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Sauces can enhance the flavor of any grilled steak or burger

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

This is a great time of the year to use our outdoor grills for everything from steak to chicken to pork to fish to vegetables and even certain fruits.

While most of us enjoy grilling, we tend to ignore all the various sauces that can really enhance the flavor and aroma of our burgers and steaks. If cooking a filet mignon, why not liven it up with a spicy mustard and caper sauce? Or how about a beef tenderloin with blue cheese sauce? One of my favorites is sliced porterhouse with a garlic butter sauce.

A really flavorful accompaniment to any steak or burger is a mushroom and garlic sauce made with either whiskey or bourbon. In a small saucepan, heat some butter or margarine over medium heat and then add some garlic, mushrooms, thyme and rosemary. Saute lightly until the mushrooms are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully add the whiskey or bourbon (be careful not to flame). Stir the sauce for another minute or so. Top your steaks or burgers with the mushrooms sauce and serve immediately.

If you’re a wine connoisseur, how about making a red wine steak sauce the next time you flop a few steaks on the grill? It’s really easy to do. Just simmer some diced onions and minced garlic in a saucepan until soft. Whisk in your favorite red wine and Dijon mustard and reduce by about two-thirds over medium heat. Slowly whisk in some tabs of chilled butter. Remove from the heat; add some chopped parsley and season to taste.

Serve any of theses steaks with some scalloped potatoes with bacon and mushrooms and some roasted cauliflower (see recipes below).

Filet Mignon with  Mustard Caper Sauce

4 tenderloin steaks, 1-1/2 inches thick (6 oz. each) 

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. olive oil 

3 Tbsps. finely chopped shallots 

1/3 cup dry white wine 

1/3 cup beef broth 

1/3 cup heavy cream 

3 Tbsps. capers, drained 

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 

Salt and pepper the steaks on both sides. In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Once hot, add the steaks and cook one side until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Turn steaks over and cook another 5-6 minutes for medium-rare, or until desired doneness. Transfer to plates and keep warm. 

Add shallots to the skillet and cook over medium heat about one minute. Add wine and cook, stirring, until browned bits are loosened from the bottom of the skillet. Add the beef broth and stir about a minute; add the cream and stir for one minute longer. Add capers and mustard.

To serve, spoon the sauce over the steaks and then garnish with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Beef Tenderloin with      Blue Cheese Sauce

Although this recipe calls for cooking the tenderloin in the oven, I usually prefer doing it on a broiler pan on the grill. Just make sure to adjust your burners to the prescribed heat.

1 whole beef tenderloin (3 lbs.)

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce 

1/2 cup red wine 

2 cloves garlic, chopped 

4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled 

1/3 cup mayonnaise 

2/3 cup sour cream 

1-1/2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce 

Place tenderloin in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, combine the teriyaki sauce, wine and garlic. Pour sauce over the beef and then marinate for about one-hour in the refrigerator. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place marinated tenderloin on a broiler pan and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until desired doneness. Allow to set for 10 minutes before slicing. 

In a saucepan over low heat, combine blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until smooth; serve over sliced tenderloin. Makes 4-6 servings.

Grilled Sliced Porterhouse with Garlic Butter Sauce

2 porterhouse steaks (about 1-1/2 lb. each, cut 1-inch thick)

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. ketchup

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. paprika (preferably Hungarian)

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

2 tsp. cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cur into 8 pieces

Lightly coat steaks with oil; set aside at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Grill steaks on direct/high heat until seared, about 5 minutes. Turn them over, season with salt and pepper, and grill another 3 minutes for rare or 4 minutes for medium. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest.

While the steaks are resting, combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, mustard and vinegar in a medium saucepan; whisk to blend. Warm the mixture over low heat; add the butter a piece at a time, whisking constantly. Once incorporated, add the garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Carve the porterhouse into one-half inch slices and place portion on plates. Spoon sauce over each portion. Makes 4-6 servings.

Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon and Mushrooms

Bacon adds extra flavor to this stovetop one-pan potato dish. Cream of mushroom soup adds extra flavor and creaminess.

5 strips of bacon 

1 onion, peeled and sliced 

1 Tbsp. butter 

4 potatoes, peeled and sliced 

1 (10-oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

2/3 cup milk 

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper 

In a large heavy skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, allow to cool, then crumble; set aside. In the same skillet, cook onion in butter until tender. Stir in potatoes, condensed soup, milk and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle bacon on top before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, florets only

3/4 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup dry white wine

4 garlic cloves, slivered

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place cauliflower florets in a 2-quart baking dish. Add chicken broth, wine, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over top of mixture. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese and oregano; top cauliflower with mixture. Bake additional 15 minutes, uncovered. Makes 6-8 servings.