Now what are these Beef Chronicles all about? Get an introduction here.
Our first meal of beef was predestined.
One package in the 133lb haul had not been vacuumed-packed properly and was henceforth the only obvious choice for that night's dinner.
"Hmm, I guess we'll have to eat this first." I remarked to Danny, thankful it wasn't a package of liver that was slipping around in it's plastic shrink-wrap.
Apparently fate wanted us to start with steak. Rib Steak, to be exact. That was fine by me as I was in need of a quick meal as a result of dealing with the post-vacation-stress-disorder still manifesting itself in our home.
The day after we picked up our beef from the farm, I had made a grocery list of items I thought I better have on hand for cooking all this meat, items like red wine, sherry vinegar, and shallots. Sure enough, the recipe for Faux Filet au Beurre Rouge from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, called for French shallots and red wine. Apparently my intuition paid off.
It sounds very fancy, but was really the quickest of suppers: Preheat grill, season steaks, grill to desired doneness, transfer to a plate and top with a generous slice of red-wine butter. Voila. Tony's dish calls for a New York strip, but I used the pre-selected-for-me rib steak; pretty much any cut of steak would work for this recipe.
I served it with corn on the cob that had been tossed with a feta-mint butter, a recipe I've also included because it is rapturous.
Dinner with two different flavored butters? Julia Child would have been proud.
The red-wine butter is easy to make, yet tastes surprisingly sophisticated when melted and mixed with the steaks juices. It becomes a sauce in it's own way and elevates a rather boring steak to something, well, something worth writing about!
As for the beef itself? Sublime. Very lean. Flavorful. I can't wait to try more. We're off on another camping trip this weekend and I'm bringing--guess?--more steaks.
Beurre Rouge or Red-Wine Butter
adapted from Les Halles Cookbook
This recipe makes a lot--enough to top a dozen or so steaks--but it can keep for a while if it is well-wrapped in the freezer. It's nice to have something like this garnish a good steak, because, as Tony Bourdain puts it, you never know when your deadbeat friends are going to drop by demanding a meal.
1/2 cup red wine
1 shallot, finely chopped
8 oz butter, softened
1 handful of flat parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
In a small pot combine the wine and shallot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated, taking care not to let the shallots burn. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool.
In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine butter, shallot-wine mixture, the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Scrap out of the bowl with a rubber spatula and place in the center of a large piece of plastic wrap. Gently form into a 1-inch diameter log, shaping and squeezing, like rolling a nori roll. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap tightly and refrigerated until the butter is firm enough to slice.
Serve over grilled steaks.
Corn on the Cob with Mint-Feta Butter
Adapted from Gourmet August 2009
4 ears of corn, shucked and cut in half
2 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled or grated
3 tbsp minced fresh mint
1/4 tsp (generous) kosher salt
In a large bowl, combine the butter, feta, minced fresh mint, and salt. Mix well.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the corn pieces. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the corn kernels are just tender.
Using tongs, remove the corn from the water, drain slightly, and place it into the bowl with the feta-butter mixture. Toss the corn in the butter mixture until all of the pieces are well-coated.
Serve immediately. Serves 4.