Thursday, February 01, 2007

Reindeer steak with brandy flambéed foie gras, wild mushroom sauce, beetroots in balsamic vinegar and candied potatoes

We had two types of reindeer for New Years Eve, a large steak from the thigh and a couple of smaller fillets. We dry marinated all of the meat overnight in salt and a pepper mix and added red vine to the marinate a couple of hours before serving the meat. The reason for not adding the vine earlier is to prevent it from cooking the meat to much. The small steaks we simply fried, 1.5 – 2 minutes each site, on a very hot pan but the large steaks are more complex. You really need a meat thermometer as it is very important that the core temperature of the reindeer not exceed 60 degrees Celsius. What we did was to brown the meat on a pan and then put it in a preheated convection oven at around 200 Centigrade. You then take out the meat when core temperatures reach 60 degrees.

I much prefer the small fillets to the large piece of meat although both where excellent. The thing about reindeer is that it is basically equivalent to very lean and strong tasting beef and can easily be eaten rare but that extremely hard to accomplish with the big piece.

The foie gras was fresh and I’ve never been any good at pan frying fresh goose liver. Basically, what usually happens is that by the time I have browned the foie gras most of the fat has melted away. This is a serious problem when dealing with something that is mostly fat. I also find that most restaurants have the same problem and that even if they manage to brown the outside the center of the liver is totally uncooked and not terribly appealing.

My latest attempt at teaching myself (one day I’ll ask a master chef!) to cook foie gras I decided to use a cooking method that I’ve never tried before; namely flambéing. The idea here was to heat the liver through at a relatively low temperature to avoid melting and then to get a nice caramelisation going on the outside very quickly. To do this you must first cut the liver into slice no more than 2.5 cm thick and put them on a pan at low flame. When it is time to turn over the liver heat 30 ml of brandy in a separate pan and ignite it before pouring the burning liquid over the liver (the alcohol burns extremly hot so it cooks the outside o the liver quite quickly). Flambé the liver until the alcohol has burned off. Save the alcohol for the sauce. You do all of this after the meat is out of the oven and is settling the idea being that you should serve the reindeer immediately after the foie gras is ready. Basically, cold fried foie gras is disgusting.

Now assuming you have prepared the sauce, beetroot and potatoes you assemble the dish on plates and serve!

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