When I found out my in-laws were going to be visiting over the Christmas holiday and were requesting something "non-traditional" for Christmas dinner I had no idea what to make. Traditional, not a problem, I can whip up a turkey dinner in a jiffy. But the request for something more "exotic" threw me for a loop.
Since Alex and I are taking a trip to Morocco over New Years, I decided to peruse the cookbook Alex got me for my birthday, Moroccan Modern.
This cookbook has some really tasty dishes, but also really beautiful food photography (a must for any cookbook!). One of the dishes looked particularly interesting, Ostrich Filets with Triple Mash.
This one piqued my interest for a few reasons, but the main one being that I had seen the ostrich vendor at the farmer's market for months now and had always been curious. The other being that this dish suddenly seemed perfect in that, aside from the sauce, everything was in season and local, score!
On Wednesday I headed out to the greenmarket to pick up supplies and the awesome ostrich guy was super friendly, making sure I knew how to cook things and answering all my questions. I also scored a bonus in that I got beautiful filets for the price of plain steaks since he'd had a restaurant change their order last minute. For those curious, ostrich is a red meat like beef. So I basically got filet mignon.
I ended up changing the recipe a bit to meet what I had in the kitchen and my own tastes, but have to say I was SO proud at how pretty this turned out.
And it was DELICIOUS! It was almost exactly like a fine steak, and the sweet parsnips with the mash and the berry wine sauce went together perfectly. One of the more fine dine dishes I've ever crafted, this was an amazing holiday meal!
Ostrich Filet with Triple Mash and Caramelized Parsnip
Based on Moroccan Modern by Hassan M'Souli
(I made 4 filets, so increased everything slightly. We did have leftover sauce. This recipe is for 2 steaks)
2 Ostrich Filets (Ours were 4 oz, since the meat has no fat, these were plenty big)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp lemon juice
2 TBS olive oil
pinch saffron threads
1 tsp dried thyme
Mix all the ingredients in a shallow baking dish. Add ostrich filets and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
2 medium parsnips quartered length-wise. (Peeled and washed)
3 TBS butter
3 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the butter, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and stir gently over medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, pour the mixture over the parsnips in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 400. Turn every 10 minutes or so to coat in the sugar mixture.
I made Garlic Mash, Sweet Potato Mash, and Broccoli Mash. The original recipe called for a green mash with frozen peas and artichokes, frozen peas gross me out, I thought Broccoli sounded MUCH better, and it was really good!
Garlic Mash: peel potatoes, boil until soft. Mash with butter, cream, milk, and a few pressed cloves of garlic and salt.
Sweet Potato Mash: The same as above, but minus the garlic and add a few herbs like thyme and a bit of rosemary.
Broccoli Mash: Steam a few florets of broccoli. Once steamed, add a scoop of garlic mash to the broccoli and then blend either with an immersion blender or food processor with a bit of stock and some salt.
Ostrich Filets and Sauce
1/2 Cup red wine
1 Cup chicken stock
1/2 Cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 Cup blackberries (the original recipe called for raspberries)
1 TBS butter
Take the filets out of the marinade and set them aside. Pour the rest of the marinade into a sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a sizzle then add the merlot and the stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until reduced. Lower the heat and add the pomegranate seeds and berries. Cook for 5 minutes and then take off the heat and cool slightly. Process with a blender (I tried a food processor, note: hot liquids in a food processor will explode in your kitchen opps!), I ended up using my immersion blender, until smooth-ish. Drain through a sieve back into a sauce pan. Place over medium heat and add the butter, reduce a further 5 minutes. Cover and keep warm.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan for the filets. Toss them in the pan over high heat and cook only 2-3 minutes a side. Ostrich should be eaten rare to medium rare.
Place the filets in the center of the plate. Top with a layer of each mash. Stand parsnips around the side. Finish by pouring the sauce around the filet.