Monday, February 8, 2016

Black Angus Salisbury Steak Barge with Caramelized Onion, Portobello and Sauce Robert

     Gourmet Comfort Food!   
     Salisbury Steak was created by Doctor Salisbury over 100 years ago.  The original Salisbury Steak was primarily marketed as a dietary weight loss item to health conscious women.   Ground vegetables and bread crumbs were added to ground beef, in order to reduce calories.  The idea was to create a good flavor, while making the belly feel full with added carbohydrates, so a Salisbury Steak could replace a regular beef steak and the level of satisfaction would remain high.
     The original Salisbury Steak certainly was satisfying and filling.  The problem was that the bread crumbs added carbohydrates and the bread crumbs absorbed the grease from the ground beef when the Salisbury Steak was cooked.  As far as weight loss diet food goes, the Salisbury Steak was only marginally effective.
     In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there were many quack doctors selling remedies, tonics and dietary food that really did not work.  Some say that Dr. Salisbury was nothing more than a quack, but one thing that Dr. Salisbury will always be remembered for, is the creation of a ground beef steak recipe that budget minded consumers really like.  The Salisbury Steak recipe is an effective way to stretch ground beef by adding cheap fillers.

     By law, a Salisbury Steak cannot be marketed as a Hamburger Steak.  There are no regulations for the maximum amount of fillers that can be added to the ground beef when marketing it as a Salisbury Steak.  A Salisbury Steak can be over 50% filler or it can be made with no fillers at all.
     Marketing regulations state Hamburger Steak or Chopped Sirloin Steak cannot contain any fillers, yet a Hamburger Steak can be sold as a Salisbury Steak.  In fact, most modern Salisbury Steaks have no fillers at all.  
     Traditionally, Salisbury Steak always is always smothered with gravy.  A Hamburger Steak or Chopped Sirloin Steak can be served however the chef prefers.

     Nearly everybody has experienced a Salisbury Steak at least once in their lifetime and for the most part, the memory leaves something to be desired.  This is because Salisbury Steak is associated with lousy Frozen TV Dinners or school cafeterias that serve rancid looking food.
     On the other hand, a Salisbury Steak from an American diner or an old school family style restaurant provided a better dining experience.  At most family diners, the Salisbury Steak portion size was realistic and the tasty finished product was moist and juicy.
     Ever since the gourmet comfort food trend began taking shape in fancy American diners a few decades ago, many diner chefs have adapted classic French recipes when designing new entrées.  Today's Salisbury Steak is served with Sauce Robert, which happens to be a classic French sauce.  Sauce Robert can be simply described as a refined fancy beef gravy that has a shallot, white wine and Dijon Mustard flavor.
     Sauce Robert is a nice choice for a gourmet style Salisbury Steak.  Of course, be sure to use the French pronunciation of Sauce Robert, so the guests will be impressed!  

     Beef Stock:
     This recipe yields about 2 1/2 quarts of rich beef stock.
     Step 1:  Place 4 pounds of veal bones, beef bones and meat scraps in a roasting pan.
     Add 1/4 cup of tomato paste.
     Add a rustic un-peeled mirepoix of:
     - 3 ounces of carrot
     - 3 ounces of celery 
     - 6 ounces of onion  
     Roast the mixture in a 350º oven till the bones and vegetables caramelize to a deep brown color.  Toss and stir the ingredients occasionally. 
     Step 2:  Place the roasted bones and mirepoix in a stock pot. 
     Deglaze the roasting pan with water and add the jus to the stock pot. 
     Cover the bones with about 2" of extra water.
     Add 1 bouquet garni sachet of leek, bay leaf, chervil, celery and thyme. 
     Add 8 parsley stalks.
     Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mushroom peelings.
     Add 2 chopped shallots. 
     Add 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns. 
     Add sea salt to taste.  
     Step 3:  Bring the liquid to a brief gentle boil over medium high heat. 
     Immediately reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer for 4 hours. 
     Skim the grease off of the top of the simmering stock.
     Add water occasionally to cover the bones.
     After 4 hours, the meat stock should be a rich brown color.
     Step 4:  Use long tongs or a long handle fryer net to remove and discard the bones.
     Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Cool the stock to room temperature.
     Step 5:  Chill the stock overnight in a refrigerator.
     The fat will solidify on top of the stock after it is cooled.  Scrape the solid fat off of the stock.  
     Fine sediment will settle to the bottom of the container, so when the stock is used, try not to scrape the bottom of the container.   
     Beef Stock can be portioned and frozen for later use or refrigerated for 7 days.
     Sauce Espagnole:  
     This recipe yields about 2 cups.  
     Any extra Sauce Espagnole can be refrigerated for 7 days or frozen for later use.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 3 cups of beef stock.
     Add 2 ounces of Madiera Wine or Dry Sherry.
     Bring the stock to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Make a brown roux with 2 ounces of unsalted butter and and equal amount of flour while constantly stirring over medium/medium high heat.  Do not stop stirring or the roux will scorch!  Keep stirring till the roux turns a rich brown color. 
     Remove the pot from the heat.
      Step 3:  Only add enough of the brown roux to the meat stock pot to thicken the broth to a very thin sauce consistency.  Whisk until the roux is combined.  (Any extra roux can be saved for another recipe.)
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce espagnole, till it becomes a rich thin sauce consistency that can glaze the back of a spoon. 
     Pour the espagnole sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container and set it aside.

     Sauce Robert:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 minced small shallot.
     Gently sauté and sweat the shallot, till it turns clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 3 ounces of dry white wine.
     Simmer and reduce the wine by half.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of French Dijon Mustard.
     Add 1 cup of Sauce Espagnole.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Step 4:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     *Taste the sauce.  Adjust the seasoning with sea salt and white pepper if necessary.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin sauce consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 6:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a ceramic cup.
     Keep the Sauce Robert warm in a 135ºF bain marie.  (Add beef stock if the sauce becomes too thick.)

     Caramelized Onion:
     This recipe yields 1 small portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 cup of diced onion.
     Sauté till the onions become a caramelized brown color.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Drain off any excess butter.
     Keep the caramelized onions warm on a stove top.
     Black Angus Salisbury Steak:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty Salisbury Steak.
     Because a fancy grade of beef was used, only bread crumbs were added as a filler.
     Step 1:  Place 7 ounces of Ground Black Angus Beef in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of fine French Bread Crumbs.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Shape the beef mixture into an oval patty shape that is about 1/2" thick.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Briefly sauté the Salisbury Steak on both sides, till a few brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Brush a trimmed portobello mushroom cap with melted butter.
     Place the buttered mushroom cap in the pan with the salisbury steak.
     Step 4:  Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Roast till the Salisbury Steak is fully cooked and the mushroom is tender.  (A probe thermometer should read 160ºF.)
     *While the Salisbury Steak is roasting, the barge can be made!

     Grilled Bread Barge:
     This recipe yields 1 barge.
     Barge presentations were popular back in the 1970's and 1980's.
     Cut a thick slice of French bread that is slightly larger than the Salisbury Steak.
     Brush the bread with melted unsalted butter.
     Grill the bread on a griddle over medium/medium low heat, till the bread is toasted on both sides.
     Keep the barge warm on a stove top.
     Black Angus Salisbury Steak Barge with Caramelized Onion, Portobello and Sauce Robert:
     This recipe describes 1 entrée presentation.
     Step 1:  Place the barge on the front center of a plate.
     Place the salisbury steak on the barge.
     Pour a generous amount of Sauce Robert over the salisbury steak and barge, so some of the sauce pools on the plate.
     Step 2:  Place a tall mound of the caramelized onions on the Salisbury Steak.
     Place the portabella mushroom on top of the caramelized onions.
     Step 3:  Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Place a vegetable of your choice on the plate.
     *The entree in the pictures was served with buttered peas and roasted red bell pepper.

     The flavor of this gourmet Salisbury Steak is tasty beyond belief!

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