Tournedos Chasseur

For the mid-20th century connoisseur, the ideal of fine dining consisted of a prawn cocktail, followed by Tournedos Chasseur, finished off by an Irish coffee. Here’s that very same culinary delight, but without the Irish coffee. Or the prawn cocktail.

Tournedos Chasseur
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 To make Tournedos Chasseur for four, you will need:

  • 1kg middle-cut beef fillet
  • 7 large brown mushrooms 
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 200ml Chenin Blanc
  • 1 can whole or chopped tomatoes
  • 25g fresh tarragon
  • 250ml chicken stock

A word of caution: this is not a quick recipe. For a superior effect, we start by clarifying the butter. Melt it in a saucepan over low heat. Occasionally stir it until no new foam rises to the surface, then skim off the foam. Pour the hot butter through a fine conical sieve lined with ultra-clean muslin. This clear liquid is clarified butter – and a fine thing it is to cook with.

Next, we make the chasseur sauce. Take two whole mushrooms plus the stems from the other five, and chop them all into coarse segments. Peel and thinly slice the onion, and peel, crush and mince the garlic. Into a pan pour a couple of tablespoons of clarified butter in which to sweat the onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the mushroom segments and allow them to cook for a minute or two, then pour in the chicken stock,

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Chenin Blanc and can of tomatoes – mashing the latter to a pulp while adding the tarragon (or fresh herbs of your choice). Let this bubble away under close observation as it thickens by reduction. Remove and keep warm for later in the proceedings.

With the point of a small knife, cut narrow grooves into the caps of the five remaining brown mushrooms. This will not only improve presentation but will catch the sauce when serving. Lightly fry these in the clarified butter with a little salt and a generous quantity of black pepper. Remove and place under cover.

Time to butterfly the steaks – but firstly a decision is required on portion size. If this recipe is part of a larger, multi-course meal, only use 500g of steak cut into equal slices. Otherwise, cut the entire 1kg piece into four equal steaks. Place each flat on a work surface and slice it in half as you would a hamburger bun. Open it out flat – and presto, you’ve got your butterflied fillet steaks. Swiftly fry these in clarified butter until done to each diner’s preference. Rare is good, since the meat juices will mix enticingly with the rest of the assemblage.

Arrange each cooked butterflied steak on a warmed plate, arrange a couple of spoonfuls of mushrooms over the top and drench liberally with the chasseur sauce. What to drink with this repast? While a lager perfectly complements the meal, a heavy Shiraz or a splendid red blend such as Raka Quinary will really do your Tournedos Chasseur justice.