Monday, March 1, 2010

Steak Bearnaise

Lets French!
Mastering the Art of Butter

A few months ago Lu and I dragged my long suffering fella Colm along to see the ultimate foodie/chick flick Julie and Julia. By the end of the film he had to grudgingly admit that, actually, it was a pretty enjoyable film. So for Christmas this year Colm bought me a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and inside was a ticket for two to Paris! Awww. So we are heading off on Thursday which had finally pushed me to blog this recipe, which I cooked from said book over a month ago for my friend Stuart.

Having read a good few of the recipes over the Christmas period, I came to the conclusion that Julia Child's main philosophy of cooking is as follows: 'First melt some butter. Then sauté some slices of butter in some more butter. Then add some chopped cubes of cold butter. Finish with some melted butter'

Anyway, Stuart is a good Naval man so I figured he would appreciate a steak. He arrived brandishing two bottles of Ruby port and proceeded to show Lu and I how to make the perfect Hot Port on the high seas. Then we drank them all. Oh dear.

Julia Child's sauce Bearnaise (straight and unedited from the horses mouth)

(NB- I recently invested in a set of American Cup measurements and teaspoon/tablespoons. They are invaluable and only cost 3 euro in Allrooms on Liffey st!)

(NB 2- I have used square and curley brackets to try to make a bit more sense of her extremely complicated recipes)

1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth
1 Tb minced shallots or green onions
1 Tb minced fresh tarragon or 1/2 Tb dried tarragon
1/8tsp pepper
pinch of salt
a small saucepan
3 egg yolks
2 tb cold butter
1 Tb cold water
1 Tb lemon Juice
big pinch of salt
1 Tb cold Butter
1 [another] Tb cold butter
1/2 to 2/3 cup melted butter
2 tb fresh minced tarragon or parsley

For 1 1/2 cups

Boil the vinegar, wine, shallots or onions, herbs and seasonings over a moderate heat until the liquid has reduced to 2 tablespoons. Let it cool.

Then proceed as though making a hollandaise, page 79 [cut the butter into pieces and melt it in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Then set aside Beat the egg yolks for about a minute in the {other medium enamel or stainless steel} saucepan until they become thick and sticky. add the water, lemon juice and salt and beat for half a minute more.

Add a tb of cold butter, but do not beat in. Place the saucepan over very low heat or barely simmering water and stir the egg yolks with a wire whip until they slowly thicken into a smooth cream. This will take 1 to 2 minutes. If they seem to be thickening too quickly, or even suggest a lumpy quality, immediately plunge the bottom of the pan in cold water , beating the yolks to cool them. {I did this, it works!} Then continue beating over the heat. The egg yolks have thickened enough when you can begin to see the bottom of the pan between strokes, and the mixture forms a light cream on the wires of the whip.] Strain in the vinegar mixture and beat

[Immediately remove from the heat and beat in the cold butter [1tb, I presume] which will cool the egg yolks and stop their cooking. Then beating the egg yolks with a wire whip, pour on the melted butter by droplets or quarter-teaspoon-fuls until the sauce begins to thicken into a very heavy cream. Then pour the butter a little more rapidly. Omit the milky residue at the bottom of the butter pan.]

Correct seasoning and beat in the tarragon or parsley

I know, a bit of a palaver but actually it wasn't that bad when I actually did it. I got the vinegar mixture done ahead of time, and beat up the eggs well before I cooked the steak. then when the steak was cooking I made the sauce. At the end, I de-glazed the steak pan with one Tb white wine, which technically makes this a sauce Colbert, according to Julia.

I served with sauteed potatoes cooked in a stupid amount of butter, another Julia recipe, and some steamed asparagus. It was really super delish. It would want to be after all that butter.

Here's my translation of the potato recipe into modern day parlance, I cant take any more of those brackets!

Sauteed Potatoes
2 lb small new potatoes, peeled
3 - 4 tbs clarified butter (melted and milk solids skimmed off so it can't burn)
pinch salt

Peel the potatoes but don't wash them after or during peeling. Dry them in a clean tea towel. Pour the butter into a heavy skillet or frying pan which has a tight fitting lid. Heat until very hot but not coloring, or until it begins to foam. Then ad the potatoes. Leave for two minutes. Then give them a shake every now and then so that they sear on all sides. Cook for another 5-8 mins. Sprinkle them with salt. Lower the heat, cover the skillet with the lid and cook for about 15 mins, shaking every now and then to prevent sticking and ensure even coloring. They are done when they yield slightly to the pressure of your finger, or when a knife pierces them easily.

Ok, so now on to the
Hot Ports
Stuart reckons that the only way to make a good hot port is as follows
1) In a large wine glass heat the glass with some boiling water (make sure you have a metal spoon or similar in there so you wont break the glass)
2) Pour in a double measure of ruby port
3) Get a teaspoon of muscavado sugar (it has to be muscavado)
4) Hold it over the glass while you pour boiling hot water over it and into the glass, this way the sugar melts into the port.

No cloves or lemons need apply


Here's a pic of the book itself with its best friend, a big load of butter. {I had a full 500g package of butter before I started cooking this meal so this gives you an idea of how much I used!}


Unknown said...

Oh, my!! I think I would want someone to make it FOR me!!! I bet the smell is heavenly!!

L said...

Hi Lyn, Yes, its nice if you have someone to do the graft, but its totally worth it if you want to impress your dinner guests with your chef-like abilities. Im just back from Paris this evening. Wowee to French food- think I o.d'd on cheese, if such a thing is possible! Thanks for your comment!

Caroline@Bibliocook said...

Enough butter will make everything tastse good! That sauce is SO worth it, though.

Lu said...

Hey Caroline - it's sad but true - as long as I don't start buttering my rashers, I reckon I'm ok (I do know somebody who does that!) Love your blog by the way

Adventures in Veg said...

Hey Lucy - was lovely to meet you at Aoife's house on Sat! This is the other Aoife - the one in the leopard-print cardi who drank wine out of a mug ;) Your blog is fab x

Lu said...

Hey Aoife -thanks for stopping by and checking it out. Was lovely to meet you too, Sat night was great fun, will def be picking up some marmite soon - keep in touch x

Anonymous said...

This looks incredible! Yummington! I am saving up for Julia Child's book as we speak (after watching Julie & Julia of course, which was recommended by my food loving, and secret chick-flick loving boyfriend!). Did you get the hardback version? I'm trying to work out if it's worth the extra money...

I love your blog by the way.


L said...

Hi Anna, yes its definitely a good reference book to have in the kitchen. I wouldn't cook from it every day but for the classics its a great guide. I have the hard back version but I'm sure paper back would do just as well as its not something you would use constantly...
Enjoy your journey into French cookery!