After many years of going out to big parties for New Year’s we decided to have a quiet evening at home by ourselves and enjoy the simple pleasure of waking up to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade instead of turning it on as we get ready for bed. I had to work New Year’s Eve so dinner was intended to be something simple, easy, but elegant — all attributes of my favorite TV chef: Ina Garten. The vintage Dom P. was provided by some friends who surprised us by bringing it as a host gift to a casual get together a couple month’s back. The bottle practically begged us to stay put for New Year’s!
I have been After enjoying some of Food Network shows of Ina’s for her Paris book so several of her recipes where on my brain. I quickly settled on Steak au Poivre as m husband always orders the filet mignon if it is on the restaurant menu so I never make it at home. I generally feel the filet is the most tasteless of steaks (which is why the French usually serve it with such flavorable sauces such as gorganzola, etc.) I learned from my mother years ago how to make pan gravies and sauces for filet so, as Ina says, “What can be easier than that?” My intentions for a simple ‘one pan’ dinner flew out the window when I decided ante up on Ina for the night by adding shoestring potatoes and brussel sprout lardons for the full Paris bistro effect. I commemorated Ina’s influence on our evening by talking like her all night. “Remember when we had steak au poivre at those fashionable French Bistros when we were first married?” “Sina and I are staying home for the first NYE in 10 years and I thought I would make a special meal to remind him of our trip to Paris….” (We’ve never been to Paris together…)
I’d never made the fries before so it was a good thing there was no pressure tonight. I’ve been saving a recipe for fries to try that I got in Cooks Illustrated but tonight it was Ina’s recipe for matchsticks. Now that I’ve done it I’d definitely change up the procedures a bit as these aren’t a great thing to be worrying about when you are finishing up a steak sauce at the same time. Also, note that the fries will continue to cook after taking them out of the oil if you put them in the oven to ‘stay warm’ according to Ina’s instructions. This type of fry won’t suffer if you make them FIRST, let them sit on a baking sheet and THEN gently warm them before serving.
These were great. I sub’d currants for the golden raisins but I think they could be left out altogether. This is another dish best made before the steaks and kept gently warm before serving.
How good is that?
I love the smell of the shallots going into the pan after the steaks are removed. Add stock, some demi-glace, cognac, butter, and a pinch of salt and you have a classic brown sauce. Some add cream but I prefer not to.
And check out the mess my simple dinner for two left behind! (See the burnt, non-useable fries left on my sheet pan?)