Monday, 7 December 2015

Rich Madeira Sauce with Wild Mushrooms

Delicious with steak, this decadent sauce is a real treat which also complements chicken and pork.

Things like Madeira, cream and wild mushrooms are luxurious ingredients, coming together in a rich sauce perfect for when you indulge yourself in a really decent, aged steak from a good butcher, and want to adorn it with something which will complement it, and not overpower it.

I confess, I haven't taken the best photo as I was plating up for four (including two hungry children!) for a certain person's birthday without the time or opportunity to faff about with beautifying the plate as I often do, or take anything but the briefest of photos, but I hope you can at least imagine how delicious the sauce might taste - which it really, REALLY does - there was not a drop left on these plates afterwards!

See? All appetites catered for here - boys on the left! If you're bored of peppercorn sauce with your steak (even though it's gorgeous), and you like mushrooms, you'll love this!

  • 200ml Madeira
  • 450ml beef stock
  • 200g fresh mixed wild mushrooms (if you can't get wild mushrooms, just use your favourite, e.g. chestnut mushrooms)
  • Small handful dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 banana shallots (or 4-5 ordinary shallots or 1/2 a medium onion), finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 30ml whiskey or brandy
  • 50-100ml double (heavy) cream 
  • Cornflour/cornstarch (1-2 tsp)
  • Optional beef bouillon concentrate (e.g. Knorr Touch of Taste liquid bouillon)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Optional few drops of truffle oil

1. Clean the mushrooms, and cut / tear into even sized pieces / slices depending on the variety (i.e. cut in half through the stalk, then into even sized segments about 1/2 cm thick). Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in some hot water, around 200ml for about 15 minutes, then gently squeeze out any excess water and reserve. If making up beef stock from a cube, you can use most of the mushroom soaking water to make up part of the stock - just pour off, but stop when it gets near the bottom and there's sediment.

2. In a pan, add 2 tsp oil, and about 30g of the butter, and sautee all of the mushrooms together with a pinch of salt and pepper, until they have released their juices and are cooked through. Set aside the mushrooms and try not to steal too many while you're cooking the sauce.

3. Add the remaining oil and butter to the pan (the oil stops the butter burning), and sautee the shallots for several minutes until translucent and a few are just starting to colour. Add the garlic, and continue to cook for another minute, and then add the Madeira and reduce by two thirds.

4. Add the beef stock, and reduce by a half. Add the whiskey (or brandy) and cooked mushrooms to the pan, and cook out for a couple of minutes. Make a thin paste with the cornflour and water, and add half or more to the sauce until the desired thickness is attained (cook out until it thickens each time you add some) - i.e. until it coats the back of a spoon (you may need extra if you want a thick sauce).

5. Add cream (to your desired creaminess!), then taste, and season with salt and plenty of ground black pepper to taste - if it's not got enough depth from the stock (depending on your stock), you may wish to add a little more bouillon concentrate until you're happy with the overall flavour.

6. If you want a touch of decadence, add a few drops of truffle oil to your sauce as well, for extra earthy mushroomy depths, and then serve with deliciously pink and juicy steaks, or fat chicken breasts with golden, crispy skin, or even thick pork chops, or medallions of pork loin, and enjoy.

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