Chilli Vodka & Fresh Strawberries… More than just a cocktail!

My husband did not believe that chilli vodka existed, so when I was in BevMo a few weeks ago I bought him a bottle as a gift.  He took one sip and declared it undrinkable!  Well, “waste not, want not” in this house!  I’ve since thrown it in pasta sauces, flambéed prawns in it (FYI: chilli flavour burns off with the alcohol) and put it in the odd cocktail, the most recent being a strawberry one I made to use up the excessive amount of strawberries leftover in our fridge from the trifle I made last week.

Pre-trifle found me in our local Fresh & Easy which I believe is Tesco’s offering here in the US (or should I say “was,” according to recent news reports).  Meandering past their reduced section, my eagle-eyes spotted a lonesome pair of filet mignon’s.  They had been marked down from almost $14 to just under $2!!!  With my Grandma’s words “you can’t leave them there for that price!” echoing in my head, I swiped them up before anyone else spotted the bargain of the day!  When I got home I threw them in the freezer and set about making the trifle.

Fast forward to this morning and I’m looking in the freezer for something to make for dinner.  Peeking out at me from behind a tub of ice-cream were my cheeky little findings of last week.  “Your time has come, my Mignon’s,” I said to them.

So, as they were defrosting and I was going about my business my mind was having a little think about what to do with them…  Beef Wellington, perhaps!?  Could I be bothered making puff pastry??  Maybe some kind of Italian dish with Marsala wine and mushrooms, some fettuccine on the side??  Nothing was exciting me really….

I nipped out to the supermarket because either way, whatever I made, I needed some veg.  As I pulled up in the car park I ran through the contents of our fridge in my head.  Milk, butter, onions, garlic, rosemary, strawberries…  My mind stopped!  Strawberries and Marsala wine sauce?  Too sweet?  Bit sickly maybe….!?  And then I remembered the chilli vodka.  Eureka!  Now I was excited!

I ran into the fruit and veg section, my imagination running too!  I pretty much had all I needed for the sauce, but I needed something to go with it and perhaps a herb of some description to lighten the sauce up a bit…  I speed scanned the shelf of herbs…  Basil or mint, basil or mint?  Mojito!  Strawberry mojito!  But with chilli vodka!  (I’m sure there’s a name for that!?  Caprioska, is it!?  I digress…)

In the basket went the mint.  All I needed now was a couple of veggies to go with the dish and then I could go home and cook.  More speed scanning of shelves ensued until I decided upon sweet potatoes and asparagus.  HOME TIME!!

What You Need

Filet Mignon or your preferred cut of beef

Strawberries

Chilli Vodka

Hot Chilli Sauce (I used Sriracha)

Sweet Potatoes

Asparagus

Fresh Mint Leaves

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Salt

Olive Oil

Frying pans & Sauce pans

How You Do It

Start by washing and cutting the strawberries into equal-ish sized pieces.  Put them into a saucepan with a good glug of chilli vodka, a squirt of Sriracha sauce and some salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then turn the heat to medium/low and leave it to reduce down to a jam-like consistency.

Scrub the outside of the sweet potatoes with a scourer under running water.  Slice them into discs no thicker than 0.5 cm.  Lay them out on a sheet of paper towel as you go so as to absorb any extra moisture.  This will help them crisp up when you cook them.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.  Once hot, add the sweet potato discs, making sure they don’t overlap in the pan.  They will take only a couple of minutes on each side to cook and go golden.  Drain off excess oil and toss with a sprinkle of salt.

Coat your filet mignon or preferred cut of beef with a small amount of the freshly ground black pepper then proceed to cook to your liking.  I like mine medium/rare so I seared it on both sides on a cast iron skillet and then put in into a hot oven for 5 minutes whilst I steamed the asparagus.  I then let it rest whilst I finished the sauce.

Take the pan of sauce off the heat and allow it to cool for a minute or two before stirring in some torn fresh mint leaves.

Plate up and prepare to have your mind blown!  Mine certainly was…Filet Mignon with Strawberry & Chilli Vodka Sauce with a hint of mint served with Crispy Sweet Potato Discs & Steamed Asparagus

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