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Valentines Day

Eating out on Valentines Day can often end in disappointment due to the high volume of people the restaurant kitchen are trying to feed. Servers are under pressure to turn over tables so they can bring in another sitting and the evening always seems rushed. I actually prefer to cook at home that night, getting the kids fed early and off to bed, setting the table fancy and cooking dinner just for the two of us. Easy when you’re a chef, I know. But with plenty of planning ahead it really doesn’t take a lot to make the home cooked celebration as good, if not better than the restaurant.

Cold first courses are the best idea. They can be made ahead of time and served. No pressure there! For me I love the seafood platter, oysters, lobster, shrimp, crab… all nicely chilled. For the entree beef tenderloin is always a winner, as long as you serve a nice sauce with it. I love the richness of this Burgundy Chocolate Sauce in this recipe. You can make it ahead too… and once you have tasted it will be glad you made the effort. Dessert ? …

I’ll tell you tomorrow what I am serving…


Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin Steaks with a Burgundy Chocolate Sauce

Makes about 6 portions

6 (six ounce each ) center cut beef tenderloin steaks

1 bottle dry red wine

2 cups vegetable or beef broth

1 onion cut in half

2 whole cloves

3 garlic cloves cut into halves

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of parsley

1 sprig of thyme

1 sprig of rosemary

2 carrots chopped

4 ounces dark chocolate

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

3 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper to taste

 Combine the wine and broth in a big saucepan. Stick each onion half with a clove and add it to the pot along with the garlic, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, rosemary and carrots. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer until it is reduced to about half and the vegetables are very soft.

Strain this wine mixture pressing hard against the strainer to extract all the sauce and winey flavor. Discard the vegetables.

Return the sauce to the stove and heat through. Mix together the butter and flour then stir this in too letting it thicken and become glossy as it cooks. This should only take about 5 minutes.

Break the chocolate into small pieces and whisk into the sauce. Season with salt pepper.

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