Fun and Fancy Blueberry Steak and Mash

Posted on: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

While going out to a big New Year’s Eve bash is always a fun time, we also enjoy breaking out sparkly dresses, filling a table with bright candles and silverware, and gathering a lively group to dine for hours. We like to keep the ingredients simple, serve dishes that are go-to crowd pleasers, and obviously have lots of champagne on hand.

It's always fun to experiment and put a twist on traditional dishes like classic steak, mashed potatoes and sauteed greens. While living in Florence, Italy, Marni fell in love with the blueberry steak served at one of her favorite restaurants, Acqua al Due. Our interpretation of this dish is a fun and fancy main course to ring in the new year.

Blueberry Steak

6 (6 oz) steak filets
salt and pepper
1 T Canola oil
1 finely chopped shallot
1/2 c red wine (whatever you’re drinking)
1 c beef broth
4 T blueberry preserves
2 T butter
salt and pepper

To make the sauce, sautee the shallot and EVOO on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the red wine, and bring to a boil until reduced by half, approximately 5 minutes. Add the beef broth and blueberry preserves, bring to a boil again, and reduce by half, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of butter and season with salt and pepper. You can make the sauce ahead of time and keep warm until ready to pour over the seared filets.

Since we don't enjoy braving the cold in winter, we cook the steak filets on the stove, but feel free to grill them instead. Bring the steak filets to room temperature and season liberally with salt and pepper. Pour 1 T canola oil into two saucepans, and bring to medium-high heat. Sear the steaks in the hot oil for 5-7 minutes per side, depending on how well you would like the steak cooked.Once the steak is at your preferred doneness, let it sit for a few minutes off the heat. Drizzle with the blueberry sauce and serve with the potato and celery mash.

Potato and Celery Mash 

2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 2-inch cubes
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 clove chopped garlic
1 c sour cream
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T butter
salt and pepper

Add the potatoes, celery and garlic to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat then reduce to medium high, and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Drain the water, add the sour cream, Dijon mustard, butter, salt and pepper and combine with a potato masher or electric mixer. The side dish can be made ahead of time and kept warm atop the stove. Serves 6 side servings.

Sauteed Swiss Chard

1 bunch Swiss chard with stems and leaves separated
1 clove minced garlic
1 t red pepper flakes
½ c stock (chicken or vegetable, beef works too)
salt and pepper

On medium heat, sautee the minced garlic and red pepper flakes in the EVOO for a couple of minutes. Add the swiss chard stems and stock and cook for 5 minutes until slightly tender. Add the leaves and continue to cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. This side can be made ahead of time and kept warm atop the stove. Serves 6 side servings.

A centerpiece dessert is the ultimate finale to a special dinner. In our opinion, there is nothing better than a trifle. For large gatherings, our grandmother, Mamö, from our dad’s Irish side would always present a spectacular trifle.

To create our variation of Mamö’s trifle, we assemble the dish the night before to let all the layers marry and more importantly, so it's ready ahead of time. The combination of lush whipped cream, rich custard, moist cake, and boozy berries makes for a delightful dessert. Although we prefer to prepare the layers in a glass dish, you can also serve it individually in smaller glasses or ramekins. We look forward to making it every year.

Mamö’s Berry Trifle

1 Angel Food Cake (store-bought or baked in a 10-inch tube pan), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 packets of vanilla pudding (you could make your own, but boxed Jell-o pudding works swimmingly to us!)

4 c milk
2 c whipping cream
1 t vanilla extract
5 T granulated sugar
5 c thawed frozen berries
¼ c Grand Marnier liqueur

In a large bowl, pour the Grand Marnier over the berries and let them meld.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer on high. When it starts to thicken after a couple of minutes, add the vanilla extract and sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

In a third bowl, prepare the pudding as directed.

To assemble the trifle, layer the bottom of a large glass trifle dish with a 1/3 of the cake cubes. Next, pour 1/3 of the pudding over the cake, making sure to get all sides. Pour a 1/3 of the berries, and finally 1/3 of the whipped cream. Continue this process two more times. Make sure you have enough whipped cream at the end to cover the top. Garnish with something festive!



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