Fillet Steak with Celeriac and Morel Mushrooms

Wild mushrooms, especially morels, and celeriac marry well, and I start to think of dishes like this when autumn approaches. I use fillet steak regularly in this combination, but it also complements venison and hare well.

For sauces, I prefer dried morels and ceps (which you may know as boletus or porcini) to fresh ones, because they give a more intense flavour.

You need to make stock for this dish; pan juices will not suffice. Making stock creates a number of dirty pans disproportionate to the amount of liquid obtained. There is no short cut; bouillon cubes won’t do. When I make stock at home I always double or quadruple the quantity and freeze what’s left for another day.

Ingredients

  • 4 × 6 oz (175 g) fillet steaks
  • 1 oz (25 g) dried morel mushrooms
  • 1 × 3 lb (1.3 kg) celeriac
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 fl oz (120 ml) double cream
  • 1 oz (25 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Veal Stock

  • 1 lb (450 g) veal bones, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and diced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 oz (50 g) tomato passata or sun-dried tomato

Method

The mushrooms

  1. Soak the mushrooms for an hour or two in cold water, then slice them in half lengthwise and wash them thoroughly. Remove the stalks and use them in the stock.

The Stock

  • Roast the bones in a moderate oven – 350°F (i8o°C) Gas 4 -for 30 minutes, then add the diced vegetables, garlic, tomato and the stalks from the morels. Continue to roast until they are brown, about 45 minutes altogether.
  • Using a slotted spoon, lift the bones and vegetables from the roasting tray into a large saucepan. Discard the fat from the pan, deglaze it with 10 fl oz (300 ml) water, then pour this and a further 3½ pints (2 litres) of cold water into the pan. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours. Skim off periodically any scum that rises to the surface.
  • Strain the stock – which will probably now be about 1 x?-2 pints (900 ml-1.2 litres) – into a clean saucepan and reduce gently until you have about 10 fl oz (300 ml) left.

The Celeriac

  • Peel the celeriac with a small, sharp knife and split in half. Cut one half into cubes and the other into thin strips.
  • Boil the cubes in salt water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and mash or process through a blender. Season with salt and pepper, and add the cream.
  • Pan-fry the celeriac strips in the butter for 3 or 4 minutes, until golden brown.

To Complete

  • Brush the steaks with the olive oil, then pan-fry them. A copper pan would be ideal but an iron skillet will substitute; in either case it should be preheated so that the meat seals. You’ll need about 4 minutes each side for medium rare. Lift the steaks from the pan and keep them warm.
  • Deglaze the pan with the stock and add the morels. Boil until the liquid thickens, about 2 minutes.
  • Put a good spoonful of celeriac purée on each plate. Place a fillet steak on top of this. Put a spoonful of celeriac strips on top of each steak, then spoon the dark morel sauce around it.
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