The (now famous) Chestnut “Petite Fillet”
This is arguably the most popular item on our regular rotation Dinner Menu. The menu changes daily so it isn’t always available. Problem is, the wait staff report that many of our regulars are unhappy when we try to put something else in place of the 3 ounce “mini” fillet. At $16.00 it is seen as a great choice for those who don’t want a big steak like our Brasstown Beef strip; another popular feature.
If you haven’t had this item, a little explanation will help: It is a classically inspired dish. I mean, who doesn’t like a steak with Mashed Potatoes and Haricot verts (green beans). We put a dab of Demi Glace of veal on the plate to compliment and complete the picture.
The steak is cut and pounded slightly to ensure consistent cooking throughout, the Haricot verts are cooked in lots of seasoned boiling water to make the fully cooked. But still a lively green color. The Demi glace is produced by our catering company, Corner Kitchen Catering, located on the ground floor of the Chestnut Building. It takes the better part of three days to complete.
As for a recipe, we think that the component of this item that makes the difference is the mashed potatoes, which we “pipe” onto the plate, framing the beef and creating a delicious base for this very simple and elegant dish.
Here is that recipe in case you want to do this at home:
Classic Mashed PotatoesYield 4-6 ServingsIngredientsSalt2 ½ pounds potatoes (about 6 large potatoes), preferably a combination of russet (baking) potatoes and large Yukon Golds, or all Yukon Golds4 tablespoons butter, more for dotting⅓ cup whole milk (or ½ & ½ )
Preparation:In a large pot, bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil over high heat. Peel and quarter potatoes and keep in cold water until ready to cook. (This can be done up to 4 hours in advance.) Add potatoes to boiling water and boil about 15 to 20 minutes, until soft; a knife should go in with almost no resistance. (It is better to overcook than to under cook).In a saucepan or a microwave oven, heat butter and milk together until butter melts and mixture steams. Drain potatoes well. If doing a small batch like this, return potatoes to pot. Using an extruding masher or a ricer, mash hot potatoes until smooth. Lightly mix in about half of hot butter mixture, just until blended. Taste for salt and add more butter mixture until seasoned to your liking.Note: If you are making a larger amount of potatoes, it is helpful to dry out the potatoes in the oven before mashing them to reduce the odds of sticky, gluey potatoes. (if you choose to do this extra step, here’s how: Drain the potatoes, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, place in a hot oven for 2-3 minutes). Stop here for fluffy potatoes.
For creamy potatoes, keep stirring potato mixture, using a sturdy spoon to press it against sides and bottom of pot. Mix until dense and thick. For whipped potatoes, use a stand mixer to mash hot potatoes just until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add all the butter mixture and salt to taste, pulsing machine in short bursts at medium speed. When light and creamy, stop mixing immediately. (Potatoes can quickly become sticky.)
There are several keys to this rather old fashioned method
1. Make sure you use an extruding masher or ricer.
2. Cook the potatoes through
3. Don’t over mix them!