Did you ever have one of those nights where things just didn't go according to plan? Yes? Well, extend sympathies to me...because I just had one. Please don't call a waahmublance, though. I've already had to call off the fire department. It's a long story. Buckle up...this one's an E-ticket.
Ahead, Steak au Poivre as done by Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, sauteed baby bellas and potato swirls. Warning...there were casualties.
To think, it all began in such a peaceful manner. The ingredients were assembled on the counter with care, in hope that great things soon would prepare...Meh. Never mind, that's been done! :)
Steak au Poivre:
2 thick-cut well-marbled strip steaks, about 1-1/2 inches thick
2 tablespoons mixed whole peppercorns (black, white, green, Szechuan and Jamaican/whole allspice)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons cognac (or bourbon or red wine)
1/2 cup flavorful dark stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Trim the steak of all the surrounding fat and cartilage. Crush the peppercorns using the bottom of a heavy skillet (I smashed mine in my mortar and pestle).
Sprinkle salt to taste on the top and bottom of the steaks; then press each side into the cracked peppercorns, encrusting the steaks lightly or heavily, as you prefer.
Heat the oil and the butter in a heavy saute or frying pan over high heat. When the pan is quite hot, lay the peppered steaks in. Fry for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, until the undersides are well seared. Turn the meat and cook the second side for about a minute. Press with a finger to test for the slight springiness that indicates rare. Cook to desired temperature and remove to a warm platter and cover with foil.
At the same time as the steaks are cooking, you need to also be starting the sauteed mushrooms.
Sauteed Baby Bellas:
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
In a skillet, melt butter. Add shallots and saute until slightly transluscent:
Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until they are glossy. Add the white wine and balsamic vinegar and reduce the sauce by about a third. Add salt and pepper:
Making the pan sauce:
Add the shallots to the steak pan and saute briefly, stirring with a spoon to scrape up the drippings. Lean away from the stove (averting your face) and pour the cognac into the pan; tilt the edge of the pan slightly, over the burner flame (or use a long match if you have electric), to ignite the alcohol. The cognac will flame for a few seconds as the alcohol burns off.
This is where things got fun. Recently, we changed our telephones to VoIP. In doing this, we had to upgrade our home alarm system. As part of this upgrade, our smoke detectors were rewired. This might seem like a good thing. Alas. It seems not to be. They are ultra sensitive. What follows is pretty much how it happened.
Oy. This is the second or third time I've set off the alarms. Sheesh.
So, anyway...the casualties you ask? I was also going to post about my lovely potato swirls...but in the mayhem that followed...and my food was ready...and I needed to take pictures...and Byron was really hungry...I didn't get photos of the potatoes! Next time, I promise!
Back to the pan sauce:
Cook for a few moments more and then add the stock. Bring the liquid back to the boil, and cook about 1 minute to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning. Finally, add the soft butter, swirling the pan until it melts and incorporates with the juices.
Then, by God. Eat it.
Eat it, and like it. Or else.
2 years ago