I'm turning French! Well, sort of. I'm currently reading a book called "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less you Cry" and it's made me a little French food fanatic. The book is a lot like Julie and Julia; the only difference is that this author sets out on a journey to Le Cordon Bleu to learn how to be a chef and doesn't try to Master the Art of French cooking book. While J&J was somewhat comedic, this book makes going to culinary school sound like a terrifying experience - it kind of scares me to even consider culinary school. I've given pastry school some thought after going to the Culinary Institute in Napa Valley this summer but after reading a few chapters in this book, I think I'd rather make my kitchen my classroom and stay here where no one is breathing over my shoulder or critiquing my food. Also, no one will make me pluck a fish's eyeball out with a paring knife. Yeah... this book can get kind of descriptive at times. Other than the terrifying details of what it's like to be trained by top French chefs, this book has some great recipes that the author learned while learning to be a master chef in France. I never knew how time consuming French cooking could be until I skimmed all of the recipes in this book. Not only does it require a lot of time for preparation, it also requires a lot of time for slow cooking either on the stove or in the oven. I guess it's true that great food does take time! Lucky for me I found some time between classes, life and everything else to make a wonderful steak recipe :)
Boeuf en Croute Champignons ave Sauce Vin Rouge (for four) from Kathleen Flinn
Red-wine sauce recipe - To drizzle on the steak or on the mashed potatoes
1 cup dry red wine
2 ounces stew meat or beef trimmings
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped carrots
Parsley stems (I didn't include this)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tbsp flour
1 cup brown beef stock
1 tbsp butter
1. Reduce the wine by half in the small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reducing means to just heat the wine until it reduces in amount.
2. While the wine is reducing, sear the beef in oil in another pan on medium-high heat.
3. Add onions, celery and carrots and stir until softened (3 minutes) then add thyme and flour. Stir to coat the ingredients with the flour.
4. Add the reduced red wine and beef stock and bring to a boil. Skim the foam off the top and reduce to heat. Let simmer for half an hour while you finish the other part of the recipe.
Mushroom-Crusted Steaks recipe
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko (I used half and half)
1 tbsp parsley (I left this out)
Salt and pepper
4 beef-tenderloin fillets (about 6 ounces each)
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Saute the mushrooms in the butter over medium heat until browned.
3. Strain the mushrooms and chop it finely together with the bread crumbs, parsley, teaspoon of salt and black pepper mixed in.
4. Season the meat with salt and pepper on both sides.
5. Heat the oil over high heat in a skillet and sear each side of the steak for 2 - 3 minutes.
6. Remove the steak from the pan to a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment.
7. Press the mushroom mixture on top of each steak and place the cookie sheet in the oven. Turn the oven to broiler mode. Broil the steaks until the mushroom coating gets brown and the meat firms to medium-rare (about six minutes).
8. Remove the red wine sauce from the stove and strain the veggies and beef out of the sauce. I saved the veggies and beef for another dish but you can discard it. Return the sauce to the saucepan and stir in a knob of butter to finish. Serve the sauce alongside the meat.
For the mashed potatoes, I peeled three potatoes, chopped them into small cubes, and boiled them on high until they were tender (about 20 minutes). Remove the potatoes from the water and mash it with a fork in a serving bowl. Pour in a little heavy whipping cream and garlic bits to soften it up. Pour the sauce on top like gravy and enjoy!
Review: If you like your steak rare to medium, this process of cooking the steaks in the oven works really well! The mushroom topping gives the steak so much flavor and texture. The meat cuts really nicely too and is easy to chew (who wants tough steak anyway?). Definitely a do-again type of recipe.