Many of you may think of New Orleans as a big seafood town and it is but it is also known for it's meats. It all started when butchers started moving to New Orleans from the Gascony regions of France.
These butchers, as well as their decendents, monopolized the butcher market in New Orleans well into the 20th century. Their influence provided a wide variety of meat cuts including the grillades, according to "New Orleans Cuisine. 14 Signature Dishes and Their Histories".
In the late 1880's grillades appeared on almost every brunch menu in the city. The "Sailors Breakfast" was first cooked in modest homes and was eventually served in the most affluent homes as well.
Also, the brunch concept started in New Orleans for the City's dock workers because most of them finished work around 10:00 AM and they still wanted breakfast. So the boarding houses near the docks created a second breakfast and capitalized from the dock workers hearty appetites.
This recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse in his Commander's Palace days.
2 lbs. Chuck tender cutlets or Beef Top Round, about 4-inches in size
3 tablespoons Emeril's Essence or your favorite Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup All-Purpose flour for dredging
4 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
1/1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 ounces sliced button mushrooms
3/4 cup white wine (I used Pinto Grigio)
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Baked Gruyere Grits (recipe follows)
Place the beef cutlets between two pieces of wax paper. Using a meat mallet or heavy skillet, pound the meat to tenderize and break up some of the connective tissue. Season the meat generously with Essence on both sides and then dredge through the flour.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 2 tablespoons of Canola oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated add the floured beef, working in batches and adding more oil as necessary, just be careful not to overcrowd the skillet and steam the flour off. Brown the meat about 3 minutes each side, until golden brown.
As the beef browns, transfer it to a platter and set aside. Once all of the beef is cooked, add the butter to the skillet. when the butter has melted, add the onions, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms to the pan. Saute the vegetables until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 more minute, then add the wine to the skillet and reduce by half, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrap the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet while the liquid is reducing.
Stir in the beef stock, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, and cayenne to the skillet. Bring to a boil, return the beef tot he pan, lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the skillet and place in the oven and allow to cook for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until the beef is fork tender.
When beef is tender remove from the oven, adjust the seasonings if necessary and serve over Baked Gruyere Cheese Grits.
While the beef is braising in the oven, get the grits started:
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Quick Cooking Grits (not instant)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with 2 tablespoons of butter.
In a medium, heavy sauce pan, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, salt and water over medium high heat. When the mixture comes to a simmer add in the grits, stir to thoroughly combine. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking the grits until thick and creamy, about 7 minutes, but can take as long as 15 minutes.
While the grits are simmering, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, heavy cream and black pepper. Stir this into the cooked grits. Note: at this point, I really thought the egg would curdle, but it didn't, so don't worry about tempering. Once combined, pour mixture into prepared casserole dish, top with the grated Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses and place in the 350 degree oven the beef is braising in and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes.
So whether you're a dock worker or a high society bruncher, you now know about Grillades and Grits! Everyone should, don't you agree?