Fall is becoming lovelier by the day here. The side of Mt. Salève looks like it’s been gilded and there’s a fog that settles in the morning that burns off by noon, allowing a blaze of colour to come through. Autumn brings it’s own dangers though. The chestnut trees drop their nuts from several stories above, making a disconcerting cracking sound when they hit the ground. In a big gust of wind, you find these falling all around you, like gunfire going off. When walking by our forest, I often find myself ducking and covering the children. Some of these trees, I’m not sure which, have these enormous nuts that the Brits affectionately call “conkers,” presumably because they would crush your skull if they make a direct hit. And there’s this other nut, I can’t even describe it properly, it’s huge and hard and covered with sharp spikes that would definitely entrench themselves several inches into the skull if you were unfortunate to be under one when they fell. I have to get a picture of this, it has to be seen to be believed. Nobody told me I needed to wear full-body armour to survive a fall day here!
I came onto this recipe by happenstance. I was going to make something else entirely, a beef short rib recipe, but the butcher that I went to in France didn’t have any short ribs (and also I didn’t know how to say beef short rib in French). I’ve started to do all my meat shopping in France, it is a fraction of the cost and really good quality. And I get to brag about stuff like “I only buy my meat in France,” which I adore because I am super pretentious. Anyway, I settled on some delicious looking boeuf entrecote. Which is steak. I’m not sure what kind of steak, all the different cuts are confusing, especially in two different languages. Then I had to look up recipes to go with said steak.
I settled on the Entrecote Bordelaise because we live so close to the Bordeaux region of France, I thought it would be fun to do a regional dish. Also, the recipe suggested getting a bottle of red from the St. Emilion area, a medieval village close to where the dish was created. And it just so happened I was passing by the wines on sale at my grocery and found this gem, a lovely Grand Cru Classé from St. Emilion. Everything was coming together.
I paired the dish with spatzle, which is not traditionally French but German, but hey, close enough. With the heavy pasta and the even heavier, heart-suffocating butter sauce found in traditional French sauces, this recipes is not for the weak of heart (literally). I had to eat salad for the next three consecutive days to counteract the richness of this meal, but sometimes you just have to enjoy that kind of thing, you know? The recipe is found at food.com.
Boeuf Entrecote Bordelaise
2 entrecote steaks
100 g butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
100 ml red wine
200 ml beef stock
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the pan to smoking point and add half the butter. Place the steak in the pan and brown it on both sides – give it about two to three minutes on each side to seal it first, then let the meat cook through to your taste. Do both steaks in this way and then set them aside.
In the same pan, (drain excess butter if needed), cook the shallots. Put them in the pan and stir from time to time until they are soft and starting to turn golden.
When the shallots are done add the red wine to the pan and give it a good stir. Don’t use the good red wine for this!
Now, add the beef stock to the pan and stir until everything is blended, then leave it to simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced.
Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and add them to the sauce one at a time, mixing so that they melt into the mixture.
Cut the meat across the grain into thick slices and arrange them on a plate.
Add some chopped parsley to the sauce, then pour little of the sauce over each steak.
Serve the rest of the sauce in a gravy boat.