Monday, 18 August 2014

Beef fillet with red wine sauce

Yeah, guys, I should admit that I love cooking with wine. I like it so much that, from time to time, I even put it in the food! 
Well, one of the most relaxing moments of the week is usually Saturday evening when I can take my time to actually enjoy cooking a great meal. I do the cooking at home, every day. And week nights are under so much pressure that it is something totally different. On Saturdays, I would take my time to really enjoy the process. I usually would do something a bit more special than during the week, and most probably, when the kitchen starts to smell deliciously my husband would come over to investigate what's for dinner, pour a glass of wine for me, then another for himself, and prepare some olives, anchovies, cheese, or any small bite to go with the wine while I finish cooking the meal. 
We have grown fond of that habit since we moved to the house where we live now. The kitchen has a central island with high chairs perfect for him to sit while I cook. After a week fast paced, and most probably a Saturday also fully packed of activities, this is our little moment to talk, relax, and usually have quite some fun. It is one of those strange moments when the kids are not around, and we have a bit of time to just be together, talk and do things without pressure. As the meal progresses he would start to set the table, slice some bread, prepare the drinks.
So, on Saturday evenings it is not only that I enjoy cooking. I really enjoy that time, I enjoy the wine, I enjoy the company. And I enjoy then a large meal, with an even longer after dinner conversation.
This recipe is one that I would as a bit of a treat, and it actually does not require that much effort. The result is amazing, in any case. 
It is, besides, a classic of Spanish cooking. If there is a book that you can find in any Spanish kitchen it is probably “1080 recetas de cocina”, from Simone Ortega. It is a classic everyday's cooking book from the 70’s that is periodically re printed, as it is so popular. (I guess you can say she would be our Julia Child, although without all the TV fuss). However, the book has never been published with photos. I find it very odd, but the owner of the copyright seems to think that the project would end up in such an expensive book that it would not be a best seller any more. Anyway, a group of food bloggers in Spain started a while ago a project to recreate the recipes and photograph them. I was lucky to be in that project with a really talented bunch of people. You can have a look at the whole project in here. Of course, we were prevented from publishing the recipes, as they belong to the copyright’s holders (although they graciously used our photos to create their own pinterest boardwith them). So, today I am not publishing the original Simone’s Ortega recipe, but my way of preparing her steaks with red wine sauce.
This is a wonderful way to prepare any good cut of meat. But the sauce itself is absolutely divine, and once you have tried it you will want to put it in every dish.
So, open your bottle of wine, and please, always, always, always use a good wine to cook. Wouldn’t you use the best food? The same with the wine. You might ruin a sauce with a good wine, but you will never ever make a good sauce from a bad wine, the same that bad meat will not improve with a good cooking. So, next time you put wine into your food, please, remember this. In the meanwhile, enjoy this little wonder.

 Beef fillet with red wine sauce

Ingredients (for 2)
2 large and thick fillet steak per person
60 ml Olive oil
2 shallots
375 ml good red wine
45 ml double cream
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the oil on a pan with the olive oil, once hot but not smoking, fry the steaks, one at the time, to taste. You would need aprox. 5 minutes per side. Season in the pan, and put them into the serving plate. Reserve, keeping it warm. 
Dice the shallots and cook them in the same pan where you fried the meat, so that you incorporate those meat juices into the sauce. Cook them at medium heat for about 5 minutes, moving from time to time. Add the wine (the better the wine, the tastier your sauce) and let it cook slowly at low heat for about 8-10 minutes, until reduced. Add the cooking cream, give it a stir, with care of not getting to the boil, and serve with the steak cut into thick (3-4cm) stripes.

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