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When chat started about what we were going to do with the end-of-fillet in the freezer we needed to construct a dish from, it was all about the meat.  It was the last nub of a whole fillet purchased from the wonderful Mr Finn. The steaks had long been devoured and we were left with this awkward shaped ‘elbow’. Not quite steaks, but too good for stewing.

Then someone mentioned chips and the gravity of chat shifted heavily from meat to spud.

Only those who know me well truly understand my passion for potatoes. Mashed, roasted, sautéed, boiled, crushed, baked, wedged, riced, diced, hasselbacked, whatever – I love ’em.  But chipped, well, that’s when I really go weak at the knees.

And so the fate of the meat was decided by what went best with chips; Steak, slapped on a searing hot griddle pan and sliced thinly. Served with a gorgeous creamy garlic sauce which we mainly used for dipping.

But back to the chips.  We have of course done chips many times before and the method posted here by Minnie yields excellent results in not much time.  Molly’s Uncle Harry was staying for the weekend and he mentioned Heston Blumenthal’s ‘triple cooked’ method which involves twice-freezing during the process.

If you have time and inclination on your hands (personally, I have a lot of time and inclination for chips), and want to try something new, then give this method a whirl as the results are truly outstanding.  We cut thin frites-style chips and they turned out crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. They weren’t too greasy and we also ended up with the odd full-crunchy ones.  Perfect. In a nutshell you par-boil the chips, then freeze, then deep fry, then freeze, then deep fry.

Now, I don’t wish to blow Heston’s trumpet too hard but these were divine. I mean, seriously good. I only wish the photos did them justice.  It sounds like an almighty faff but with 3 pairs of hands (one duly watching the toddler) and enough excitement and emotional dedicaton to chips, it really doesn’t feel like a chore.  And of course, the rewards are great.

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Steak method

Enough fillet steak for 3 as a piece was simply seared for a few minutes each side on a very hot griddle pan with a little oil, to our liking (which happens to be quite rare but not “cut-off-its-horns-and-wipe-its-ars” rare).  Leave to rest for at least 20minutes in a warm place before slicing and serving. I tend to season only with pepper before cooking and let people do their own salt at point of gorging so the salt doesn’t absorb moisture from the steak in advance.

Garlic sauce method

Gently saute a couple of finely chopped shallots in oil until starting to soften.  Add 2 large minced garlic cloves and move around in the pan until the smells get going.  You dont want the garlic to turn colour so, as soon as the onions and garlic are soft but not turning brown, add a splash of booze (I used brandy) and then a generous few glugs of cream. My tub ran out so I also used a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche. Bring to the bubble a bit and add salt and pepper to taste.  Mine was only on the hob for a few minutes once the cream was added.  Remove and keep warm until everything else is ready (or give it a blast of heat just before serving).

Chips – Ingredients and method (nb.  We followed the principles of Heston Blumenthal but did cut a few corners and they still turned out great)

  • About 5 large potatoes (enough for 3 greedy people bearing in mind that spuds shrink during cooking)
  • Ideally a large bottle of ground nut oil (I ended up using a mix of ground nut and vegetable as I ran out.  Heston also recommends rapeseed oil)
  • You will need a thermometre to check the temperature of the oil
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut 1cm-ish square chips by first cutting into the right-sized slices and then cutting lengths of chips from those slices. Rinse thoroughly in cold running water then place in a large saucepan and cover with more cold water (this helps get the starch out).  Bring to the boil and simmer until the chips are virtually cooked through and on breaking point.  This is tricky to judge as you don’t want them so flimsy that they fall apart but well boiled potatoe will give you lovely crunchy chips. Once boiled, drain and lay on a tea towel and pat try with another tea towel or absorbant paper.  At this point Heston would say allow to steam/air dry for a good length of time.  We skipped this and just allowed to cool and steam for about 5 minutes at best.
  2. Lay the boiled chips in a single layer on a tray that will fit in the freezer and pop in the freezer.  We ended up with two trays.  Freeze for ideally an hour but less if you’re pushed for time.
  3. Deep fry the chips in the oil, preheated to 130 degrees.  Fry until a ‘light crust’ forms.  Ours were still pale when we removed them.
  4. Remove from the oil and drain on a clean tea towel or absorbant paper.  Again, layer on a tray, allow to cool and and pop back in the freezer for a spell.  Heston says an hour, we probably only did 30- 40 minutes.
  5. Finally, heat the oil to 180 degrees celcius and cook the chips again until golden and crispy.  We were doing this in batches and it took about 10 minutes. Drain, sprinkle with maldon sea salt and eat as soon as you can without burning yourself.