniel Lenko.
Lenko's father planted the first Chardonnay grapes in the area in 1959. For years they grew grapes for other wineries but in 1999 started making their own wine. Since then their wines have been winning fans AND awards. In fact, one well-known international wine taster declared the 2002 Lenko Syrah to be the best red wine she had ever tasted from Canada (we happened to score a bottle of this last year). 2007 was the best year yet for red wines in Niagara so we were sure this wine would go well with the dish.
Here are the ingredients all ready to go:
High quality, local ingredients - what's not to LOVE?
The second bottle of wine, Major League, from the relatively new Meglomanic winery, was for the cook! *smile*
This recipe was in the January 2011 Cooking Light magazine. They had a section where the featured chef secrets - often special highly flavoured sauces that you make in advance, freeze, and the use in other dishes to really pump up the flavour. This one uses chicken glace - a highly concentrated chicken stock which gives the sauce both intense flavour but also body.
Quick (so long as you have the glace made in advance), just a few ingredients,a nd amazing flavour - you won't go wrong with this!
Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom-Red Wine Sauce
2 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/4 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons Chicken Glace
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle steaks with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add steaks to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from pan; keep warm.
Add mushrooms and shallots to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Add wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in Chicken Glace and the remaining salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute or until Glace is blended into sauce.
Heck, even our hyper-carnivore cat, Beckett, appreciated the portion of steak that he received.
Our wonderful muse, Val from More than Burnt Toast, has pulled the menu together:
First of all Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen starts our 100 Miles of Flavour menu off by highlighting local blueberries and honey from her home State of Georgia with a tantalizing salad of Mixed Greens with Blueberry Vinaigrette.
To amp up our 100 Miles of Flavour menu Jamie of Mom's Cooking Club compliments the menu with an appetizer of Grilled Ginger-Lime Shrimp highlighting Gulf of Mexico seafood from her native Florida.
Jerry of Jerry's Thoughts, Musings and Rants brings the King of entrees highlighting province of Ontario beef and red wine from the Niagara region with Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom-Red Wine Sauce. I can imagine the tender meat with luscious gravy!
Roz of La Bella Vita compliments our meal with that WOW factor with a side of Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Marscapone Cheese made with local rice from the State of South Carolina. Creamy risotto would compliment any meal!!!
Next Sandi of The Whistlestop Cafe wowed us with a salad of Peas and Orzo with Pesto highlighting basil and peas from her garden and substituting Southern pecans for the walnuts.
To accompany our meal Val of more than burnt toast brought along an outstanding dessert of Fallen Chocolate Cake with Cherry Red Wine Sauce with cherries and red wine from the Okanagan Valley here in British Columbia.
It's amazing when you good eating you can find within a 100 mile radius from your home!