Today’s dish is an Entrecôte à la Bordelaise – This is a rib or sirloin steak a served with a classic red wine, shallot, and beef marrow sauce. This particular sauce was probably invented in Paris, but named after the Bordeaux region of France, famous for its wine but also teaming with culinary specialities. It is said that in days gone, gourmets would be invited down into the wine cellars of the chateaux to eat an entrecôte cooked by the barrel maker who had a reputation for preparing it well. They made their fire with the wood from old barrels and claimed that this gave particularly good flavour to the meat.
Ingredients (for 2 people)
2 rib or sirloin steaks
40 g bone marrow
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
300 ml red wine (something drinkable, though certainly not top-notch)
a bay leaf
a sprig or two of fresh thyme
300 ml concentrated brown stock
a squeeze of lemon
Firstly the marrow is extracted from the sliced bones and poached for two minutes in salted water. Then the finely chopped shallots are sweated gently in a tablespoon of butter until very soft, care being taken not to let them brown at all. The wine is added along with the herbs and the crushed peppercorns – These can be crushed using sturdy saucepan. All this is cooked steadily for about 15 minutes until about 1/4 of the original volume remains at which point the stock goes in and is gently reduced again until slightly thickened and approaching sauce consistency. Strain the sauce into a clean pan and set aside whilst the steaks are cooked.
Make sure the steaks have been out of the fridge for a while to bring them to room temperature. Season them very generously on both side with salt and pepper, Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan. The pan is hot enough when the oil starts smoking. The steak is placed in, always away from you, and cooked until nicely coloured and then turned; two and a half minutes on each side is sufficient. Turn it on its back to cook any fat on the side and remove. Leave it to rest in a warm spot.
Bring the sauce back to heat and season it with a few drops of lemon juice, just to wake the favours up a little, and then, off the heat, swirl in a piece of butter. Drop in the sliced marrow, giving the pan another swirl on the heat but taking care not to boil it at this stage. Remove from the heat and immediately spoon over and around the steaks.
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