Steak Diane inspired from The Likeness

The last few weeks I have been wanting to prepare Steak Diane. I’d never had it before but once I read about it in Tana French’s novel The Likeness, I knew that would be my representative dish from the book. There are all sorts of variations of the recipe but the common theme is cream, mushrooms and brandy and you set it on fire. I like all of those things! The recipe calls for filet mignon but I have seen a few recipes referred to as “Poor Man’s Steak Diane” where sirloin is used. Well……it’s days before payday so guess what….I used sirloin.


I wondered about the history of this meal and how it acquired the name. Evidently Steak Diane was very popular in in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Upscale restaurants served this dish table side with the flourish of setting fire to the cognac or brandy. Setting fire to food is actually fun, if you’ve never done it you’ll have to try Bananas Foster or Nigella’s Bacon Brandy Chicken. Trust me, it’s fun.


Anyway, the history of the name comes from Diana, Roman Goddess of wild animals and the hunt. “According to Roman mythology, Diana was bathing one day she was bathing when a hunter happened upon her. Diana was outraged and turned the hapless hunter into a stag. This fable may explain why in many artistic depictions of Diana she is accompanied by a deer. And that my fellow gastronomes, brings us to Steak Diane.”

In the 19th century a version of the sauce was served over venison. There you go, it loops back to the hunter and the stag again.
Source for this information came from Food References HERE


The recipe is below. It wasn’t much trouble but I doubt we’d have it too much in the future. Besides substituting the filet with sirloin I substituted brandy for the cognac. You could use either but we happened to have brandy.

For whatever reason I had a great deal of trouble trying to set the hot brandy on fire. This hasn’t been a problem with other dishes. I actually singed my eyebrows with a Nigella recipe because the flames shot up so high. But this time, no luck. Doug tried it too but it wouldn’t light.

Everything else went smoothly. So, here you have it, Steak Diane for the novel The Likeness, review may be found HERE.


Steak Diane
4 (3-ounce) filet Mignon medallions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 teaspoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup sliced white mushroom caps
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup reduced veal stock, recipe follows
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 drops hot red pepper sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon minced parsley leaves
Season the beef medallions on both sides with the salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook for 45 seconds on the first side. Turn and cook for 30 seconds on the second side.

Add the shallots and garlic to the side of the pan and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until soft, 2 minutes. Place the meat on a plate and cover to keep warm.

Tilt the pan towards you and add the brandy. Tip the pan away from yourself and ignite the brandy with a match. (Alternatively, remove the pan from the heat to ignite, and then return to the heat.) When the flame has burned out, add the mustard and cream, mix thoroughly and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the veal stock and simmer for 1 minute.

Add the Worcestershire and hot sauce and stir to combine. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pan and turn the meat to coat with the sauce.
Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions and parsley. Divide the medallions and sauce between 2 large plates and serve immediately.

If you are a steak and mushroom fan you ought to try this dish at least once!

I am sharing this with Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking Series.

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Vicki said...

I've never lit food on fire before, but I would like to try it sometime. The Steak Diane looks yummy. I love steak but only tolerate mushrooms. Thanks for the recipe!

Tina said...

I would eat your share of the mushrooms, Vicki! It was a good meal. Thanks,for your nice comment :-)

Le laquet said...

I love that the steak is still pink #yum
I'd be all over the dish!

Tina said...

Mrs L, we also like it on he raw side, Doug likes his more raw than I do, but it worked beautiful in this dish. So many mushrooms!

Katherine P said...

That steak looks delicious! I'd leave out the mushrooms but everything else looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Beth F said...

Thanks for the history of this dish. I always wondered why it was called steak Diane. I ordered this once in a restaurant because of the flaming. I too am sucker for those flaming dishes. I've never made it myself, so happy to have the recipe. Thanks.

Tina said...

I would eat your share of mushrooms, Katherine. I love them

Tina said...

Good on fire is a wonderful thing! It's such fun. Lots of variations on this recipe.

jama said...

This sounds delicious! Flaming food can indeed be tricky. So far, I've only flamed creme brûlée. :) Will have to pin this recipe and try it sometime. Thanks.

Vicki said...

You two can have all the red meat you want. I want mine well done, don't mind if the outside is a little burnt. Yes, I like burnt food,

Tina said...

It was good, Jama. Thanks for visiting!

Carole said...

I must do this sometime soon! Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

Laurie C said...

My husband did a figgy pudding one year at Christmas and lit it on fire. Very impressive, but he neglected to tell the vegetarians in the family that he had made the pudding with lard, so that dessert went down in infamy in the end.

Molly Totoro said...

Oh my... this sounds divine! Mushrooms, cream and cognac... what's not to love?!

Seven Hour Lamb with White Beans <br>{ make that less than 2 hours in the Instant Pot}</br>

It's good to get back to posting about food after a short break. Next year I will be getting a flu shot; this bout knocked me for a loop...