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Monter au Beurre without Beurre?

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matt8313 Feb 21, 2008 09:46 PM

So I'm considering a sauce for a steak. The recipe I'm looking at (not kosher, obv, although the hanger steak it's for is) wants me to finish the sauce with butter, which is clearly out of the question. Is it possible to achieve a similar result by finishing the sauce with margarine or (god help our arteries) schmaltz? Does anyone know? Or is it best just to skip the finishing step altogether.

Any help appreciated....

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    MartyB RE: matt8313 Feb 22, 2008 12:09 AM

    The obvious answer is to prepare it till the finishing step then divide it in half and put margarine in one half. Prepare 1/2 steak with sause w/margarine and the other without. Taste will determine what the correct recipie is, Voila!

    1 Reply
    1. re: MartyB
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      Levial RE: MartyB Feb 22, 2008 06:35 AM

      I read of a caterer whose secret it was to use margarine and add to it the pareve butter flavored powder (must be a salt-free margarine with some of the pareve butter flavor powders being so salty) for a more authentic taste.

      I have done similar sauces. Some of the margarines have better flavors than others - Mothers' brand, when melted, has a slight fishy taste, whereas Smart Balance is better tasting but can be watery.

    2. queenscook RE: matt8313 Feb 22, 2008 07:31 AM

      re: margarine vs. schmaltz: These days, I think that the nutritional world is of the opinion that margarine, with its transfats, is actually worse for your arteries than the "plain old" saturated fat in schmaltz.
      I have no opinion on the question from a culinary point of view, though!

      1 Reply
      1. re: queenscook
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        DeisCane RE: queenscook Feb 22, 2008 08:15 AM

        How about the fullest fat version of smart balance? It has a buttery taste and melts more like butter than traditional margarine does.

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        embee RE: matt8313 Feb 23, 2008 11:09 AM

        Don't even try! Why make a fake "butter" sauce that is neither healthy nor good tasting? If you are kosher, monter au beurre and steak are simply not on.

        Butter is irreplaceable. Margarine is unhealthy and will never taste right (at least, it doesn't taste right to me). Fake butter flavour is dangerous stuff (it's being eliminated from microwave popcorn as I write).

        Schmaltz is delicious, healthier than margarine and no worse for your arteries than butter, but it tastes like - - schmaltz. You do not want schmaltz in your sauce. Now if you are serving potatoes with it...

        Hanger steak is a "rustic" cut of meat. "Mounting" a sauce with butter adds richness and sheen, and makes your sauce more elegant. It hardly seems necessary with a hanger steak. Why not simply deglaze your pan with a nice red wine and/or some balsamic vinegar? But if you are committed to trying this, take some of your sauce and add some unsalted margarine. If this improves your sauce, to your taste, then proceed to "mount" the entire batch. Note that a "watery" margarine will ruin - not improve - your sauce.

        As a sidenote, coconut cream works beautifully when used in this way. However, as with schmaltz, its distinctive taste may not be appropriate in your recipe.

        Thickening a sauce with arrowroot will give you the sheen, though it doesn't impact flavour or richness. I wouldn't bother, but that's just a personal opinion.

        2 Replies
        1. re: embee
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          btnfood RE: embee Feb 24, 2008 05:08 PM

          I definitely agree. The best way to achieve a rich "mouthfeel" for a kosher meat sauce is to use a very rich stock in building the sauce. The natural gelatin will give a nice sheen and silkier texture. Don't expect to achieve this with powdered consomme products.

          1. re: btnfood
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            matt8313 RE: btnfood Feb 27, 2008 06:27 AM

            This is actually what I wound up using -- a heavily reduced stock, almost a demi. Not perfect, but very good nonetheless.

            Thanks much to everyone for the advice!

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