Food and romance have been braided together since the beginning of civilization. From the early Chinese Ch’ing dynasty poems linking food and sex to movies like Chocolat, the pleasure of eating mingled with the excitement of seduction have been immortalized in art and literature of all cultures.
If you would like to tap into this tested, time proven technique to charm and impress your significant other we would like to present, drumroll please…
The Windsor Valentine’s Day Game Plan
First, you will need to cook something rich and decadent. May we suggest chateaubriand.
Chateaubriand is the thickest cut from the large end of the tenderloin. It is prized for being both flavourful and tender. The dish is named after François-René de Chateaubriand, an author and diplomat who served Napoleon and a food enthusiast.
Chateaubriand is perfect for Valentine’s day because it is a classic dish made for sharing.
There are multiple components to this dish, the easiest part actually is the cooking of the meat, it is the sauces that have multiple steps but do not worry we will give you a fill recipe below along with photos to help you along. Follow the gameplan and you can’t go wrong.
Step one is to order a chateaubriand from Windsor Quality Meats of course.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Season the chateaubriand with salt and sear on all sides over high heat. Place the roast onto a rack over a tray and place in oven until your thermometer reads 125 degrees internal temperature, about 35 minutes.
To make the process go smoother, we recommend you make the jus and the hollandaise ahead of time and keep them warm. This way you simply have to prepare the vegetables and potatoes while the roast is cooking.
Making A Quick Jus
-start this before cooking the meat
-take about a kg of lean beef trim, silverskin and sinew
(Windsor can provide this as well)
-2 springs of thyme
-4 tablespoons soy sauce
-1 litre of water
-teaspoon of cornstarch
Heat a large pan over high heat with vegetable oil. Roast the trim and other animal bits until a rich dark brown colour is achieved. Deglaze with water and soy. Add shallot, peppercorns and thyme. Simmer until it has a rich flavour when testing. Make a slurry with th e cornstarch and a few tablespoons of water.
With the jus at a healthy simmer, slowly incorporate the slurry until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chateaubriand is traditionally served with small roasted new potatoes. We are doing a slightly different version. Peel and cut 2 to 3 new potatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Poach new potatoes in olive oil (enough to cover the potatoes) with rosemary and thyme under medium low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until it is tender enough for a knife to easily pierce through it. Drain and set aside. When ready to serve, set a pan to medium heat and fry only one side of the potatoes in vegetable oil until brown and crispy. Put on paper towels to soak up excess oil.
Take 4 baby carrots and place in a small pan over medium heat with 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of butter, cover in parchment paper or wrap in cheesecloth. Occasionally pour some of the liquid over the top of the carrots to keep it moist. The cheesecloth or parchment paper will help keep the heat in and keep the carrots moist. The carrots should be done in about 10 minutes.
Greens and Mushrooms
Blanche small slices of zuchini and 6 sprigs of asparagus. Slice 6 to 8 button mushrooms and saute in butter with salt and pepper over medium heat with a sprig of thyme until browned.
-3 egg yolks
-teaspoon of lemon juice
-1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter
-pinch of salt
-pinch of cayenne
Chateaubriand is traditionally served with Béarnaise sauce but for this recipe we are sticking with Hollandaise, the mother sauce of Béarnaise.
Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble.
Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and cayenne. Cover and keep warm until ready to use.
After taking the chateaubriand from the oven, coat it generously with the jus and let rest for about 5 minutes. Plate the vegetables and potatoes onto two separate plates. Pour some more jus over the roast, slice and serve. Top with hollandaise sauce.
To keep with the French theme you can serve with a Bourdeaux or your favorite Cab Sauv from any region. Shiraz and Argentinian Malbec should work as well.
Walk a block from Windsor to Trafiq, an excellent neighbourhood French bakery and pick up something decadent. They have amazing cakes by the slice or serve a piece of their Chunky Monkey chocolate bread pudding made with croissants topped with vanilla ice cream. Their pastry selection changes but they never dissapoint.
Again, keeping with the French theme try Paris, Je t’aime (anthology of 18 short films by famous directors) or for something fun, Moulin Rouge. Too arty for you? Want something more traditional Hollywood? “Love Actually” is like eight chick flicks rolled into one! Predictable but enjoyable. Got a quirky girlfriend? Maybe she’ll be into Something About Mary.
You can buy all the ingredients in the recipe from local stores within 4 blocks of Windsor.
East West Market (cooking ingredients and vegetables)
BC Liquour on Main St. (booze) or for a more curated selection try http://brewerycreekliquorstore.com/
If chateaubriand doesn’t float your boat Windsor also carries other Valentine’s day worthy items like:
- duck confit
- bacon wrapped chicken breasts
- PEI potato fed bone-in ribeye
- pre marinated chicken and lamb
- steelhead trout
We can always accomodate custom orders and special requests like game meat or specific preparations.
Give us a call at 604-872-5635, Mon to Sat 9am to 6pm. We are located at: 4110 Main St. Vancouver.