Saturday, April 2, 2011


When we think of the Belle Époque era-- the late 1800’s until the great war, we think of the technological advances made: the telegraph, telephone, gas lights, electricity, radio, phonograph, trans-national railroads, petroleum and the automobile. A lot of people got rich and it was not unusual to see corpulent men dining extravagantly. In cities all across America, luxurious restaurants served extravagant dishes to a wealthy clientele. Whether on a luxury steamship or restaurant menu, one dish that serves as a standard of this gilded age is Beefsteak and Oyster pie. Oysters weren’t readily available, even in coastal cities, and of course beef was a luxury then, despite the new refrigerated rail cars. So it was not unusual to see a beefsteak and oyster course offered. It was a sumptuous meal and exclusive because it was expensive. 

There are a few different ways to make this dish; but here is the way we like it.

Beefsteak and Oyster Pie     serves six

1-½ lbs (.7Kg) round steak
2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil
3 onions, chopped
1 carrot diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ tablespoons wheat flour
2 cups (4.5 deciliters) beef stock
½ cup (1 deciliter) ale, porter or stout (or replace with more beef stock
8 ounces (225 grams) sliced mushrooms
24-shucked oysters
Salt and pepper
9 0unces (255 grams)
Egg wash (egg and a little milk or water beaten together)

Preheat the oven to 300F (150C)

Cut the beef into 1 ½ inch (38mm) cubes
Season with salt and pepper

Melt half the butter and half the oil in an ovenproof deep skillet and sear the beef, then remove to a platter
Put onions in skillet and cook for about five minutes

Stir in the diced carrot
Add the flour to the skillet, cook a minute, stirring

Stir in the stock and ale
Stir in the tomato paste

Add the meat, heat to the boil
Cover and put into oven for 90 minutes

Fry the mushrooms in the remaining butter and oil
Season with salt and pepper, and then remove to platter

Have shucked oysters ready
When the meat is cooked, check the liquid in the skillet

If the liquid is too thin, make a roux and thicken it now
(To make roux, fry one tablespoon of flour in one-tablespoon oil and constantly stir until paste starts to colour. Take off heat, stir into skillet.)

Put in the mushrooms, oysters and their liquor into the beef
Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary

Let the skillet cool off
Put the oysters and their liquor into the beef

Turn oven up to 450F (230C)
Put beef mixture into pie dish

Cover with the pastry; trim the edges and brush with the egg wash
Cook in hot oven 10 minutes

Reduce heat to 375F (190C)
Cook 15 minutes more, look for puffed golden crust
If needed cook another couple minutes.

That’s the famous dish from the Belle Epoque.


Noemi said...

This is fantastic. You are not just giving us recipes but a story behind it. I just love it. Probably i won't be making this recipe but I am going to give a try to the Greek soup. I will let you know how it goes.

anthony stemke said...

Thank you for those kind words. If you have a sweet tooth, come back monday for Cara Mia Caramel

Misha said...

Oh my word. That sounds sinfully delicious.


nutschell said...

Wow this looks yummy. I must certainly try it!


Oak Lawn Lady said...

I love your take on the A to Z Challenge... recipes! I found you with the 'surprise me' button. I'm a new follower.
I'd love for you to check out my take on the A to Z Challenge, comment and follow, if you like.
I'm at:

Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

Candyland said...

Feed me now, please.

Anonymous said...

Hey now, this looks awsome. Now I'm hungry. We have Marie Calendar pot pies. I know, I know, they're not as good. But they'll have to do for now.

kitchenmorph said...

i'm thinking whether to flag this or not...succulent recipe...and now i know what's an egg wash :P and the story is fab...keep them coming!

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