I did not smack these creole beef grillades with cheese grits down.
I mean, yes, I cooked them – a John Besh recipe out of Harvest to Heat. I just didn’t cook them tonight; I made then on Monday. I thought I could try and get a post done ahead of time and pull one over on you, but it turns out that I can’t. Writing about this dish after the fact just feels…wrong. You must feel uncomfortable as well. I’m sorry. Apparently, I NEED to write in the moment or the well runs dry, and the well ain’t that well-stocked to begin with.
Luckily there are photographs to remind me of what I did. Oh, and leftover cheese grits; if you’re going to make cheese grits, it seems like a terrible waste not to make extra.
So the dish is essentially thin steaks, dredged in seasoned flour and seared up in some bacon fat, and then simmered in a lovely creole-y sauce and served with grits that have been enriched with Swiss and mascarpone. What’s not to love? Have you ever seen or read a John Besh recipe that you DIDN’T immediately want to inhale? I didn’t think so.
It irritates me that the computer doesn’t recognize the word “mascarpone.” Then again, 90% of the people on the Food Network don’t get it right either,* so I shouldn’t be surprised. What’s that you say? Mars-capone? JUST STICK A KNITTING NEEDLE IN MY EAR WHY DON’T YOU, YOU FUCKERS?
*Including Alton Brown, which makes me indescribably sad.
Sauteeing up the trinity that forms the base of the sauce – the New Orleans version of a mirepoix, onion, celery and bell pepper – creates a scent that transports one to the bayou. Which is all the more amazing because I’ve never actually been to the bayou, or anywhere near New Orleans. (A damn dirty shame.) But it smells like what I imagine all of New Orleans smells like.
Well, and booze. The trinity and booze. Oh, and loose women. Whatever they smell like; I probably don’t want to know.
Of course, it helps if you’re sauteeing things in bacon fat. This dish used up the remainder of my store of bacon fat,* not that I’m complaining.
So I cooked up my dredged steaks in bacon fat, then sauteed the trinity in bacon fat before adding a bit of flour to create a roux and then mixing in tomatoes and beef stock. In went bay leaves, thyme, red pepper flakes and Worcestershire, and the whole mess simmered together for a few minutes before the steak returned to the pan to cook through until tender.
*Now I only have duck and goose fat left. Poor, poor me.
While the steak simmered, I threw together the grits; a simple affair made luxurious with butter, cheese and mascarpone. It took a LOT of tasting to get things just right, and that is NOT because I just wanted an excuse to eat more cheese grits.
Then I took this badly-lit photo so that I could fail to show you the dish to its best advantage. A shame, because this was an excellent dinner. The sauce was intensely flavorful and made everything it touched better. The steak was perfectly tender, and I don’t think I have to say anything about cheese grits with mascarpone.
The steak, while good, was actually somewhat superfluous; my favorite part of the night was the extra bowl of grits topped with the sauce I had afterward.
I’ve felt seriously off trying to write this and hope it does not transfer to the reading. Next week, no more of this planning-ahead bullshit.