Tournedos Rossini!

When we fancy a bit of blow out, we turn to steak and I’ve tried some amazing recipes. Last weekend, at the behest of the uni-returning daughter, steak was once again on the menu and we elected to try a classic: Tournedos Rossini – a gutsy yet elegant dish that is served with a wonderful velvety sauce – it was nothing short of fabulous. I did adapt the recipe however! The original includes fois gras and as much as my food shopping bills are significant, even I could not push the boat out for that extravagance so swapped it for a little chicken liver paté and some sautéed mushrooms – still decadent and absolutely delicious!

Serves 4 very lucky people

What you need…

1 x small cookie cutter

Olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

4 x 200g beef fillet steaks

Sea salt and black pepper

250g chestnut mushrooms, wiped and sliced

150g good quality chicken liver paté (optional)

4 chunky slices of ciabatta

for the sauce

100ml hot water from the kettle

½ beef stockpot (I use Knorr)

2 tablespoons port

4 tablespoons brandy

4 tablespoons Madeira, plus extra for frying

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 truffle, finely sliced

What to do…

A couple of hours before you want to eat, take your steaks out of the fridge, put a teaspoon of oil onto each one, massage the oil in using the heel of your hand, season with black pepper (no salt at this stage), flip them and repeat on the other side. Cover with cling film and set aside.

Just before you’re ready to eat, add the butter to a hot frying pan. Season the steaks with salt on both sides and when the butter is foaming, pop in the steaks and cook over a high heat for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and keep warm (I put mine into a really low oven).

Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and sauté for five minutes until golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and pop onto kitchen paper to drain any excess liquid and then keep warm with the steaks.

Into the pan pour the port, brandy and Madeira and bring to the boil. Add the stock and reduce the heat to moderate, letting the sauce bubble away until it starts to thicken.

In a separate pan over a moderate heat, add a splash of Madeira and the garlic, cooking for a couple of minutes before adding the truffle. Turn the heat to low and cook for a further two minutes. Then, add the reduced sauce.

Meanwhile, toast the ciabatta. Also, if you’re including the paté, cut 4 small circles from it using your cookie cutter. Set aside.

To serve, place each steak on a piece of the toasted ciabatta, top with a circle of paté if using, then the mushrooms. Pour over the delicious sauce and dig in – it’s gutsy but elegant at the same time – fillet steak needs little faffing and this sauce together with a little pate and mushrooms create a fabulous dish that should be lingered over but….is demolished!!!!!

Serving Suggestion…

Potato Dauphinoise and a few green beans works particularly well.

What’s it all about…

Tournedos Rossini was created by chef, Marie-Antoine Carême, who is renowned as the ‘king of chefs’ and ‘chef of kings’ having cooked for Napoleon, the Prince Regent and Tsar Alexander I, to name but a few. But it was whilst working for the House of Rothschild that he met and became friends with great composer and kindred spirit, Gioachino Antonio Rossini and it was for him, that this wonderful dish was created.

Inspired by…

James Winter, who included it in his fabulous book, ‘Who Put the Beef in Wellington?’ and who said, ‘…people with passionate appetites for luxurious food will always order Tournedos Rossini.’ What a wonderful line!

How easy…

Really easy, very quick and absolutely fantastic – only for a special occasion though unless you have very deep pockets!

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