We like to come up with our own recipes on Arkansas Foodies, but it definitely pays to follow the instructions of great cooks from time to time. Julia Child is one of our favorite folks to emulate because in addition to her excellent technique and unique personality she also developed some of the best (and most user-friendly) recipes for classic French cooking. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of my favorite cookbooks, and although my attempts to cook from it haven’t always been completely successful, it’s always fun to try new things. This recipe for beef in a mushroom cream sauce is really just a French-style beef stroganoff (made with heavy cream instead of sour cream), but like our friend Stockton Briggle says – “Doesn’t everything just sound better in French?”
Sauté de Boeuf à la Parisienne (from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
- 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
- 2.5 pounds beef tenderloin
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated into 2 tablespoon sections
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/4 cup Madeira (in a pinch, I’ve made this with 1/4 cup dry red wine and a splash of brandy)
- 3/4 cup beef stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped Parsley
In a cast iron skillet, saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the butter and one tablespoon of the oil for about 5 minutes until browned. Stir in the shallots and cook for a minute longer. Season the mushrooms with a dash of salt and pepper and remove them to a side dish.
Slice the beef into small pieces, (Julia says two inches across and 1/2 inch thick). Pat these dry with paper towels. Heat up two more tablespoons of butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil and saute the beef until just brown on the outside. Keep the interior rare! Set the beef aside and discard your cooking fat.
Deglaze your pan with the wine and stock, boiling rapidly and scraping up the coagulated cooking juices; reduce the liquid to about 1/3 of a cup. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of the cream. Beat the rest of the cream and the cornstarch mixture into the reduction and simmer for a minute. Add the mushrooms and simmer for a minute more. When the sauce thickens, taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
Lightly salt and pepper the beef and return it (along with any juices) back to the skillet. Stir the beef into the sauce until coated. When ready to serve, heat the whole mixture to just under boiling and add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the sauce, basting the meat until the butter is absorbed. Don’t skip this step, as finishing with butter (or as the French say, monter au buerre) really adds a lovely flavor and texture element to the sauce. Serve with rice, risotto, or as we’ve done here, with broad egg noodles. And, as Julia would say, Bon Appetit!