Today I revolutionized my kitchen. I mean, sorta.
Until now, I've been using some pretty terrible knives. Like, I'm talking a $30 knife block from Home Depot that gave me blisters and could barely saw through soft butter. I'm not sure why I haven't thrown a little money at the situation, considering that I cut stuff fairly often, but here we are. I got a decent 6-piece set at Sears today, a great 20% off sale the inspiration. Henckels is a trusted name in knives, and complete with paring, Santoku, boning, bread, Chef's, and carving knives, it's got everything I need.
I also got a digital meat thermometer - You know, the kind you pierce into the meat and leave in the oven. It was only $20 and seems to work like a charm. Leave your beef alone and let it cook! Viva la revolution!
So anyway, I'm jazzed.
It's that time of year where we stop using the stove and start using the BBQ. We eat a lot of burgers and steaks and kabobs, both at home and at the cottage. So it was time to finish off the "winter" meat in our freezer, a lovely three-pound beef tenderloin the last-man-standing. I've written about beef tenderloin before, so I won't belabour it, but I wanted to write about the red wine reduction I feel like I've mastered.
With a brand-new knife! (or your mini food processor) mince three shallots and three tablespoons of fresh ginger. After searing your tenderloin for a few minutes, toss it in the oven at 380°F for 20 minutes. For the last 10 or 15 minutes, surround the beef with the pulpy mash. When the beef cooks to 140° (just less-than medium rare) tent under foil and put your skillet back on the burner. De-glaze with half a cup of red wine and a quarter-cup of beef broth. You'll dredge up charred bits of rosemary (that had been tied around the beef) and, as it comes nearly to a boil, the smell will blow your mind.
Whisk in a tablespoon each of grainy mustard and a few pats of cold butter. Allow it to simmer away for a few minutes, the sweetness of the wine and butter combining with the sharpness of the mustard. Pour all of it through a fine sieve, separating the lovely jus from the flavour-soaked mash of shallots and ginger. Sometimes I'll spread a swath across a plate as a foundation for the meat, but tonight I stirred a good dollop of these remains into our rustic mashed potatoes - Mmm! It was a great through-line of flavours between the meat and the potatoes.
The wine: a 2007 Beringer Founders' Estate Merlot. $19.95 at the LCBO. It's the Economic Crisis version of their usually very-pricey label, but it's tasty. Bright and fruity, syrupy. A perfect counter to a heavily-peppered piece of tenderloin.