Tournedos Sautes aux Champignons

A splendid way to cook and serve steaks, Tournedos Sautes aux Champignons (toot-neh-dohs soh-tay oh shom-peen-yon) is as easy and quick to make as it is delicious to eat. Serve it with creamed potatoes, vegetables such as green beans or broccoli and a good claret, such as Chateau Mar-gaux.

6 tournedos, approximately

1-inch thick

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ oz. butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 x

3-inch round Croutes kept hot

6 watercress sprigs

2 oz. butter small onion, finely chopped garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon flour

8 fl. oz. red wine

8 oz. tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons tomato puree

2 tablespoons Marsala

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

12 oz. button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

First make the sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 1 ounce of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato puree, Marsala, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring occasionally. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and strain the sauce into a bowl, pressing down on the vegetables and flavourings with the back of a wooden spoon to extract the juices. Discard the contents of the strainer and return the sauce to the pan. Place the pan over very low heat to keep warm.

In a small frying-pan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the mushrooms and fry them, stirring frequently, for minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the contents to the sauce. Keep warm while you cook the steaks.

Rub the steaks all over with the salt and pepper.

In a heavy-based frying-pan large enough to hold all the steaks in one layer, melt the butter with the oil over moderately high heat. When the foam subsides, add the steaks and fry them for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to low and fry them for a further 2 minutes on each side. Double the times for well-done steaks.

Remove the pan from the heat. Place the croutes on a large, warmed serving dish and place one steak on each croutc Set aside and keep hot while you finish the sauce.

Increase the heat to high and return the frying-pan to the heat. Pour the sauce into the frying-pan. Using a wooden spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan and stir the sauce until it comes to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour a little of the sauce over the steaks and pour the remainder into a warmed sauceboat. Garnish the steaks with the watercress and serve immediately.

Crisp golden puff pastry enclosing a mushroom and fish filling, Tourte aux Champignons tastes as good as it looks. The pie may be served hot or cold, with a selection of sauces.

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