Monday, May 14, 2007

Wine Inspired Tastiness

I'll start by wishing everyone a lovely Mother's Day! My mom has to work today (she's an ER nurse), so we're Mothering her up with dinner next weekend. Dave's mom is in AZ, but we made sure to call and chat with her lots. :)

Now, on to the food!

My husband picked out this Barolo. He then asked me to make a "meat with meaty meat sauce" dinner to go with said wine. He nagged at me for weeks until I caved.

I'd remembered seeing a yummy looking steak recipe in Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen, so I sought it out, got Dave's approval and went forth to gather ingredients. We went to Whole Foods, because I figured they'd have the enoki mushrooms (I'd never heard of them before), and they did not disappoint.

This might have been the best dinner I've ever made. Best. Ever. Getting an enoki, some potatoes, and a piece of steak on the fork all at once was heavenly. Michel Richard is a genius.

I reduced the Syrah sauce Saturday night, not because I had to, but because I like to break up as many steps as I can get away with. We'd had a late lunch at WF Saturday, so we had wine and cheese for dinner... and because I wasn't cooking, I thought "why not make that reducing sauce?" If you taste it after the first reduction, and you don't like it, don't worry. I think its supposed to taste like junk at that point. It gets WAY BETTER, I promise.

The potatoes were easy-peasy, and the porcini gave me an excuse to use my snazzy blender. I think I had more mushrooms than I was supposed to (I got the 3 ounces, but they ended up being more than 3/4 cup), so the sauce was more like a paste. Because it was pasty, it left the potatoes looking a little weird, but still good to eat.

The batter-fried enoki were dreamy. Dreamy. DO NOT leave them out, because you'll miss them. In fact, I'd even recommend making extra. Dave asked that I make them "just because," as a snack. Ha!

I'll end with the wine. It was delicious. His nagging was well-founded. The wine had a great mouth-feel, was full-bodied, was just spicy enough without being too agressive. (I don't pretend to know what I'm talking about with wine, so thats the best you get!)

Don't do what we did and drink it all in less than an hour. :)

Filet Mignon with Simple Syrah Sauce
From: Happy in the Kitchen: The Craft of Cooking, the Art of Eating
By Michel Richard

Syrah Sauce
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup diced (1/4-inch) yellow onion (about 1 medium)
½ cup diced (1/4-inch) beets (about ½ medium)
2 garlic cloves, grated on a rasp or finely chopped
A sprig of thyme
½ cup diced (1/4 inch) Yukon Gold potato, (1 medium)
1 bottle (750 ml) Syrah
1 cup Reduced Chicken Stock (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 ½ cups diced (1/2-inch) Yukon Gold potatoes (1/2 to 3 pounds potatoes)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper

Porcini Sauce
3 ounces porcini mushrooms (about 5), fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Fine sea salt
¾ cup Reduced Chicken Stock
1 ½ teaspoons unsalted butter

Four 8-ounce filets mignons
Fleur de sel
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons (1/2 to 1 ounce) unsalted butter
½ recipe Enoki Tempura (recipe follows)

To prepare the Syrah sauce: In a medium sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, onions, beets, garlic and thyme and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potato and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the wine and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until reduced by half.

Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes. Fill a large bowl with water. Swish the potato cubes in the water to remove some of the excess starch and to keep them from discoloring. Drain and dry thoroughly with kitchen towels.

Place a colander over a large bowl. In one large or two medium skillets that will hold the potatoes in a single layer, heat ¼ cup of the oil and 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and garlic, adjusting the heat as necessary to brown but not burn the potatoes. Once the potatoes are lightly browned on the bottom, continue to cook, turning the potatoes occasionally, to brown them on all sides, about 10 to 12 minutes; be careful not to move the potatoes too often, or they may break up.

Drain the potatoes in the colander. Remove the garlic and discard. (The potatoes can hold at room temperature for a few hours.)

When the Syrah sauce has reduced by half, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer into a small pot. Add the sugar and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Place the pot over the heat and to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the liquid has reduced to ½ cup. Keep in warm place.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

To prepare the porcini sauce: If the porcini are frozen, let them thaw, then trim as necessary. Cut the mushrooms in half. You should have about ¾ cup. In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the porcini and garlic, season with salt, and sauté for about 4 minutes, or until the porcini are browned. Drain off all of the fat and transfer the porcini to a small saucepan. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and boil for a minute.

Transfer the sauce to a blender, add the butter, and puree until smooth. Return to the saucepan and keep in a warm place.

Season the filets mignons generously on all sides with fleur de sel and pepper. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon each of the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the filets to a baking dish or place in the oven, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare. The pan dripping can be added to the Syrah sauce.

While the filets are in the oven, warm the porcini sauce and Syrah sauce, then stir the remaining 1 tablespoon butter into the Syrah sauce.

To re-crisp the potatoes: In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes (set the colander aside), and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes, or until hot and crisp. Wipe out the colander and drain the potatoes. Place in a large bowl and season with fleur de sel and pepper. Add the porcini sauce and toss well. Keep in a warm spot.

Check the beef: If you would like the crust very crispy, meat can be quickly sautéed in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet.

To serve, divide the porcini potatoes among 4 serving plates. Top each with a filets, and arrange the enoki tempura on the top. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the Syrah sauce around each.

Makes 4 servings.

Reduced Chicken Stock
From: Happy in the Kitchen: The Craft of Cooking, the Art of Eating
By Michel Richard

8 cups chicken stock

Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer the stock until it has reduced by half. Let the stock cool, preferably in an ice bath, then refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days, or freeze for longer storage.

Makes 4 cups.

Enoki Tempura
From: Happy in the Kitchen: The Craft of Cooking, the Art of Eating
By Michel Richard

Canola or peanut oil for deep-frying
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ cup sparkling water
4 ounces enoki mushrooms
Fleur de del

Preheat the oven to 250F. Place a cooling rack on a backing sheet and place in the oven. Heat the oil to 350F in a deep fryer or large, heavy pot.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and sparkling water. Cut off the root end of the mushrooms. Wish your hands, carefully separate the enoki into smaller sections or slivers; it is fine to have varying sizes.

Drop the enoki, in batches, into the better; life out and let any excess batter drip off, then carefully place in the hot oil; do not overcrowd the oil. Fry until the edges are lightly golden, then transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. The tempura is really best eaten immediately, but the first batches can be held on the rack in the oven until all the mushrooms are fried; prop the oven door slightly open with a wooden spoon to let any steam escape.

Servers 4 as an appetizer, 8 as a garnish on a salad.

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