Steak au Chocolat

During Independence Day week, when Mark and I were visiting friends Susan and Towny in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I met the amazing Enna Grazier who, with her husband Matt, are the founders of Enna Chocolate.

Enna is producing artisanal chocolate, from bean to bar, in a workshop in the off-the-beaten-path town of Epping, near New Hampshire’s seacoast.

Enna uses cocoa beans from Honduras, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Tanzania, and Belize to make exquisite chocolate bars from 70% to 100% cacao. We saw (and smelled) the beans; we ate the bars (and nibs too!).

There is a wonderful article that talks about her journey from wedding photographer to chocolatier.

She gave us a full-on tasting of every bar she had in stock. “Don’t chew — let it melt on your tongue,” she said. In the back of my mind I knew this and was glad for the reminder.

Tasting chocolate is like tasting wine — don’t chew and gulp; just let it melt on your tongue. As it melts, you can sense so many different flavors and textures.

I bought quite a bit of her inventory to bring back home, and I promised her I would create a recipe for Cocoa & Lavender.

And I did just that for a Fourth of July dinner with Susan and Towny; you will remember them from the Provence WineZine. In fact, they provided a wonderful wine to pair with today’s recipe — you can read about it HERE.

I used both Enna’s cocoa powder (which she warned is somewhat coarsely ground) and her Honduran 100% cacao bar to make a Steak au Chocolat.

Served on a purée of potato and sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), the sliced filet is drizzled with an intensely-flavored, savory, slightly bitter chocolate sauce.

No, this is not a Frenchified version of mole. In fact, I didn’t even think of Mexican mole when I was looking for inspiration. I was inspired by the depth of flavor from Enna’s chocolate, and a wonderful Port in Susan and Towny’s cabinet.

I did use crushed peppercorns in the coating of the steaks, but this is no traditional steak au poivre. Not at all. The sauce takes steak to an entirely new level.

~ David

Steak au Chocolat

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons chopped shallots or onion
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao) *
1 tablespoon Demiglace concentrate
1/2 cup Port or Madeira
1/2 cup rosé
1 teaspoon balsamic crema (or glaze)

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon salt
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes
2 large russet/baking potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 2 quart saucepan. Add shallots and cook until clear. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the butter and shallots. When chocolate is melted, add the demi-glace and stir to combine. Add the port and rosé, and bring to a simmer. Add the balsamic crema, stir, and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened (sauce will continue to thicken as it cools). Strain into a clean saucepan, add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, stir until melted, and set aside.

Place cocoa powder and crushed peppercorns on a plate and add salt and sugar. Mix well with a fork. Press tops and bottoms of the filets into the mixture, leaving sides uncoated. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the potato-sunchoke purée.

Bring a large sauce pan of water to a boil. In the meantime, peel the Jerusalem artichokes, and cut them into 1/2-inch dice. When the water is boiling, add 1tablespoon salt and the diced Jerusalem artichokes. Cook for 15 minutes. While the sunchokes are cooking, peel and cut the potato into 1-inch pieces. After the sunchokes have cooked for 15 minutes, add the potatoes to the pot and cook for 20 minutes longer. Drain, then mash with a potato masher, add butter and cream, then whip using a handheld mixer until smooth. Season to taste, then cover and set aside.

Place a skillet (large enough to cook the filets uncrowded in a single batch) over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil. Sear filets - 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks are resting, reheat the sauce and potato-sunchoke purée over medium-low heat. (Most likely, the sauce will have separated a bit - whisk it vigorously to emulsify.)

Place a heaping 1/2 cup of potato-sunchoke purée on each plate. Slice the steaks and arrange atop the purée. Spoon sauce over, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

* Don’t use grocery store unsweetened baker’s chocolate - use only the best quality artisanal chocolate. If you can’t fine unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao), go for something with as high a cacao content as you can find - 85% works well, too.

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