Because I teach full time at Nicholls State University, I am in Thibodaux from Sunday to Friday. Someone recently asked how that worked out for me and my husband. I explained that it works out just fine.
When I come home on Friday afternoons, Rock greets me warmly, helps me unload my car, and gets out the fixings for the cocktail hour. Sometimes he has a supper menu planned and the mise en place is laid out on the kitchen counter. However, most of the time, I can expect a telephone call on Thursday afternoon from him, inquiring if I have an envie (desire) for anything special. My requests run from beef tenderloin to take-out pizza - depending on my mood. And there are times he tells ME what HE might have in mind for a weekend meal.
A couple of weeks ago I realized that he had watched Giada de Laurentiis because I saw the same show: Chicken piccata (one of my favorites), pasta and asparagus cooked with olive oil and garlic.
Last week, he had an envie for a couple of our favorite oldies, a version of Beef Stroganoff we found years ago in a magazine, and chicken with lots of garlic taught to us by a friend who said "you never can have too much garlic."
Pan-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Stroganoff Sauce
Makes 6 servings
1 (3-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Stroganoff Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Tie the meat with kitchen twine at one-inch intervals to hold the shape of the tenderloin. Rub the meat with the olive oil, and season evenly with the salt, black pepper and cayenne.
Heat a large, heavy ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add the tenderloin and sear on all sides, rotating it about 1 minute per side to brown evenly. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, then turn the roast over and cook another 10 minutes or so, or until the internal temperature reaches about 125 degrees for medium rare.
Remove from the oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Allow to stand at least 10 minutes before carving into 6 portions to serve with the sauce.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 (14-ounce) can beef broth
Sprig of fresh thyme
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean and halved
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup sour cream
Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring, until lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it turns dark. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the red wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to release any browned bits in the pan. Add the broth and the thyme, and simmer until the mixture reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the stock in a sieve, pressing it to release all the liquid. Set the stock aside. (You should have about 1-1/2 cups.)
Heat 2 tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are just soft, about 1 minute. Transfer the mushrooms to a platter and set aside.
Reduce the heat to low and add the 2 remaining tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Add the flour and whisk to make a light brown roux. Add the reserved wine stock, the mustard, and the mushrooms. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. (At this point, you can set the sauce aside until you're ready to reheat to serve.)
When reheating, simmer over low heat to warm through, then stir in the sour cream just before serving.
Spoon equal amounts of the sauce over each piece of beef tenderloin to serve.
I've had several versions of chicken with lots of garlic so Rock and I play around with the recipe. If we don't have dry white wine, we use dry vermouth. Sometimes we combine dry vermouth and chicken broth to make up the 2-1/2 cups liquid. One time after too many martinis, we splurged and used some Far Niente Dolce Late Harvest White (2008). What didn't go into the baking dish trickled down our throats. Liquid gold!
Chicken with Lots of Garlic
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 fryers, about 3-1/2 pounds each, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne to taste
4 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and coarsely chopped (optional)
2-1/2 cups dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the chicken and oil together to coat the chicken evenly. Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with the tarragon and season generously with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Scatter the garlic cloves and fennel over and in between the chicken pieces. Pour the wine evenly over all.
Cover the pan tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Uncover the pan and baste the chicken with the pan juices, and continue to cook until the skin becomes lightly brown, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.