Cocoa rubbed filets dinner for two Valentines Day

We’re still rolling along here with our 30 days of chocolate theme, but this time, I put chocolate in your dinner! This was another fabulous suggestion by a reader. Thanks, Krista!

I’ve been known to add ground coffee to my steak rubs, but I had not ventured to try cocoa powder. I combined the cocoa powder with smoked paprika to oomph it’s smokiness. The steaks don’t taste like chocolate, per say, but they do have a rich crust that has the earthy taste of cocoa powder. The cocoa powder helps the steaks get a nice dark char on the outside, too. For this reason, we’re going to sear them on the stove and then finish them in the oven to your desired temperature. Finishing steaks in the oven takes the guess-work out of it for me. I use my meat thermometer, and take them out at 140-degrees. Next, I wrap them in foil to rest, and then serve the perfect medium-rare steak. A perfect home-cooked steak is a thing of beauty.

The best twice baked potatoes recipe

Another thing of beauty? A side dish of carbs. Maybe it’s all the game-day appetizers I’ve been spying on Pinterest lately, but I couldn’t get potato skins out of my mind the other day. I wanted them for breakfast. So, I made a few extra slices of bacon that morning and saved them for these twice-baked potatoes.

I went the extra mile with these potatoes and used real sour cream. I’m not sure if you’ve jumped on the Greek yogurt bandwagon like me, but it has pretty much replaced sour cream in my life. However, I think it’s time to go back to the way things were: sour cream for life. I forgot the richness of sour cream. My tongue was temporarily muted by the tanginess of Greek yogurt. Please take me back, sour cream, and I’ll never leave you again.

I’m not saying your boyfriend called me to tell you to make this for his Valentine’s Day dinner, but if he did, I would totally back him up. And boys, too:  your woman wants a steak with a side of non-judgement carbs. Trust me.

Yield: 2

Twice Baked Potatoes Cocoa Rubbed Filet Mignon

Twice Baked Potatoes
Cocoa Rubbed Filet Mignon
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the twice-baked potatoes:

  • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 filet mignons, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon reserved bacon grease

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and roast for 60 minutes, flipping every 20 minutes. Alternatively, you could cook them in the microwave much faster.
  3. While the potatoes cook, cook the bacon in a skillet until almost crisp. Remove it, and it will crisp as it cools. Chop the bacon. Reserve the bacon grease for the steaks.
  4. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle. Turn the oven down to 350.
  5. Slice the potatoes in half, and scoop out most of the flesh, but leave a 1/4" border to hold their shape.
  6. Mash the potato flesh with the bacon, sour cream, milk, butter, cheese, salt, peppe and scallion. Scoop this mixture back into the awaiting potato skins. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese melts.
  7. For even cooking, be sure your filets are at room temperature before proceeding. This helps prevent the 'charred on the outside, rare on the inside' problem most people have when cooking steaks.
  8. Be sure the oven is still at 350 after baking the twice-baked potatoes.
  9. Combine the cocoa, sugar, paprika and salt in a small dish. Rub the outside of each filet with the spice rub.
  10. Add the bacon grease to coat a medium cast iron skillet (or similar). Preheat the skillet over high heat until you can hold your hand about 4" from the surface for only a few seconds. Lower the heat to medium-low, and then add the steaks.
  11. Cook the steaks for 4-6 minutes on each side. Do not touch or move the steaks while they sear.
  12. Slide the skillet into the preheated oven and bake the steaks until they are 5 degrees lower than your ideal temperature range. For medium rare, that's 140-degrees F.
  13. Carefully remove the steaks from the oven, wrap in foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  14. Serve the steaks with an extra sprinkle of salt on top and the twice-baked potatoes on the side.