Last night I took advantage of one of the few nights that we are home this week to make a good old-fashioned Steakhouse Dinner. On the Menu: Steak Bordelaise, Parsleyed Potatoes, Creamed Spinach and a Wedge Salad. First I head to the store to pick up as few things that we didn’t have: two large containers of spinach (anyone paying attention would have thought I was Popeye or something but you need A LOT of spinach to make a cooked spinach dish anywhere near substantial), 3 bottles of wine (a mid priced Merlot from the Columbia Valley in lieu of the more expensive Burgundy for cooking a drinking), a less expensive Merlot for after the first bottle runs out, and a bottle of Port. Normally a pretty speedy shopper (I like to organize my grocery list by department to minimize all that inevitable back and forth which invariably brings on grocery store road rage) but, having never bought Port, I spent an inordinate amount of time starring at the pitifully sparse Port section trying to decipher the labels, balancing cryptic descriptions (“good with chocolate, notes of charcoal an raspberries”…uh…this is supposed to go in a steak recipe so is this a good thing or a bad thing?) with prices ranging from a paltry $5 to upwards of $30. Having never had Port, I couldn’t justify being a balla’ about this (would I even like Port? I don’t want to spend half my drinking budget for the week on something that will sit in the cupboard for years. I settled on a “Tawny” port which cost $14 on sale from $18. A pretty safe bet.
Back home, all burners on full-bore, I timidly tasted the sauce which consisted of butter, shallot, 1/4 cup Merlot, 1/2 cup Port and beef stock. Sweet. I have made lots of wine based pan sauces but never one that was that sweet and I was skeptical at first. Added more salt. Better. More butter. Better. Smothered on the steak with a chaser of potato, so crispy and buttery and creamed spinach, rich and delectable, it was HEAVEN. I am a Port convert. My next project will be a chocolate Souffle.