Since this is my second year of working on Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, I felt it was time to try a meat recipe – Bifteck Sauté Au Beurre (Pan-broiled Steak). I’m dedicating this post to my Jack, a dog who could really enjoy steak. I hope wherever he is now, he is able to eat as much steak as he wants.
It’s been a few weeks and I’m still crying a lot. That’s all I want to say right now.
Julia goes into great detail about cuts of meat at the beginning of the chapter but she doesn’t include some preparatory steps necessary to cook a great steak which I have included for people who have never cooked steak.
I also used filet mignon which isn’t what is called for in this recipe. Tom and I don’t eat a lot of steak but when I do cook steak, I like to eat the best. Also, it cut down on the “cutting the fat” out of the steak step. Feel free to use whatever cut of steak you want.
Special Equipment – a frying pan, ideally one just big enough to hold your steaks.
1) 1 1/2 tablespoons butter OR 1 1/2 tablespoons oil or rendered fresh beef suet + more if needed.
2) 2 steaks
3) Salt and pepper to taste
For the Sauce
1) 1/2 cup stock OR canned beef bouillon OR red wine OR dry white wine OR dry white vermouth OR water
2) 2- 3 tablespoons softened butter
Preparation #1 – Bring the Steak to Room Temperature
A key to great steak in general is to bring the meat to room temperature. This will probably take an hour or so. If you forget to do it, that’s okay but your steak will taste better if you perform this step.
Preparation #2 – Tenderize the Steak with a Knife
I also like to tenderize my steak by sort of pounding it with my favorite knife. You can buy meat tenderizer but they tend to be kind of salty and pounding it with a knife does the same thing.
Preparation #3 – Prepare the Steak for the Frying Pan.
1) Trim off the excess fat. The more expensive the cut of steak, the less fat you have to cut off.
2) Dry the steaks thoroughly with paper towels.
1) Place the butter in a frying pan.
2) Turn the range on medium high.
3) Allow the butter to foam, then being to subside. This is how you tell it’s hot enough to sear the steak.
4) Saute the steak on one side for 3-4 minutes.
5) Flip the steak over and saute the other side for 3-4 minutes.
Cooking #2 – Test the Steak for Doneness
Julia recites two tests for doneness (to medium rare).
1) When you see a little pearling of red juice beginning to ooze out of the steak OR
2) You can press the steak with your finger. If it just resists a little and springs back a little it’s done.
3) When the steaks are done, take them out and place them on a platter to keep them warm while you make the sauce. I covered mine with aluminum foil.
Cooking #3 – Make a sauce.
1) Julia says to pour the fat out of the skillet. Well, I didn’t have much fat to begin with so I didn’t worry about it.
2) Turn the range heat on high.
3) While the heat is on high, scrape the pan, boiling the liquid down until it’s almost a syrup.
4) Turn the heat off.
5) Add the butter, mix well.
6) Pour the sauce over the steak and mix well.