Pulling this one out of the archives from the 2010 Tour de French Cuisine, back when I would spend months researching the town that the Tour de France riders would start, ride through or end in and what cuisine they are so well known for. Some were far easier than others, the Bordeaux region being one of the easier with its long list of specialties and one cannot forget about the wine.
The Bordeaux region is the largest wine region in France, in area and production. Four times that of Alsace, Burgundy and Beaujolais and twice as much as the Loire and Rhone regions and grows all three types of wine, red, white and sweet wines. As the Tour leaves the city of Bordeaux it heads through the Haut-Medoc Noted as the most concentrated and greatest red wine growing area in the world. The gravelly hills slopping towards the River Gironde is the perfect terroir to grow some of the most famous names in wine in the world.
The small village of Labarde marks the beginning of the Margaux appellation and the finest wines of the area. The 18th century Chateau Dauzac is located here and named after Petrus d’Auzac who was given the land from Richard the Lionheart, King of England. Growing mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and produces a fragrant, soft and excellent wine.
The town of Margaux may be small but its jewel is the Chateau Margaux, arguably one of the most famous names in wine. One of only four vineyards to obtain the Premiur Crus status in 1855 and labeled by Thomas Jefferson as “one of the four vineyards of first quality” The estate dates back to the 12th century and once legend has Edward III, King of England living here in a castle located on top of a high mound over the water in the 14th century. Before the Medoc was drained the area would frequently flood so having a castle on high land was a necessity. The domaine would pass through many hands over the years but it was during the mid 17th century when the proprietor d’Auledes planted the first vines.
Steak à la Sauce Bordelaise
1 cup red wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 shallots, finely diced
1 bay leaf
6 tbsp. Demi-Glace
4 6-oz. filet mignons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1. Make the sauce: In a 2-qt. saucepan, combine wine, thyme, shallots, and bay leaf. Reduce wine over medium-high heat until almost completely evaporated. If using a gas stove, tip pan to ignite wine; this will aid in evaporation. Discard the thyme and bay leaf; stir in demi-glace. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside.
2. Prepare the filets: Heat oven to 500°. Season filets with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 10" skillet over high heat. Sear steaks, flipping once, until browned, 4–5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven; roast until steaks are medium rare, 4–5 minutes. Place steaks on a plate; let rest.
3. Sauce the steak: Return saucepan to medium heat. Whisk in butter. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in parsley and season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer steaks to cutting board; add juices from plate to pan and stir. Spoon 2 tbsp. sauce onto each of 4 plates. Slice steak into 1⁄4"-thick slices; divide between plates. Sprinkle with rosemary and thyme; drizzle each steak with 1 tbsp. sauce. Serve with baby lettuces, if you like. Yields 3⁄4 cup sauce
Pommes de Terre et les Oignons Bordeaux
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 white boiling onions (about 9 ounces total), thinly sliced
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes
2 cups water
1/4 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream
Chopped fresh parsley
Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and 2 cups water; bring to boil. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Uncover and simmer until almost all water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add crème fraîche and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir gently to blend, being careful not to break up potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat before serving.) Sprinkle with parsley.