Tournedos Rossini

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I hope you’ve all had a better Christmas than I’ve had, since instead of preparing and eating a five-course dinner, I was in bed with a nasty stomach flu 😦 I had to reschedule Christmas dinner with my parents to today. Yesterday I wasn’t fully recovered, but feeling well enough to cook this Tournedos Rossini. I could only eat half of it, but Kees didn’t mind at all eating my other half. I also only had a few sips of the nice 2003 Barolo from Schiavenza that we had with it. Tournedos Rossini has become somewhat of a tradition for “2nd Christmas day” (as we call it in the Netherlands, known as Boxing Day in the UK, Santo Stefano in Italy or simply December 26 in many other places) since it is certainly decadent enough for the holidays, while it is very easy and not a lot of work to prepare. After all the work I usually put in on Christmas day, it’s nice to relax and hardly cook at all.

Tournedos Rossini is a steak of beef tenderloin (also known as filet mignon) with foie gras and a madeira demi-glace sauce. It is even better with some freshly shaved truffle on top. In the traditional recipe it is served on a crouton, but I always leave that out. It is one of my favorite dishes and I still remember tasting it for the first time on June 17, 2003 at Auberge du Falkenstein in Philippsbourg (north-east of France). We didn’t have very high hopes of the restaurant because they had two rooms: one where they served pizza and one with a “gastronomique” menu. The menu of the gastronomique looked so good that we we tried it anyway — it wasn’t like there was a lot of choice of ‘gastronomique’ restaurants in the area and we still had to make up for the terrible dinner two days before in Mulhouse on our 1st wedding anniversary. Since the 15th was on a Sunday, all the ‘gastronomique’ restaurants were closed and we ended up eating sauerkraut in a place with plastic tablecloths. Anyway, we had never heard of Tournedos Rossini, but it sounded interesting and so we gave it a try. It was good there were hardly any other guests around, because the noises I was making while eating this might have caused other people to think we were doing something else rather than eating. It was THAT good. And then to think that the version at Falkenstein did not even have truffle.

If you’re OK with eating foie gras and you’ve never had this, please give it a try. Also a great way to impress your guests! You just have to pan-fry the tournedos and finish it in the oven, deglaze the pan with madeira, simmer down beef stock until it’s really thick (this is called demi-glace), assemble the dish, heat up the goose liver a bit with a blow torch, and shave a bit of truffle on top. Here’s how to do it step by step.

If you have sous-vide equipment, instead of finishing the tournedos in the oven you could also vacuum seal it, cook it sous-vide for 2 hours at 55C/131F, and then pan-sear it afterwards as described below.

Ingredients

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For 2 servings

2 tournedos (filet mignon, beef tenderloin)

2 slices of fresh foie gras (of about 1 cm or 1/3 inch thick)

truffle (optional)

2 Tbsp clarified butter (or use 1 Tbsp regular butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil)

250 ml (1 cup) unsalted concentrated beef stock (if using regular beef stock, take 500 ml (2 cups) and simmer it down to 250 ml (1 cup))

80 ml (1/3 cup) madeira

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

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Pat the tournedos dry with a paper towel and rub with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Do this either right before you are pan-frying them or 45 minutes before (not something in between).

Preheat the oven to 100C/225F.

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Heat the clarified butter in a frying pan over high heat and add the tournedos.

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Sear them one minute per side on high heat.

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Insert the probe of an instant-read thermometer into the center of one of the tournedos. Put them in the oven at 100C/225F until the core temperature has reached 55C/131F for medium-rare. (For rare, 50C/122F, for medium, which would be wasting good beef, 60C/140F. Let’s not even talk about well-done.)

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Pour out the fat of the pan. Deglaze with the madeira.

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Scrape the browned bits off the bottom with a wooden spatula to get all the flavor.

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Add the beef stock.

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Cook over medium heat, stirring now and then, until the sauce has a nice thick consistency. You will only have about 4 Tbsp left. This is called a demi-glace. Taste and season the demi-glace with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste now that it has reached the desired thickness. (If you had started with seasoned beef stock, it would have ended up way too salty.)

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Put 2 Tbsp of the demi glace on a hot plate. Add a tournedos and put a slice of foie gras on top. Use a crème brûlée torch to warm up the foie gras a bit.

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Shave on some truffle, if using.

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Serve straight away. Good with sides of sautéed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and/or steamed haricots verts.

Wine pairing

This complex rich dish goes with a rich complex red. I love this with a good Barolo, but it has to be a very good silky full-bodied one. Modern-style barolos made with oak are more likely to fit this profile.

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20 thoughts on “Tournedos Rossini

  1. Shame about the flu … hope you are on the mend!

    I had Tournedos Rossini in either Zeebrugge or Den Helder many, many years. Didn’t have truffle though 😦

    I have also been to Mulhouse… *worst* hotel I ever stayed in (until I came to Canada’s North).

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      1. I was there when I was in the Navy. My chief memory is taking a train to Amsterdam then missing the last train back later that night. A group of us ended up sleeping on a construction site wrapped up in plastic sheeting 🙂

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  2. Sorry to read that you’ve been ill, Stefan, and hope you’re feeling much better now.
    This looks like a wonderful dish, one that would make a celebratory dinner quite special. And if serving foie gras with filet mignon isn’t grand enough, topping off the dish with truffles certainly is. 🙂

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  3. HI Stefan, good to hear you are on the mend. I was under the weather since just before Christmas too. Getting back to normal (if you can call it normal) now.
    This looks decadent indeed. I would imagine it is very, very tasty.
    Best,
    Conor

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  4. Hi, Stefan. Sorry to hear you were ill during Christmas but glad to hear you are feeling better. The tournedos look killer and the black truffle saved over the foie gras sends this dish over the top!

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