Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day Steak and Poutine


From Chris' homeland comes one of his favorite dishes, poutine.  It has been one of the dreariest days in June I can remember, but it has given us the ticket to ride our couch and enjoy a few of the 6+ hours of U.S. Open Golf coverage on TV.  So, what better way to round out this day than steak and poutine.  

I cut my fries a little thicker than usual, about 1/3" by 1/3".  I used Idaho russets and soaked them in cold water after cutting until ready to use.  Fry the potatoes twice to achieve a soft pillowy center and crispy shell.  Drain and dry the potatoes, and fry in batches if you have to.  I did.  I fried mine in two batches for the first fry at 235f for about 5 minutes each batch.  Then heat your oil up to 350f and fry again until golden and crispy, another 5 minutes.  For the second batch, I fried all the potatoes together.  As soon as you lift them out of the oil, sprinkle with kosher salt.  This is the only way to get salt to adhere to the potatoes.  
To make the fries into poutine, you will need fresh cheese curds and a good gravy.  We stopped in at the Broadway Farmers Market and picked up some curds from Mt. Townsend Creamery among a few other items.  I made the gravy using drippings from the pan seared steak, a little flour, and some beef stock.  After searing our steaks, I made a little roux with the fat left in the pan.  To that I added beef stock.. that's it.  
To assemble the poutine, lay out your fries, top with cheese curds, then ladle on the gravy.  Ooh la la.  
For our steaks, I went back to Rain Shadow Meats at Melrose Market and picked up a couple of rib eye steaks.  They had two types, one from Painted Hills in Oregon and one from Thundering Hooves in Walla Walla, Washington.  The difference between the two, we were told, was corn and grain fed at Painted Hills, while grass fed at Thundering Hooves.  Of course we had to do a side by side comparison.  The Painted Hills has more marbling, which we like, but the Thundering Hooves looks richer.  


I made a sauce by sauteing minced shallots in butter, then added rosemary, thyme, sage and bay leaf.  Then pureed it in the blender with beef stock and returned to a sauce pan to reduce a bit.  After boiling for a few minutes, I added a few tablespoons of brandy and simmered a bit longer.  To finish, of course, a dollop of cream and boiled a bit to thicken.  
In a heavy cast iron pan, I pan fried the steaks.  Salt and pepper the steaks generously.  Over medium heat, fry the steaks in a little bit of oil, about 5 minutes each side, depending on how well you like your steaks and how thick they are.  

The grass fed had more beef flavor.  It wasn't gamey, just tastes like beef.  That first bite was a line in the sand on what we have normally eaten and what is grass fed.  Both were equally tender, but to be honest, we liked both, yet not one dramatically over the other.  The verdict?  We like a good steak!

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