Introduction: Steak Valerie-Ann

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This is our own version of the classic dish; Steak Diane.

My wife and I always loved to have this when we visited restaurants.

Sadly the dish seems to have fallen out of fashion and now rarely appears on the menu.

The origin of Steak Diane is unclear but is generally agreed to most likely have been first created in the top hotel restaurants of New York in the 1950s. In those days they would flambé the meat in the sauce right at the table. Making a spectacle of the preparation but also adding a caramelised flavour to the sauce.

The origin of our own Steak Valerie-Ann is very clear. It was created by my wife Valerie after many attempts to blend just the right components into a delicious home made version.

We believe that he key ingredients that make this super special are; the cut of steak, the preparation of the steak and the use of REAL Southern Comfort. We make the steak super thin and splash in a copious amount of the magic booze.

If you make this Steak Valerie-Ann version you will not be disappointed.

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

You will need:

A good chunk of fillet steak (If you buy from a good butcher he will also slice it thin for you)

Mushrooms,. One punnet should be sufficient.

One finely Chopped Onion (You may use chopped Shallots instead)

A`knob of slightly salted butter (Or substitute with for example Olive Oil spread)

A carton of double cream

A couple of dollops of Tomato puré (Ketchup works too)

A half ounce of Chopped fresh Dill

A`half ounce of Chopped fresh Chives

A cup of pre-made gravy (from stock or granules)

Sprinkling of Sea Salt

Splattering of Black pepper

A few dashes of Lea Perrins (Worcester sauce)

Accompanying vegetables (This example uses Carrots, Green beans, White Asparagus and New Potatoes)

You will also need a deep skillet or Wok

Several side dishes and plates to store ingredients

Knives and scissors, spoons and tongs, a meat basher and a rolling pin.

A long lighter if you decide to flambé

Step 2: Prep the Ingredients

Peel the mushrooms or, if you prefer, just wipe off the earth, cut the dried ends and use that way

Cut then chop your fresh Dill and fresh Chives from your windowsill selection your herb garden or from your favourite fresh source.

That is it for the sauce ingredients, but for accompanying meal you will need to also be cooking potatoes and vegetables

We cook the rest of the meal in a pressure cooker which gets all ready at just as the sauce is ready.
You can use whatever method works best for you.

Step 3: Prepare the Meat

This is a very important part of making Steak Valerie-Ann.
Whilst other recipes use all sorts of meat cuts and even advocate a thick steak, for our recipe we use the best steak.
All fat is removed and the meat is then sliced thinly.
Next, to make the meat even thinner, it is beaten with a meat hammer.
Next it is seasoned with sea salt and ground black pepper.
The seasoned meat is finally rolled pressing the seasoning in and thinning more.
After all this special attention the meat is left to rest, layered on a plate.

Step 4: Take Your Wok

Melt the knob of butter in the wok.

Step 5: Onions

Soften the chopped onions in the melted butter. Taking care not to let them brown.

Step 6: Save the Onions

Transfer the just the softened onions into a bowl or onto a plate. Leave all the juice behind.

Step 7: Meat

Transfer the meat piece by piece into the wok.

Step 8: Brown the Meat

Keep turning the meat until all the red has turned to brown.

Step 9: Transfer the Meat

Using tongs or a fork transfer each browned piece of meat onto a plate.

Step 10: Gravy

Pour in the gravy. Prepared from a granules, mix or stock. About a half pint should be enough.

Step 11: Mushrooms

Add the sliced mushrooms.

Step 12: Onions

Add the onions

Step 13: Cream

Add a full tub of double cream.

Step 14: Tomato

Squirt in about a table spoons worth of tomato puré. You might prefer a good ketchup instead.

Step 15: Worcester Sauce

Put in about a table spoonful on Lea Perrins.
Always stirring constantly on medium heat.

Step 16: Return the Meat

Put the meat back into the sauce.

Step 17: Simmer

Allow all to simmer for 3 to 4 mins. Stirring constantly.
You want this to get hot which will reduce the liquid and get it ready to flambé.

Step 18: The Booze

Pour about a tablespoons of Southern Comfort into a glass.
Pour the glass into the hot sauce.

Step 19: Flambé

This step is not easy and may not work for you.
As soon as the liqueur heats up you then ignite it.
A long lighter is best for this.

If you want to get this part perfect you can read more by searching on-line with the phrase "how to flambé".
You may skip the fire part and will still have a lovely sauce.
If you do Flambé then it will very dramatic and will caramelise adding an extra subtle flavour to the sauce.

Step 20: Simmer and Taste

Taste a little after it has cooled in a sampling spoon. You may decide that it needs a little more tomato or a dash more Lea Perrins or maybe you will decide that it is perfect.

At this stage you may add the chopped chives which add texture, colour and taste.

You may leave the sauce simmering on a low heat whilst you finish the rest of the meal.

Step 21: Sprinkles

When you are ready, before you serve, you may sprinkle a little fresh chopped Dill on top. This adds a subtle extra flavour but also adds a little colour to the appearance.

Step 22: Bring It All Together

For our example dish we also cooked new potatoes, runner beans, sliced carrot, garden peas and some white asparagus from Peru!

Step 23: Serve

We like to place all the elements into separate dishes to place on the table. This way everyone can take what they like.
The sauce can be poured into a sauce boat and then poured liberally over the potatoes if desired.

Step 24: Enjoy

We like sparkling wine or even Champagne to drink with Steak Valerie-Ann.

I do hope that many of you try this recipe and discover why it rose to such heights of desirable dining in the 50s 60s and 70s....


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