Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beef in Cream Sauce with Leeks and Shallots

Alternate name: Alex's not-quite-beef-stroganoff.

This dish started out as a creative way to use up some leeks that were on sale, and evolved into something more complicated since I wanted to make something fancy. It's very similar in some ways to beef stroganoff, but more subtly flavored and not quite as heavy.

Ingredients:
1 pound steak (I used top sirloin which was reasonably priced at about $5/#)

1 leek, cut in half then chopped into thin half circles
2 + 1 shallots (the first two should be larger), diced
5-7 mushrooms, sliced (optional)

2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1/3 c. heavy cream
1/2-1 c. milk
1/3 c. dry white wine

Salt and Pepper.

Preparation:
1) One hour before cooking, heavily salt both sides of the steak, then cover in plastic and place in refrigerator. After an hour has passed, wash off the steak. It will look a bit dried out - that's fine. Put as much as a tablespoon of pepper on each side.

2) Heat a heavy skillet to quite hot, then add a small amount of high heat tolerant oil, add shallots and cook for 30 seconds. Throw in steaks, sear and lightly brown the sides. Don't worry about the interior temperature too much - you can control how cooked the inside gets by choosing an appropriate time to add the steak to the sauce. Remove steak from pan, leaving shallots in pan. Leave the steak for 5 minutes or so, then slice into 1/4"-1/2" slices against the grain.

3) Add, 2 Tbsp butter, reducing heat to low, then sweat the leeks, adding the mushrooms once the leeks are fairly soft.

4) When mushrooms are soft, add flour, making a roux, then cook for an additional 5 minutes still on low.

5) Add wine to deglaze, then mix with the roux, then add the cream and mix everything well. It should be pretty thick at this point - add some milk. The amount of milk will vary based on how much flour you added, and so you can add enough to make it to your preferred consistency. You can add more wine, and more salt, but be sparing with additional pepper since the steak has a lot already.

6) Once the sauce has reduced somewhat, you can add the beef. Again, the idea is simply to cook the beef to the level you're comfortable without overcooking it and making it tough. Cook the sauce with the beef as long as you need to.

7) Serve on top of your carbohydrate of choice (I used fresh pasta from a local Italian deli), sprinkling with the last shallot before serving.

With fresh pasta and asparagus:

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