Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Date Cooked: January 10, 2010
After making so bold a statement that I was going to cook more, over a week had elapsed before I got myself back into the kitchen with the book. As is usual in our house the question of what’s for dinner is always being asked. Since it was Sunday though, I had ample time to figure out what we should have and then make sure I had the ingredients. As is pretty typical around my house, we had very little fresh produce but lots of frozen meat.
We decided that some steaks with a pan sauce would be nice. This Classic Red Wine Pan Sauce fit the bill. I had already cooked the Pan-Seared Strip Steaks from the book and mangled my attempt at the Shallot-Butter Pan Sauce then, so I figured I would try my luck at a different pan sauce. The first step in this pan sauce is actually a red wine reduction. In a skillet I simmered red wine with minced shallots, carrots and mushrooms along with some parsley and a bay leaf. After 15 minutes the liquid was strained and then greatly reduced. While the sauce was reducing I cooked the steaks.
Once the steaks were done the fun began. I would like to qualify the following story with the fact I was also trying to balance the completion of two other recipes from the book. All fighting for a spot on the stovetop and cooking relatively quickly. I added some shallots to the pan and quickly realized that the pan was still very hot. I scrambled to deglaze the pan with equal parts chicken broth and beef broth before the shallots burnt to a crisp. In my mind I was envisioning the Shallot-Butter Pan Sauce all over again. Of course the pan was so hot the broth immediately sizzled and evaporated in a cloud of steam. Within minutes though all seemed to calm down. I allowed this to simmer for a bit before adding in the red wine reduction, the juices from the resting steaks and some fresh chopped thyme. This sauce was very dark and only a portion of this coloring was due to the reduced red wine. This was then served over the steaks.
Rating: C. I definitely need to work on pan temperature and I definitely need a larger stainless steel or cast iron skillet, instead of the non-stick one I am using. The steaks cooked too quickly and the pan was so hot that the fond was not composed of flavorful browned bits but blackened charcoal. This gave the sauce a burnt flavor. You could taste the fact that the sauce wanted to be good but it was still “burnt”. The subtle flavor of the wine and thyme were fighting for recognition while any other flavor was buried under the charcoal. I have one pan sauce left in the book so we will see what I can do but I am feeling that pan-seared food and sauces are beating me.