The entree that I am fixing tonight is based on a recipe in Julia Child’s “The Way to Cook”. It is simple but has six main steps and you have to keep your wits about you in order not to overcook any one of the main ingredients.
Basically, the dish consists of five main parts: onions, mushrooms, potatoes, meat, and sauce. The onions called for are small, 1″ in diameter. They must be peeled and cooked. Now, I hate to peel those little suckers. I know; supposedly, if you parboil them for a minute or two, the skins are supposed to slip right off. Not for me, they don’t.
Anyway, I solved that problem by buying frozen pearl onions. All I have to do is thaw them and proceed with the recipe. They get simmered in a little chicken broth seasoned with a pinch of tarragon or mixed herbs.
While they are simmering, a few potatoes are peeled and cut in 3/4 inch dice. Then they are sauteed in butter and olive oil until tender and browned. They can be done ahead and kept warm over simmering water. Large mushrooms are to be quartered and sauteed with the addition of a shallot or two (scallions can be substituted) and then put aside in a side dish.
Now for the meat. I usually buy a cut of beef steak that I am sure will be tender. A large filet, two inches thick, is enough for the two of us. (I save the ends of beef tenderloins in the freezer to use for this dish.) Cut the steak into pieces about 1 1/2 inches on a side. The meat gets sauteed quickly in the same pan as the mushrooms were, after adding a little more butter and oil. Julia recommends keeping the meat very rare because it will get more cooking later. After quickly browning the meat on all sides, it gets put aside with the mushrooms as the sauce is prepared.
Using the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of minced shallot or scallions and saute them for a minute. A little white wine deglazes the pan. (Dry vermouth is suggested.) A little more chicken stock and any juices from the onions go into the pan which is left to boil and reduce the sauce to a syrupy consistency. Then a little heavy cream is added. The meat, mushrooms and onions go into the sauce to warm up. A gently stir is all that’s needed for the next few minutes. Correct the seasonings at this time.
Put the potato skillet back on high heat and add a tablespoon more of butter. Toss them and cook until they are nice and crisp. Add chopped parsley.
Serve the potatoes over the meat. Voila. Delicious. Yes, it’s full of butter and oil, not to mention beefsteak and heavy cream. This is a special meal, not everyday fare. Splurge and make up for it tomorrow with a nice chicken breast, grilled and served with a salsa or another sauce with little fat and calories.
We will have a green salad with plain vinaigrette so as not to overshadow the entree. I’ll have red wine and He Who Thinks He Must Be Obeyed will have white.
By the way, there is bread pudding in the oven. Chicken breasts, definitely, tomorrow. Broccoli and carrots.
You can find the recipe here.