Posts tagged ‘meat’

November 19, 2012

Steak Au Poivre

About six years ago, I met a steak that I just couldn’t get enough of.  I’m not a huge steak person, so this was remarkable.  I only have a good steak a couple of times a year and while out to dinner on a work junket, I was treated to a nice steak dinner.  Being a fan of cracked pepper and a saucy food guy, I chose a Steak Au Poivre off the menu.  What showed up was nothing short of amazing.  The bite of a thickly crusted cut of beef with pepper corns and topped with a delicious pan sauce was nearly too much for me.  I was in heaven.  Best.  Steak.  Ever.

Years later, during the heart of my addiction to the Food Network, I ran across an Alton Brown show about Steak Au Poivre and was reminded that I REALLY needed to make myself this dish.  Au Poivre is simply a French pepper steak with a creamy pan sauce.  It sounds so simple but the flavor explosion is fantastic.

Below you will find the recipe I used for this.  I decided to truly endulge myself and served it with an equally decadent Goat Cheese Potato Gratin.

 

 

Steak Au Poivre

serves 4

 

INGREDIENTS

4 steaks (approx.1/2 pound to a pound each)

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other high smoke-point oil

3 T. black peppercorns, cracked

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1/4 cup cognac or other brandy

1 cup beef broth or stock

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

Sprinkle salt and cracked peppercorns generously over both sides of the steaks and let them come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, take the pan off the heat.  Pat the steaks dry with paper towels (steaks brown better if they are patted dry first) and place in the hot pan. Return the pan to the heat and turn the heat down to medium-high. Sear, without moving the steaks, for at least 4 minutes. Try to pick up a steak with tongs, and if it comes clean, flip it and turn the heat down to medium.

Once the steak is done to your liking remove the meat from the pan and tent with aluminum foil and let the steak rest while you are preparing the sauce.

Make the sauce. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the brandy and as it boils, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the browned bits. Once the brandy is almost cooked away, add the beef stock and turn the heat to high. Boil the sauce down until there’s a noticeable trail when you drag a wooden spoon through the center of it (4-5 minutes).

Pour in the heavy cream and resume boiling. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and any remaining black pepper (no more than 1 Tbsp, the rest should have already been used to pepper the steaks). Taste for salt and add if needed.

Pour the sauce over the steaks right when you serve.

September 12, 2011

Pappardelle alla Bolognese

Pappardelle alla Bolognese

Ingredients

2  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3   tablespoons butter

3   carrot, finely, diced

2   medium onions, diced

4   rib celery, finely diced

5   cloves garlic, diced

1   pound ground beef

1   pound ground pork

1   pound ground lamb

¼   pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground

9   oz. tomato paste

3   medium tomatoes, roasted and diced

1   cup milk

1   cup dry white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating

Wide noodle pasta, cooked and drained

Directions

In a large 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the beef, pork, lamb, and pancetta and stir into the vegetables. Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned.

Add the tomato paste, roasted tomatoes, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 ½ hours.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat.

Mix a little sauce with cooked and drained pasta and toss gently.  Serve in large bowls and add additional sauce as necessary.  Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Pasta has long been near the top of my favorite comfort foods list.  There is something about it that just makes me feel so satisfied after a nice bowl of tasty pasta.  I don’t make pasta dishes nearly as much as I should at home and I am always browsing restaurant menus for my favorite combination of pasta and sauce….a wide noodle Bolognese.  I love meat…and by definition, Bolognese is a meat sauce.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

I have had many different versions of Bolognese and they all seem to be a bit different; mostly all good, but just different.  With a little time in front of the computer with my friend, Google, I set out to find out what a real Bolognese sauce was.

From what I was able to gather, Bolognese is a simple, hearty meat sauce in every sense of the word , that dates back at least to the 5th century.  The meat is usually comprised of beef and pancetta and sometime pork as well.  It is mixed with very few other competing ingredients, such as the traditional mirepoix (a mix of diced carrots, celery, and onions), garlic, tomato paste, wine, and milk.  It really is a very simple mix that yields a very meaty, thick sauce.  Some add tomatoes, including myself, giving it more of a red color.  The traditional recipe, without the tomatoes, yields a much more brown colored sauce.

With my admission of adding tomatoes, I guess the word is out that I am not a cooking purist, so I might as well divulge my other straying’s in the Bolognese world.  I have been experimenting with the different meats included and have found that mixing several types yields a much more complex, deeper taste.  In this recipe, I used, beef, pork, lamb, and pancetta.  That should be enough meats!

It should be noted that the Italians do not pair a Bolognese sauce with the pasta shape spaghetti. Wider shaped pastas are thought to hold up to the heavy sauce better and provide the right balance of noodle to sauce.  To each their own though…