Saturday, February 12, 2011

RECIPE - File Mignon with Jabuticaba Sauce (Filet mignon com molho de jabuticaba)

Most of Brazil's annual crop of the small, purple fruit called jabuticaba is eaten fresh, as if they were table grapes. However, enterprising cooks and chefs in this country have found a place for this marvelous fruit in the kitchen as well. Most commonly the fruit is made into jellies, or vinegars, or distilled into liqueur. More adventurous cooks are finding that the acidic and sweet flavor of jabuticaba is a versatile addition to all sorts of dishes, both savory and sweet.

Because of its acidity, jabuticaba is particularly suited to meat dishes that are rich and filling. The acid cuts the richness of the meat, eliminating the sensation that a dish might be overly fatty. This is similar to the use of oranges or cherries in dishes featuring duck. The menu of one upmarket restaurant in Rio de Janeiro highlights foie gras with jabuticaba sauce. Another, in Belo Horizonte, serves it with wild boar.

This recipe, translated and adapted from the Brazilian food blog Temperando a Vida com Ana Toscana, combines a thick file mignon with a sauce composed of jabuticaba spiked with cachaça. Since jabuticaba isn't widely available outside Brazil, it will be difficult for readers of this blog to duplicate this recipe - however, I would guess that it could easily serve as an inspiration for a smiliar dish substituting another fruit such as dried apricots or sour cherries for the jabuticaba. As long as you still use cachaça in the sauce, you can still call it Brazilian!
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RECIPE - File Mignon with Jabuticaba Sauce
Serves 4

4 individual file mignons, approximately 1 1/2 - 2 inches (3-4 cm) thick
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb (250 gr) crushed and deseeded jabuticabas
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and finely minced
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup (300 gr) granulated white sugar
1 cup (250 ml) cachaça
4 cups (1 liter) mild chicken stock
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Prepare the sauce: In a thick heavy saucepan, caramelize the sugar, adding a small quantity of water if desired. (For instructions on how to caramelize sugar, click here). Add the crushed jabuticabas, the garlic, onion and carrot and let cook for a few minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cachaça , then return to the heat and flambé the cachaça . (For instructions on how to safely flambé, click here). Add the stock, bring quickly to the boil, then reduce heat and cook for 25 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the fruit is soft.

Remove from heat, and when sufficiently cool, pass the sauce through a sieve to remove the jabuticaba skins. (Can be cooked in advance up to this point).

Return the sieved sauce to a pan, and heat until it simmers. Meanwhile cook the file mignons as desired on a grill, under the broiler, or in a grill pan. Whisk the butter into the sauce.

Place one file on each of four plates, and pour some sauce over. Serve immediately, with additional sauce in a gravy boat. Accompany with your choice of potato and a green-leaf salad.

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