Beef pompadour

I don’t think I have ever seen fillets de bœuf á la Pompadour, or fillets of beef Pompadour on any menu, and I know I’ve never eaten it; the dish I guess is named after Madame de Pompadour who was the mistress of King Louis XV of France. I don’t know much more than that about her, except that she died at the relatively young age of forty-two. There is also a Pompadour hairstyle, and an Amazonian Pompadour fish.

One recipe I came across for fillets of beef á la Pompadour has the beef cut into rounds, fried in butter, glazed, then topped with a slice of tomato on which is a round of beef fat… this really would not be to modem tastes especially as it is also topped with a pat of maitre d’hotel butter – it’s served with ‘a good brown sauce’… do they mean gravy? This was from a 1910 cookery book, but I found another recipe which was much more simple – thick slices of white bread with the middle scooped out, fried in butter, filled with onion purée, topped with steak, garnished with truffle and  Bearnaise sauce… and yet another recipe, not for steak but for calf’s head… testa di vitello alla Pompadour… um I think no thanks.

The little National Mark cookery book, however, comes up with quite a practical recipe, as always – trim the beef into rounds and then you are told “The trimmings must not be discarded, but should be used for making patties, meat loaves, beef tea, or they may go into a steak and kidney pie.” Of the glaze they write “glaze can be bought ready made, but it is far better to make it at home from first-quality stock… a very large quantity of stock is required to make a very small pot of glaze but the trouble of boiling down is well worth while for freshly made glaze is delicious.”

Fillets of beef Pompadour

  • fillet of beef
  • butter or dripping
  • meat glaze
  • Maitre d’Hôtel butter – you will need about ¼ oz for each fillet, “so judge the quantity from the number of fillets to be prepared.”
  • 2 large firm tomatoes, one slice for each fillet, cooked in a slow oven
  • mashed potato
  • peas
  • brown sauce (no recipe given so I guess it’s either a type of gravy or something like Bordelaise or Chateaubriand sauce)
  1. To make the glaze: good beef bones, a little fatless meat, vegetables (not potatoes) whole or cut into two or three pieces; simmer the bones and vegetables for several hours, remove all fat, reduce to the consistency of glaze
  2. to make the Maitre d’Hôtel butter: blend the butter with finely-chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice, cut into rounds and chill until very firm before serving
  3. for the beef: add butter or fat to pan, heat until smoking, quickly brown the fillets on each side then cook on a slower heat as required
  4. brush cooked fillets with glaze and top with a slice of cooked tomato
  5. arrange on  the mashed potato on the serving dish, pour the sauce around it, and just before serving top with the  Maitre d’Hôtel butter, garnish with peas


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