I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl.
That is to say, I’m a filet of beef with sauce porto, roasted shallots and potato puree (from Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook) kind of girl. You know me, I like the finer things in life. Like, I ALWAYS get cheese on my Whopper.
I wanted something deliciously classic tonight but didn’t feel up to bouillabaisse or coq au vin. Beef filet is (1) delicious and (2) classic, but also quick cooking. Of course, I only thought that because…yes! I failed to read the recipe all the way through before settling on it! If i had a nickle for every time I did that, I’d have enough nickles to fill a sweatsock, which I could use to bludgeon anyone who tries to take my filet of beef with sauce porto away from me.
Step one: Roast shallots with butter in the oven until brown and tender. That is, for one hour.
Well, at least the shallots didn’t need any babysitting, leaving me free to put the potato puree together while they roasted. Yes, I could just have made mashed potatoes on my own, but where there’s a recipe, there’s a way.
When I say “There’s a recipe,” what I really mean is “There’s an excuse to use way more cream and butter than I would have if I had my druthers.” See the cream in the picture? It looks like a good amount of cream, yes? It is ONE-THIRD of the total amount of cream that eventually got folded into these potatoes, until I thought I could fold no more. Be still, my heart. No, really, it’s still. That’s a lot of saturated fat.
Eventually, the shallots came out of the oven and I could turn to the beef. I gave it a good sear before stashing it in a hot oven to finish cooking through.
While it roasted, I got my sauce-makings together: butter, sliced shallots, flour, port and veal stock. Let’s face it, when you’re using port and veal stock – rich mahogany, gelatinous veal stock – you hardly have to do anything. Heat, reduce, pour over steak, the end.
Of course, this recipe is from a book of French bistro cooking, which means that along with “heat” and “reduce” comes “strain” and “whisk in more butter.”
I dutifully sauteed the sliced shallots in butter, sprinkled over the flour, added and reduced the port, added and reduced the stock, strained the shallots out and whisked in several tablespoons of butter, until everything was nice and glossy. A pinch of salt to even out the flavor, and sauce porto complete.
Does this or does this not look like a plate of food for which you would pay a lot of money? And I DID pay a lot of money, because I don’t know where you live, but around here filet mignon ain’t cheap. But I did pay a lot less than I would have in a restaurant, and was able to sit down to dinner in only three to four times the amount of time!
I could not kick this filet out of bed for dripping sauce everywhere. I only wish I’d taken a picture of the interior which was, if I may pat myself on the back for a moment, cooked obscenely perfectly. The rich sauce paired beautifully with the buttery meat, and the sweet shallots were a lovely partner. The potatoes were as sickeningly good as only dishes involving a full cup of heavy cream can be.
Bourdain: I still don’t really like him, but I’ll still eat his food.