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Beef in Wulong Tea
In our grandmothers’ time it was customary to deglaze a pan with tea, often a strong black tea, and so this is an affectionate nod to our ancestors and their traditional knowledge.
2 (10-ounce/300 g) pieces of sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 to 7 tablespoons butter
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) wulong tea
(such as Shui Xian, Mi Lan Xiang or Qi Lan Xiang)
Season the pieces of beef with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it smokes. Add the olive oil and 4 tablespoons of butter.
Place the pieces of beef in the skillet and cook until a crust forms, around 3 or 4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the beef. Place the beef in a cold oven for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the desired degree of doneness. Remove the beef from the skillet. Set aside.
Wipe excess fat from the skillet. Melt 2 or 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) of butter and cook until it turns hazelnut brown. Deglaze with water, scraping the bottom of the skillet to recover any browned bits of the meat. Reduce the liquid by half and add the wulong tea. Leave to infuse for 2 to 3 minutes, then pour through a fine strainer. Bring the mixture back to a boil and whisk.
Slice the beef and serve with the wulong-flavored drippings.
Serve the meat with a vegetable puree and seasonal onions.
Used with permission from Tea: History, Terrors, Varieties, by Kevin Gascoyne, François Marchand, Jasmine Desharnais and Hugo Americi, edited by Jonathan Racine, Firefly Books 2011, $24.95 paperback.
Recipe by Normand Laprise, Owner and Chef of Toqué! restaurant in Montréal (Québec)