Impress Your Sweetheart with a Delicious Date Night Menu

Whip up this impressive French date night menu when you’re in the mood for a romantic night in with your love!

First Course: Potage Ménagère – French Homestyle Vegetable Soup

Yield: 4 servings, approximately 6 ½ cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, peeled, trimmed, and minced, about 2 tablespoons
2 cloves garlic, minced, about 1 tablespoon
2 small leeks, trimmed leaving 1-inch of green, split, washed free of all grit and sliced thinly, about 1 ½ cups
1 small onion, minced, about 1 cup
1 small fennel bulb, greens removed, chopped coarse, about 2 cups
1 celery stalk, chopped coarse, about ½ cup
2 carrots, peeled, diced, about 1 cup
2 small Idaho potatoes, peeled, diced, about 2 cups
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and spiked with 1 clove
1 ½ quarts light chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1 onion piquet (a peeled onion onto which a bay leaf is affixed with 2 or 3 cloves)
Salt and black pepper
Garnishes: garlic croutons, diced parsley, diced cooked vegetables, grated cheese, warmed milk or cream

Melt the butter in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, leeks and onion. Sauté until tender and translucent, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the vegetables are uniformly tender, approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove the onion piquet. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.

Season with salt and pepper. Add additional stock should the mixture be too thick. Reheat until simmering.
Serve in warmed shallow soup bowls garnished with garlic croutons.

Main Course: Steak au Poivre

4 tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and no more than 1 1/2 inches thick
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup Cognac, plus 1 teaspoon
1 cup heavy cream

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour prior to cooking. Sprinkle all sides with salt.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, the bottom of a cast iron skillet, or using a mallet and pie pan. Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the fillets, on both sides, into the pepper until it coats the surface. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, gently place the steaks in the pan. For medium-rare, cook for 4 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat, but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.

Off of the heat, add 1/3 cup Cognac to the pan and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or firestick. Gently shake pan until the flames die. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add the teaspoon of Cognac and season, to taste, with salt. Add the steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over, and serve.

Side Dish: Haricots Verts with Herbed Butter

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 lbs. haricots verts or other green beans, trimmed

Stir together all ingredients except haricots verts with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until combined well.

Cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 6 quarts water), uncovered, until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes, then drain.

Toss with herb butter.

From our kitchen to yours…Cucina Felice!

Did you know that Chef’s offers cooking classes? From main courses to desserts, from romantic date nights to girls’ nights out, have fun, learn a ton, and, most importantly—EAT!


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Michele at Chef's
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