Saturday, November 19, 2011

With white wine roux



Though the white roux is the basis of many French dishes, I have avoided making it at home, because it reminds me of so many bad "Continental" fare smothered in white sauce, served here in India. Recently however I have revisited the many versions of white roux based sauces after reading Elizabeth David's "French Country Cooking. It had been on my cookery book list for a very long time. While most dishes in the book expect one to have bacon around, the Fish section is full of great ideas that can be incorporated on produce here. We had been provided by beautifully cut bhetki fillet by my parents. Normally, I use them to make the Fish Fry so beloved of Bengalee celebrations. I have been using them however this to try out a few ideas from the book because so many of the recipes ask for white fish fillet.

Ingredients
6 pieces bhetki fillets
1/3 cup white wine (I used Madera)
1/2 cup double cream
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
2 teaspoon butter



Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Lay the fillets in a flat shallow dish greased with 1 teaspoon of the butter. Salt them. Sprinkle half teaspoon of tarragon. Pour 3/4 cup white wine and put into the oven. Bake over just about 10 minutes. Keep it in the oven. While the fish is being cooked, add 1 teaspoon of butter to another pan. Melt it and add the flour and mix it thoroughly in. Continue to stir and cook for 3 minutes. Strain the wine from the fish. Arrange the fillet on a plate and keep warm. Add the strained wine little by little and mix it into the butter-flour roux at very low heat. It must be without lumps. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and stir it in. A smooth sauce should be the result. Switch off the stove. Pour the sauce over the fish fillet.

The book has also inspired Sitabhra who actually fished that book out of a pile of discounted ones to new heights :). Below is another Elizabeth David inspired recipe of beef in brown sauce made by him, again using white roux !

Ingredients
250 gms beef, cubed
2 small onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 bayleaf
3 teaspoon salt
5-8 fresh basil leaf, torn
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon flour
3 Tablespoon butter
1-2 teaspoon honey


Method
Bring the wine, bayleaf, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 onion to a boil. Let it cool down completely. Add the beef cubes to the marinade and let sit at room temperature for an hour or in the refrigerator overnight. Fry in a teaspoon of butter the onions until they start browning, about 4 minutes. Drain the beef cubes and strain the liquid into a cup. Add the beef cubes and brown them in the butter. This should be done at meadium heat to seal the meat but not burn the onions. Add half of the drained marinade and top it with another 1/2 cup water. Add a teaspoon of salt and pressure cook for 15 minutes. Cool pressure cooker. Once the beef is cooked retrieve it and set aside. In another pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the wine marinade slowly while stirring continuously. Add the gravy from the cooked meat. Add the honey and mix it in. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. and becomes glossy. Pour sauce over beef cubes. We had it with potato mash flecked with scallions. It should go well with rice or bread too.

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