Yesterday I spent a long time walking with a friend I hadn't seen in a while.
Autumn is really here, with the piles of leaves and the crispy air. There were also many bright flowers in vines and small plants, giving us the false idea of spring starting. My eyes were everywhere, trying to hold on to these days of good temperature, the ambient of the holiday week that had people out in the streets.
It was a short working week, since it was labor day, so the kitchen has been very active and proliferous. I spent more than a week eating mostly vegetarian stuff, including a great Japanese meal, made by a new friend, that had soup with mushroom, salad with daikon vinaigrette, rice with pickled things and stir-fried eggplants and some other vegetables that I don't remember now. Washed down with little cups of cold sake. It was all so good.
Now that I'm back home, the theme somehow automatically changed. I didn't even realise it until I was making lunch today. This recipe is for the meat and potato lover. There's nothing subtle about it: juicy rump steak, red wine, horseradish, boiled potatoes. It's earthy, robust and deeply coloured with a rough taste, and as good as the wine you use. Yet, it wasn't a decidedly winter meal, it still had a light feeling to it.
The weather today turned out to be sunny, even warm for a moment. So up we went to the terrace to eat and enjoy. Moments like these are what make for a happy life in the end. Unexpected, unpretentious, with the ones you love, good friends, food and laughter. Very happy moments.
SIRLOIN STEAK WITH RED WINE-HORSERADISH SAUCE
from Bon Appetit, March 1996
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
2 fresh thyme sprig or ½ teaspoon dried
2 cups red wine
½ cup whipping cream
1 Tbs prepared horseradish
1 Tbs butter
4 sirloin or rump steaks, 6 to 8oz.(180g to 220g) each
4 medium potatoes, boiled
Melt oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, peppercorns and thyme and sauté mixture until shallots are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add red wine, increase the heat and boil until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup, about 20 minutes.
At this point you can strain the sauce before adding the cream; I didn't.
Add the whipping cream and boil until reduced to sauce consistency, about 7 minutes. Stir in the horseradish, mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before using.)
Preheat large skillet. Melt butter and add the steaks. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, depending on their thickness.
Transfer steaks to plates. Spoon sauce over and serve with sliced boiled potatoes, drizzled with olive oil and thyme leaves.