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Saucy Series XI: Sauce Romaine

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Romaine

In researching for my Sauce Series, I have tried to cover all the classic mother sauces and their permutations but I also find it interesting to present some bygone relics that have fallen from grace and are forgotten.

I came across a beauty in my wonderful book Le Repertoire De La Cuisine (that I told you about HERE) called Sauce Romaine made with caramel, vinegar, reduced stock and pignoli nuts with raisins. It is a member of the sweet and sour family of sauces with ancient roots. One version was made with demi-glace and another with Espagnole (one of the mother sauces). I believe the inspiration for it may be very old. Raymonia is a medieval dish based on the Arabic Rummaniya with a sauce of pomegranate, ground almonds and sugar –– an ancient agrodolce (an Arabic-influenced Sicilian sweet and sour sauce still popular today that’s like a gastrique). Not much of a stretch to go to the raisins and pine nuts of Sauce Romaine. After a 1000-odd years, this family of sauces is still divine with grilled poultry, game birds or pork or, as luck would have it, a small boar roast from D’Artagnan. It’s also fat free, full of flavor and actually good for you with all that lovely reduced stock.

Romaine 1

Wild Boar Roast with Sauce Romaine

1 D’Artagnan small boar roast or a pork roast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
Brussel sprouts, sliced (optional)
2 t chopped fresh herbs (sage or thyme would be nice)
Sauce Romaine

Preheat the oven to 375º. Toss the vegetables in some of the oil and put it in the bottom of a small heavy pan. Oil the roast and rub with salt and pepper and herbs. Put the roast on top of the vegetables and roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until the inner temperature is 140º.

It comes with a string covering which you should remove but it will spread. It is better to tie it up so the roast cooks properly (so some bits don’t get overdone).

Tent the meat and rest for 10 minutes. Place the vegetables on the platter and slice the roast. Pour any juices that have collected from the roast into the sauce and stir them in. Spoon the sauce over the roast and serve warm or room temperature.

Romaine 2

Sauce Romaine

2 T sugar
1/2 c vinegar
1 c demi-glace from D’Artagnan
2 T Sauce Espagnole (optional)
1/2 c white raisins
1/4 c pignoli nuts

Melt the sugar gently in a heavy pan. When it melts and browns remove from the heat and add the vinegar. Reduce it to a thin syrupy consistency. Add the demi-glace and raisins and reduce somewhat.

The sauce will thicken on its own as it cools – the raisins will also soak up some of the sauce so don’t go nuts reducing it. Serve it warm or at room temperature

Saucy Series X: Bechamel Mornay

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Béchamel Mornay

I discovered Filet of Sole Verdi when I read a description of it that made me swoon –– sole, lobster and truffles on pasta with a creamy Mornay sauce that’s popped under the broiler to brown a bit. Escoffier invented the dish to impress the composer. With 2 great sauces in it I thought it was perfect for the sauce series.

escoffier

Escoffier

But when I looked up the original recipes for béchamel and Mornay sauce, I was shocked.

Escoffier’s original béchamel is made with veal! His white sauce is cooked with pieces of veal for two hours then strained. Remarkable. I will try doing it that way one of these days but decided that, since it was fish, I would go with the simpler, non-veal version that he used for “Lenten preparations.”

Béchamel was named after the Marquis de Béchameil (1630 -1703), of whom Escoffier wrote “After all, if it wasn’t for his divine sauce the Marquis de Béchamel would have been forgotten long ago.” Legend has it that it was invented to sauce dried cod. It is in Varenne’s 1651 Cuisinier Francais made with a veal velouté and cream, so Escoffier’s version echoes the sauce’s velouté ancienne roots (velouté has been around a very long time).

The same was true of the Mornay sauce. Probably named after a “player in the halcyon days” of the 2nd Empire, Charles de Mornay, I never knew Escoffier put fumet into the sauce (fumet being stock-based liquid the meat or fish was poached in). It makes a sublime addition to the cheesy sauce, giving it a bit of backbone.

When you put it together with the sole and lobster and truffles and pasta, ooh la la, you can see why Verdi was pleased with it. It is extremely elegant and if you do the sauces and pasta ahead of time, it can be ready in a few minutes.

Bechamel Mornay 1

Filet of Sole Verdi

(serves 2 main course-4 appetizer)

½ to ¾ lb. filet of sole
1 c fish fumet/stock*
4 c cooked pasta (don’t go too al dente on this, you want it softish to go with the elegant texture of the dish)
1 c cream
2 small lobster tails, shells removed
1 T butter
2 c béchamel
2 c Mornay sauce
1 large D’Artagnan truffle sliced and ¼ chopped (optional)
2-3 t D’Artagnan truffle oil to taste.
Salt and pepper

Put the fish in the stock on medium heat. Add a touch of salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes per side –– they cook very quickly. Remove. Reduce the stock to 1/2 a cup. Pour any juices that have collected from the fish into the reduced fumet. If you have a lot of juices, you should reduce a little further so you only have 1/2 cup.

Warm the cream. Add the cheeses to the cream. Toss the pasta with the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 t of the truffle oil and some chopped truffle, if you are using it, and toss just before assembling the dish.

Add the fumet to the Mornay sauce and stir. Warm it. It should be thick.

Sauté the lobster tails for a few minutes. They should not be fully cooked. Chop the smaller end of the tail and add to the pasta. Slice the fatter end.

Heat the broiler. Make single skillets or a large skillet with handles that can take the broiler.

Spoon the pasta into the dish. Lay the sole over 2/3 of the dish. Pour the Mornay sauce over the sole and tuck the lobster at the edge of the Mornay sauce. Heat the pan on the stove for a few minutes at medium-low heat.

Put under the broiler on high for a few minutes. Pay attention, it goes from perfect to burned in no time. Remove and top with chopped herbs. Tuck the truffle slices in and drizzle with remaining truffle oil.

*(I always freeze bones and shrimp/lobster shells and make this when I have enough to make a quart of stock. Then freeze it flat and break it off when I need it or freeze in ½ c portions). You could use chicken stock in a pinch.

Bechamel mornay 2

Béchamel

2 c milk
1 small shallot, sliced
1 clove (optional)
3 T butter
2 T flour

Heat the milk and simmer while you melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter and stir over low heat till all bubbly. Do not let it brown. Strain the milk. Pour the hot milk slowly into the flour mixture, stirring all the while over medium heat till all the milk is used and the sauce is thickened. Add the cheeses and set aside.

bechamel mornay 3

Mornay Sauce

2 c béchamel
½ c fish reserved fumet
1 c grated Parmesan
1 c grated Gruyere

Add the fumet to the béchamel and reduce a little. Add the Parmesan and gruyere and stir till smooth.

St. Patrick’s Day SALE

They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day… even the French! We’re just happy to eat like the Irish (and maybe quaff a few beers) on this saint’s day.

We’d like you to do the same. This week, enjoy 10% off a selection of beefy, lamby and porky items that will help you to celebrate all things Irish this March 17. Erin go bragh!

HPC_StPaddysDay

If you are looking for recipes, you can always check our site for inspiration. We like this Irish Stout Lamb Loin with Colcannon for a traditional meal. Of course, there’s always Corned Beef. And then, a meat pie is so satisfying  - this Wagyu Beef  Shepherd’s Pie is especially so.

If a hand pie is what you crave, try these Dingle Pies from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews. They are a savory, rustic staple at Ireland’s oldest festival, Puck Fair.

Duck Fat 50: Kale Chips Done Right

It seems like the whole world suddenly became obsessed with kale. Well, we like a leafy green just fine, especially when it’s cooked in duck fat. Hey, everything tastes better with duck fat.

Just take your kale cooked, and in moderation. There’s been a few reports lately about the dangers of too much kale, especially when eaten raw. It’s best to cook it, and we suggest using duck fat to do that. It imparts a wonderful flavor and crispy texture. Plus, duck fat is 15% off along with all the other good things from the duck this week at dartagnan.com.

DSC_0347

Duck Fat Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch kale or bag of cleaned, chopped kale
  • 2 Tbs. duck fat at room temperature or slightly melted
  • finely ground sea salt
  • Piment d’Epelette or black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Rip or cut the thick stems off the kale. Discard the stems.

2. Wash the kale and then dry it well in a salad spinner (or use pre-washed kale).

3. Rip the kale into chip-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.

4. Drizzle the softened duck fat, which should be a thick liquid consistency and toss to coat, using your hands to thoroughly mix it into the kale leaves. Try to use just enough duck fat to coat the kale, but not so much that the chips will be overly greasy.

5. Place kale on a baking sheet in a single layer. Do not overlap or crowd the pieces.

6. Sprinkle with salt and piment d’Espelette, then Parmesan cheese.

7. Bake the kale chips in a 400 degree oven for about 9 minutes. Keep an eye on them – they go from baking to burning pretty fast.  

Here’s our little video to show you how.

A Saucy Conversation with Deana

“Sauces are the splendor and the glory of French cooking” ~ Julia Child

March is National Sauce Month. And so … let’s talk about sauces!!

We will glory in any sauce. Sriracha. Marinara. Fra Diavolo. Bechamel. Bourbon barbecue sauce. Tartar. Chimichurri. Mole. We believe there should be sauce on everything. But when it comes to sauces, the mother lode is in French cuisine.

To round out our Saucy Series we will post one sauce a week during National Sauce Month.  So come along for the ride!

Our saucier for this project is blogger and historic food explorer Deana Sidney, who can generally be found at her blog Lost Past Remembered.

Before we get started, we thought it was time to introduce you to Deana.

Deana

Deana Sidney

Deana, can you tell us how you got started on this food journey? What drew you to ancient recipes in the first place?

I first fell for ancient food in college when I was studying English and Italian literature –– I wanted to taste the past. Instead of learning how to cook with Joy of Cooking like a sane person, I began with Forme of Cury, a 15th century English cookbook. My earliest attempts were ghastly –– slowly but surely I got better, and so did the food. Now I love the exuberant spicing and lavishness. It takes you away to another time.

Sauce Financiere 2

Duck Breast with Sauce Financiére

How long have you been writing your blog at Lost Past Remembered?

I started the blog 4 years ago and have had the best time doing it. I have met so many incredible people; I’m working on book proposals, am getting my first article published and shot the cover of the magazine. I’ve gone to the Oxford Food Symposium for the last few years and hobnobbed with all the food history wizards –– it’s been a gas and terribly liberating. No producers/directors leaning over your shoulder telling you what you can and can’t do!

It’s an incredibly detailed account of your cooking adventures in a day when big pictures and few words seem to be the name of the game. Reading your blog is downright educational – and not just about food. So how do you research your topics?

I basically read everything I can get my hands on. Some posts are more extensively researched than others. I especially enjoy writing about houses, the lives that have been lived in them and how they ate. In a way, it combines my favorite part of production design, food history and decoration. I spend a bit of time in the summer in England and the National Trust has been kind enough to help me visit many of the great English houses. I love their stories. In the end, it’s about telling great stories with great pictures.

osterley counter

A counter in the vast kitchen at Osterley Park, a great estate in England.

Have you had many disappointments in the kitchen? It seems like you introduce a complex recipe and then breezily recommend it as “easier than it looks, I promise you!” Have you had disasters?

Disasters? Oh yes, don’t we all? In the recipes, if I say it’s easier than it looks, it really is. Mostly it’s just the time it takes that seems daunting. Most disasters for me happen when pastry is involved –– not my strong suit– or if I try to rush or lose focus. I’ve been lucky lately though. I try to go through the old recipes methodically and take my time since I often don’t have extra preparations should one fail. Luckily a recent tough crust I made was for me and not for the blog. I have no idea why it failed!

What have you learned in tackling these classic sauce recipes from the French canon?

The biggest thing? There really are just a few basic parts to almost all the great sauces — D’Artagnan’s fabulous demi-glace shows up in most of them. If you have frozen demi-glace and make up a batch of Sauce Espagnole (and keep that in your freezer in small bags) you can make many of the dark sauces in no time at all. One day’s work pays off extravagantly. The cream and egg sauces just need you to take care with the heat and stir them well (and strain if there are clotted bits!). You can have an elegant dinner in no time at all using all the fabulous D’Artagnan birds and meats with the sauces – just like a 4 star French restaurant. Many of them take no time at all –– REALLY!

Which sauce recipe was your favorite?

That is almost impossible. I love the dark richness of Financiére with truffles and Madeira, but also am fond of the cream sauces (I have a great source for cream). Adding the egg to a sauce gives such richness from Hollandaise to Allemande.

Deana Sidney Venison with Chevreuil Sauce

Sauce Chevreuil is a brown sauce made with Espagnole, seen here over venison

What do you do when you’re not cooking? Tell us a little bit about your day job.

My other job is working as a production designer for films, TV and commercials. I specialize in character-driven work and love to construct a person’s environment so the actors feel at home there. It’s great fun, as much psychology as art. I am a sucker for objects that tell stories.

How has your food experience helped in your production design career?

Oh my, I have used it so much on small features (on larger ones I am not allowed to play with food). When I work with food stylists, they have 20 of something to shoot. I have gotten used to making do with much fewer on the blog. Now when I do film food scenes, I use all the tricks I have discovered shooting for the blog. It really is like play. Sadly, because of the lights, I can’t use some ingredients I would if it was for real. They would coagulate and look awful after a few takes. I think canned food is indestructible!

Do you have any memorable food stories from a movie set?

Well, one that’s appropriate is the D’Artagnan dinner I did for Molly’s Theory of Relativity. It was a labor-of-love project of a favorite director of mine. We had a very low budget but getting the D’Artagnan products for the shoot made all the difference – the dinner scene took up a lot of screen time.

Deana Set 2

Set photo from Molly’s Theory of Relativity

I was in a kitchen making duck ragout ravioli, duck breast with cherry sauce and foie gras. Since the scene took all day to film, we warned the actors not to eat too much but they couldn’t help themselves. The duck was so good they kept eating! After 30 takes they were getting rather full! Even a little boy on the set, whose mother said he didn’t eat anything, LOVED duck breast and ate a lot. The only disaster was the poor foie gras. Someone had accidently moved the pan to a burner that was on low so it got overcooked.

Deana Set Photo

Set photo of a young Einstein at the table from Molly’s Theory of Relativity

I did have to use soup and canned cherries to make the sauces so they would stay pretty. We put the duck on the platter and kept replacing the portions the actors were eating.

Deana Set 5

Deana’s movie set duck breast (Molly’s Theory of Relativity)

It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to follow along while Deana worked her way through these classic French sauces. If you want to catch up on her sauce posts, she’s got a category on our blog called Saucy Series. Bon appetit!

Watch, Learn, Cook! A New Video!

The latest video in our “Back of the House with Ariane” series takes on the subject of veal. The great Barbara Lynch, a chef and restaurateur based in Boston, makes a traditional Italian dish of osso buco and Ariane takes the French path with paupiettes de veau.

Link over to the recipes for Barbara Lynch’s Spicy Veal Osso Buco with Cumin Strozzapreti and Ariane’s Paupiettes de Veau on our website.

Incidentally, you can purchase veal there as well. And if you are squeamish about eating veal, there’s no need to be. Learn more about how our farmers raise veal here.

Saucy Series VIII: Bordelaise

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Bordelaise Sauce

Sam Ward was one of the great entertainers of the 19th century.  He virtually invented lobbying in Washington.  He had a talent for creating great dinners with perfectly assembled guests who then made deals since they were in a great mood after great food and conversation.

Uncle Sam Ward

When I looked at one of Sam’s dinner menus, I could see what all the fuss was about –– it is everything you would imagine it to be. The menu is thoughtful and yet full of piquant touches like the Sorbet au Marasquin –– a touch of prussic acid from the cherry pits in maraschino liqueur in the sorbet to aid in digestion and cleanse the palate for the last of the dinner. His nephew, another renowned tastemaker named Ward McAllister, said Sam made sure he would never allow that lest “the fatal mistake should occur of letting two white or brown sauces follow each other in succession; or truffles appear twice in that dinner.” It was always a perfectly choreographed dance of flavors –– and conversation. Without both, the event will never be as great a success.

menu 1

What would I chose for the 4th dish from Sam’s dinner table? I think that Crêpes a la Bordelaise are the perfect choice –– a great addition to a beef dinner with steak or roast, potatoes and a vegetable. My crêpes are light and airy with a winey, mushroom-y bordelaise sauce. They could be served flat or as a beggar’s purse. I know they will delight at your dinner. I have made a white wine bordelaise before for you HERE, but this calls for the red wine version.

Bordelaise is another addition to my Sauce Series that uses both the mother sauce Espagnole and demi-glace. I have included recipes for both but it’s a breeze to order your demi-glace from D’Artagnan and store it in the freezer. I just slice off what I need and put the rest back in the freezer. Bordelaise is great for any steak. You can make it ahead and freeze it easily so you can make your meal in a snap.

Menu 3

Delmonico’s Chef Filippini Recipe from Sam Ward’s Era

Menu 2

Delmonico’s Chef Ranhoffer’s Recipe from Sam Ward’s era

If you are so disposed, you can dissolve a spoon of marrow into the mix, as was done long ago. I skipped that step and let the meatiness of the mushrooms add additional flavor and depth. It’s really pretty easy to make if you have the basics in your freezer.

Crêpes Bordelaise for 4

1 recipe for crêpes
1 recipe for bordelaise
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 T butter

Sauté the mushrooms in the butter. Add the mushrooms to the bordelaise. Fold your crêpes into quarters on your plate and ladle the sauce over them or serve the sauce on the side. They can be plated separately or served on a platter.

Crêpes (makes 12)

3/4 c milk
2 eggs
1/2 c flour
1/4 t salt
butter for pan

Throw the milk, eggs, flour and salt into the blender and let it rip for a minute.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve.

Use a stick of butter like a marker and run it all over your pan (or you can use a spoon of clarified butter if you have it). Be especially generous for the first few and use butter before each pour of batter. Swirl 2 T of batter around the pan and flip once it has set –– do not allow to brown too much. Keep warm or reheat gently when you are ready to serve.

Bordelaise

2 shallots, chopped fine
2 t oil or butter
1 c red wine
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 T demi-glace from D’Artagnan
3 T Espagnole sauce* (or add a t. of flour to the sautéed shallots with 1 t. of tomato sauce or ketchup and a little more demi-glace)
stems from 4 mushrooms
1/2 bay leaf
pinch of cloves
1 1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
1 T butter or oil

Sauté the shallots in the oil till softened somewhat.

If you are skipping the addition of Espagnole, you can add a teaspoon of flour to the shallots to give the sauce the extra body and add a t. of tomato sauce or ketchup for the right flavor.

Put the wine, garlic, shallots, demi-glace, Espagnole (if you are using it) and stems from mushrooms into a pan and reduce at medium heat until thickened.

Strain the sauce –– you should have about 1/3 cup of sauce about the texture of chocolate syrup –– a bit less if you don’t use the Espagnole. This sauce keeps well for a few days.

*Super-quick version of Espagnole Sauce

1 T butter
1 T flour
1 T bacon
1 T onion
1 T white wine
1 t ketchup
1 cup stock
2 T demi-glace from D’Artagnan

Sauté the flour in the butter till medium brown. Add the rest and cook on low for 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour — till thickened. Keep watch lest it go too far. Strain and use.

•Quick Version of Espagnole Sauce

4 T butter
4 T Flour
3 T diced carrot
3 T diced onion
3 T bacon
2 c stock
1 t thyme
piece of bay leaf
2 T white wine
1/4 c demi-glace from D’Artagnan
2 T tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the flour and butter till it is a medium brown on a medium flame –– stirring all the time.

Add the vegetables, ham and bacon and stir. Slowly add the stock, wine and demi-glace. Cook over a low flame for 45 minutes and add the tomato sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes and strain, pressing hard on the solids. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Save the rest for other uses. It is an invaluable addition to sauces. Freeze it in small portions. Quickest and easiest is to put it in ice-cube trays in 1 T portions and store them in a baggy in the freezer. Then it’s a breeze to use.

Featured Recipe: Wagyu Shepherd’s Pie

Why not elevate the homey cottage pie with ground Wagyu beef and a truffle butter mashed potato crust? Equal parts comfort food and haute cuisine, this is a pie to savor. Serve with a pint of pale ale or dry stout for a bit of “pub grub” authenticity.

shepherdspie

Ingredients

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups cream (or milk)
5 tablespoons D’Artagnan Black Truffle Butter
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds D’Artagnan Kobe-Style Ground Wagyu Beef
1 large onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup peas
1/2 container D’Artagnan Veal Demi-Glace, dissolved with 1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup red wine

 Preparation 

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, add 1 tablespoon salt. Heat over medium-high flame until simmering. Cook until a fork slips in and out easily. Drain potatoes then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until lumps are gone, about 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons black truffle butter, mix until blended. Turn mixer down to low speed. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste, and nutmeg. Do not over mix. Cover with foil, set aside.
  2. Heat a large Dutch-oven or other heavy pot over medium-high flame. Add ground Wagyu beef, cook, breaking up meat with a spoon or spatula until evenly browned and no longer pink. Remove meat with a spotted spoon and set aside. Drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat.
  3. Place pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot. Cook, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add beef back to the pot. Add tomato paste, mustard and cocoa powder, stirring well to combine. Stir in peas. Add red wine and demi-glace mixture. Again, stir up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, turn heat down to low. Maintain simmer until most liquid is evaporated and mixture reaches a thick, saucy consistency, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  5. Transfer meat mixture to a large baking dish. Spoon mashed potatoes over the top and evenly smooth over the meat using an off-set spatula. Use a fork to make an attractive swirled pattern on the top of the potatoes. Brush with melted truffle butter. Bake until top is golden brown, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Saucy Series, Part VII: Sauce Béarnaise

Welcome to guest blogger Deana Sidney of Lost Past Remembered, a blog dedicated to discovering, replicating and adapting historic recipes. In this saucy series she demystifies one of the cornerstones of classic French cuisine: the mother sauces.

Sauce Béarnaise

One of the most ostentatious parties of the 19th century was the Bradley-Martin Ball. It was noted that some the costumes cost more than a worker made in their lives (although Mrs. Martin noted that she arranged the party on short notice, so costumes would be made in New York and not Europe so as to employ out-of-work garment workers). Clergy gave sermons about the excesses causing some guests to bow out.

bradley martin not as many-MENU

The menu was elegant and had Filet de Boeuf Jardinière as one of its show-stopping dishes. It was a huge favorite during the gilded age and meant to impress. Aside from beef and vegetables, it always had a sauce Béarnaise to spoon over the delicious beef.

filet of beef jardiniereengraving copy

Ah Béarnaise sauce –– as part of my sauce series, Béarnaise is one of Escoffier’s mother sauces (that I wrote about HERE). History says the sauce was probably invented by Chef Collinet, for his restaurant Le Pavillon Henri IV (opened in 1836). Henri IV was from Béarn. It is essentially a hollandaise with shallots and tarragon that uses wine vinegar instead of lemon. It is fabulous with both beef and vegetables… if you add a bit of meat glaze to the sauce it becomes Sauce Foyot, very delicious with your beef. It’s also a breeze to make.

Although you can make the whole tenderloin, I decided that I would do little filets in the style and make cabbage cups of Béarnaise with the vegetables strewn about under the sauce. You can do an old style garnish if you wish ––cauliflower encased in gelée. It’s fun and delicious.

It doesn’t get better than this. Honestly, it can be ready in ½ an hour (if you don’t get fancy with the gelée).

19th century beef was much leaner than ours, so had to be larded. Not a problem today. I used D’Artagnan’s pasture-raised filet mignon –– a magnificent piece of meat. It has a buttery, cut-with-a-spoon texture and rich, deep flavor. Party like a plutocrat, you won’t be disappointed.

DSC_1165x

Filet Mignon a la Jardiniére

serves 4

4 D’Artagnan’s pasture-raised filet mignon (6-8 oz each)
salt and course ground pepper to taste
2 T butter (or a bit of lard or bacon fat for the flavor of the original larding)
4 T demi-glace
4 t madeira
1 c cooked peas
1 c cooked green beans
2 cooked carrots, sliced into thin sticks
1 cup cooked cauliflower (plus another cup if you want to make the gelée)
4 small cooked onions
4 – 8 leaves of cooked cabbage cut to make small cups
*cauliflower in gelée garnish (optional)

DSC_1095

After cooking them, keep the vegetables warm.

Put the butter (or lard) in a hot pan (preferably cast iron). Salt and pepper the meat. Brown on top and bottom and on the sides, if the meat is very thick. It will be rare when you are done with this. Cook a few minutes longer if you want it medium-rare. Tent and let rest for 5 minutes. Warm the demi-glace and madeira and pour over the meat.

Place the vegetables on the plate and put the cabbage leaf like a cup. Add some Béarnaise to the cup, place the cauliflower gelée and the meat.

Béarnaise Sauce

8 T butter
2 egg yolks
1 shallot, minced
pinch of nutmeg
1 – 2 t chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 c white wine vinegar (tarragon vinegar if you have it) plus 1-2 T
salt and pepper

Put the shallots in a heavy pan if you have it with 1/4 c vinegar and a pinch of pepper and reduce till nearly dry. Let cool.

Add the egg yolks, stirring to blend and put on low heat. Add a few tablespoons of butter and stir to dissolve, removing from the heat from time to time and continue adding butter till all of it is used up. Never let it get too hot or it will separate. Just enough to melt the butter. Add the remaining vinegar to taste and salt and pepper and the chopped tarragon.

You can add a bit of the meat glaze from the beef when you have finished cooking it if you would like. Keep warm. If you need to reheat it, do it gently, it will separate if it gets too hot.

Gelée

3 cups stock
3 envelopes gelatin
2 egg whites and shells, crushed
3 T tomato, chopped
dark green top of 1 leek, chopped
1 sprigs parsley
1/3 c chopped celery leaves
a few slices of carrot
salt and pepper to taste

Put 1 cup of stock in a pot. Add 3 envelopes of gelatin to the stock and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the solids and egg whites and shells and add the stock. Bring to a heavy boil then immediately turn down to a low simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through double thickness of WET cheesecloth… DO NOT PRESS ON SOLIDS!!!! Let it drip slowly and you will have perfectly clear, golden stock. You can make it before you need it and refrigerate, just warm it to return it to a liquid state. It freezes beautifully

Put thin slices of cooked cauliflower in a dish of choice and pour the warm gelée over it. refrigerate and serve as a garnish. It is very forgiving. If you don’t like the way it looks in the gelée, just warm and start over.

Tournedos Rossini, A Legendary Recipe

The origins of this dish can be traced back to the relationship between legendary chef Marie-Antoine Carême and the composer Rossini, a known gourmand. Evidently Rossini insisted on the dish being prepared tableside so he could micromanage its creation, and when the chef objected to the interference, Rossini said, “So, turn your back.”  Whether that is true or not, this recipe bears his name, and it is as decadent, rich and satisfying today as it was when Rossini demanded it his way. Though it’s fairly easy to make, the ingredients are luxurious enough to make this a special-occasion meal. tournedos rossini1 INGREDIENTS

 PREPARATION 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 2 large ramekins. Cover the bottom of each ramekin with potato slices, brush with softened truffle butter and add another layer of potato. Repeat until all potatoes are used. Weigh down each potato cake with a smaller ramekin, then bake in the oven until edges are crisp and the center is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using an offset spatula, remove potato cakes to paper toweling. 2. In a small bowl, combine the demi-glace, truffle juice and chopped truffles, set aside. 3. Season filets with salt & pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the duck fat in a large skillet over medium-high flame. Sear the filets until desired doneness, about 5 minutes each side for medium-rare. Remove to a cutting board to rest, tent with foil to keep warm. 4. Discard all fat from the skillet. While the pan is still hot, add the Madeira, scraping up all the beefy bits on the bottom. Add the demi-glace mixture, cook until reduced, then remove from heat and stir in the truffle butter. Taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper, if necessary. Keep warm. 5. Heat a small, dry skillet over high flame. When hot, sear the foie gras slices until golden brown, about 60 seconds on each side. Remove to paper toweling. 6. On each of two plates, place the potato cake in the center and top with the filet mignon then foie gras. Spoon the sauce over and around. Top with freshly shaved truffle.  

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