Posted by johngl
In one of her forays into the wonders of our freezer, the most glorious spousal unit made a brilliant discovery: a very large bone-in 2″ thick sous vide ribeye that was leftover (unopened) from a dinner gathering that took place a few months ago.
Since all I had to do was thaw and sear-off the steak, I could focus on some more unusual side dishes like carrots braised in beer and gnocchi “tater tots.”
It was quite a lot of fun not having to focus on the meat…
I discovered the recipes for the carrots and the tots while perusing the April, 2010 issue of Food & Wine. They seemed just weird enough that I thought I would give them a shot. The recipe for the meat and the sauce are my own creations.
Originating from the semi-warped mind of Michael Voltagigio (season six winner of Top Chef), I changed up a few things because I just can’t follow instructions very well.
Since the carrots are a snap to make, I will start with them.
First, try and start with carrots roughly the same diameter. I peeled down the fatter end to the diameter of the skinny end. I then cut each carrot into equal two-inch long chunks. This isn’t rocket science, so, if you give this a whirl, don’t get too anal about.
Now, split those short pieces in half. You could use some of those machine cut “baby” carrots if you want, but they cost at least twice as much as these.
You do realize that most of those aren’t really baby carrots at all, right? When they first came out, they were indeed real baby carrots. Tender and delicious. Then some marketing guy got a hold of the concept and determined that blemished regular carrots could be processed to look like baby carrots and charge a shit-load more for them.
Anyway, as I said, the recipe is pretty simple.
Find a bottle of pilsner beer or something else that has hoppy notes. If you don’t have a hoppy beer, use beer that isn’t hoppy. If you don’t have any of that, use some dry white wine. If you don’t have wine, I don’t know what to say other than just forget it.
So, the real recipe calls for two parts of fresh carrot juice to one part of beer. I didn’t want to fish out my juicer to juice one freaking carrot, so I used a small can of V8 instead. Pour enough of the carrot juice/beer mixture to just cover the carrots in a small saucepan. Simmer the carrots until the sauce cooks down by about half and the carrots are cooked (but not mooshy!).
Set them aside; we’ll be warming them back up and finishing them off a bit later.
Now, for the potatoes. The recipe called for three large baking potatoes, about two pounds. I didn’t have any of those, but I had an abundance of fingerlings.
These are already in a pot of water on the stove. Boil them until they are fork tender.
Here they are again, nice and steamy.
When they cool a bit, cut them in half the long way and put them through a ricer.
The nice thing about using a ricer is that you don’t have to peel all those potatoes!
I squoze all the potatoes through the ricer and had a nice pile going.
Potatoes like this are easy to just munch on. Add a pat of butter and a little salt and you are just good to go. It was hard for me to not eat this up as-is. But these were for gnocchi, so I had to add flour, corn starch, salt, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Allow the riced potatoes to cool completely!
For each two pounds of potatoes, you will need 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of corn starch, 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, a half cup of that yummy Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces), and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
Mix all of this up without mashing it all together. Use a spatula and cut into the mixture until things are equally dispersed.
Drop a farm fresh egg on top and mash everything together, but don’t overwork the dough. Mix it up, mash it all together, then wrap it in plastic wrap and set it aside for about 15-20 minutes.
While the dough is resting a bit, put a big pot of water on the stove and bring it up to a boil
Divide the dough into quarters:
Finish cutting the quarters, then roll each quarter into a 3/4″ diameter noodles that are about 16″ long:
Now, just cut those dough-worms into 16 pieces each.
One dough-worms worth at a time, drop them into the now-boiling pot of water.
Oh, by the way, get a large bowl of ice water ready to go to stop the cooking.
After a few seconds in the boiling water, the tots start to float:
After they have floated for about 20-30 seconds (depending on their doneness), fish them out and place them in that bowl of ice water to cool down.
Once cooled, strain them and dry them on a few sheets of paper towel.
Enough of the dough balls, lets get the grill fired up and sear off that steak!
Damn, I nearly forgot. While the charcoal is heating up, we can make a sauce for the meat by melting down some beefy goodness I just happen to keep in that freezer!
Oh, and look what else I found in the freezer!
This marrow came out of the beef shank bones from which the stock (beefy goodness) was made. Remove the marrow after you have seared off the bones but before making a big pot of stock.
The marrow lends an ultra-beefy richness to sauces. I dropped this small bowl of goodness into the melting stock and reduced the whole mass to this:
About a pint of stock reduced to a quarter cup. I didn’t even bother seasoning it. It was perfect as it was.
Now, hmmm…where were we. The steak was searing…ah, yes!
But, before we get back to that, make sure you have a heavy bottomed pot of oil heating up. This is used to fry up those tots!
Now back to the regularly scheduled steak…
Since the steak was already cooked before it went into the freezer, all that we need to do is sear it off to put on a nice crust and heat it through. I seared the steak about two minutes per side, pulled it off the grill, then tented it with aluminum foil.
While the steak was resting under the foil tent, I turned the carrots back on high heat to get them going again. I added just a pinch of sugar to sweeten the pot as it were. Once it starts to simmer again, reduce the heat to keep the carrots warm.
Make sure the oil (I use peanut oil for frying) is up to temp:
Okay, let’s get to it!
When they are nice and golden brown, take them out and salt them.
Throw a couple of pats of butter on the carrots and emulsify the carrot sauce, slice the meat…look at that color!
Now just put it all together!
And don’t forget a really nice wine.
Since I was doing the cooking, it was up to most glorious spousal unit to pick the wine. And oh MY, what a selection!
This 2002 Marquis Phillips Cabernet Sauvignon was simply incredible. Big, thick, and juicy, it easily stood up to that beefy sauce I ladled over the meat. It just got better and better as dinner went on. The last sip was the best of the night.
This is what aging is all about. A $15 wine I picked up probably four years ago now rivals wines priced at three to four times that.
When you find something like this in a freezer…
build a special dinner around it!