Behind the Dish: Sautéed Calves’ Liver with Shallots and Madeira

Disclaimer: In James Beard’s recipe for sautéed calves’ liver with shallots and Madeira, we’re improvising on one of the main elements. Oh, don’t worry, we’re not skipping the calves’ liver — but the dish really should be called Calves’ Liver with Shallots and Sherry (try saying that five times fast), because we’re subbing sherry for the Madeira.

It’s pretty simple: finely chopped shallots (red onions can sub in a pinch) are sautéed in butter and oil, then the floured calves’ liver is added and sautéed, then seasoned with pepper, sherry and parsley.

Our liver enjoys a bed of mashed potatoes and an accompaniment of shoestring vegetables — carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, slivered fennel and green onions. If you’re a liver fan but never had it served up this way before, this is your night!

Another option: if you missed last night’s Chicken Kiev but would like to try it, it’s back on the menu tonight.

James Beard Project: Week 3

Here is the menu of nightly specials for the James Beard Project, Week 3:

Monday, Nov, 16 — Linguine with Tomato Shrimp Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 98)

Tuesday, Nov. 17 — Filet of Sole with Scallops Mornay (James Beard’s Fish Cookery, p. 201)

Wednesday, Nov. 18 — Chicken Kiev (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 203)

Thursday, Nov. 19 — Sautéed Calves’ Liver with Shallots and Madeira (The New James Beard, p. 451)

Friday, Nov. 20 — Viennese Goulash with Pappardelle Pasta (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 141)

Saturday, Nov. 21 — Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Sausage (The New James Beard, p. 414-415)

Also — watch for a surprise James Beard dessert!

Enjoy Cleveland Beer Week even more: Try one of these menu pairings

To help you celebrate Cleveland Beer Week, Bistro 185 has come up with some menu pairings that should appeal to both the beer lover and the foodie in you. Enjoy a special treat, this week or anytime this fall, by teaming up these beers we offer on draft with just the right kind of item from our special menu to complement them best:

Two Brothers Domaine DuPage French Country Ale — This Bronze Medal winner at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival is a rural, northern France, amber colored ale, well balanced, full and sweet up front with caramel, toasty and fruity characters. Its finish has a gentle floral and spicy hop balance that cleanses the palate. Like Julia Child’s cooking, it will put you in mind of great rustic French cuisine — so if you loved and miss the Julia Project, try this beer with our Lamb Shanks with Rosemary Mint Demi-Glace and Baby Fall Vegetables.

Unibroue Trois Pistoles — This is a strong dark ale brewed with roasted malt with a rich, smooth texture, an aroma of ripe fruit and chocolate, and a taste of wild fruit with an aftertaste that lingers like old port wine. It goes beautifully with a dish that has a strong garlic flavor. Try it with our Sautéed Calves’ Liver with Onion Pan Gravy, Bacon and Mashers.

Rogue Ales Brewery Double Dead Guy Ale — Halloween is coming, and how better to celebrate than with a couple of Dead Guys? This strong ale has a deep amber copper color and aromas of buttery peanut brittle and orange blossom tea that follow through to a rich, chewy and fruity full body with notes of caramel-drizzled dried apricot and roasted grains and spice. It finishes with a long, tangy grilled grapefruit and chocolate fade. Combine it with our Double Cut Pecan Wrapped Pork Chop Stuffed with Prosciutto, Imported Swiss Cheese and Apple with Maple-Ginger-Apple Glaze for a fall treat without any trick to it.

Magic Hat Roxy Rolles — This one is Magic Hat’s “Autumnal Amber Ramble,” combining Pale, Crystal and Caramunich malts with Brewer’s Gold and Simcoe hops. We think it goes just beautifully with our Pan Roasted Wild-Caught Alaskan Halibut with Mango, Papaya and Macadamia Nut Tropical Fruit Sauce and Butternut Squash Ravioli. Try it yourself and see if we’re not right.

There’s never been a better time to enjoy a fine craft beer and a finely crafted meal than now during Cleveland Beer Week. So raise a glass and a fork at the Bistro — you’ll be glad you did!

Present and future specials: tonight, this weekend, this fall

We have some truly exciting things in mind for the coming weeks! Here’s a preview.

First, tonight’s specials will be basically the same as last night’s. For those wondering what the Soup of the Day is, it’s Chicken Vegetable Tortilla.

Now, for we upcoming weekends, starting tomorrow night, we have some real goodies planned, so make your reservations now if your mouth starts watering!

First, we’re going to feature amongst our specials this weekend a 14-oz. Veal Osso Bucco Cooked with Pureed Fall Root Vegetables, served on a bed of pappardelle pasta.

Then, starting this Friday and Saturday and continuing each weekend through the first two weeks of November, we’re going to offer a Bistro 185 Individual Clambake. It’s just like any other clambake, only each one is personal-sized: big enough for just you! Each person who orders a Personal Clambake will receive his or her own potful of goodies cooked in clam broth, including a “maris section” crab leg (the portion between the knuckle and the claw), a South African lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, chicken thighs, redskin potatoes, and corn on the cob. Your clambake will be served with cornbread and melted butter so you can enjoy it to the fullest!

But that’s not all we’re working on that’s new and special. This Monday, October 12, the Bistro introduces its new Fall Menu, featuring some specials we think you’re really going to love. Here are some of the items we have planned:

House-Smoked Chicken with Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese: Replacing our Limoncello Chicken summer special, this treat will star our own smoked chicken with a combination of Gruyère, Brie, Emmenthaler and Parmesan cheeses on medium shell pasta, with black truffle, finished with a bit of white truffle oil. We like to call it “Ultimate Mac & Cheese.” We think you will, too.

Duck Three-Way: We’ve served duck the same way here at the Bistro since we opened. Time to change things up! That’s what we’ll be doing with this new dish: a duck ragout with a confit, served with a quarter roasted duck and sliced smoked duck breast. This creation will most likely be presented on a bed of pappardelle pasta.

Gumbo of the Week: We will feature a new and different gumbo each week. Next week’s will combine shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage.

Seafood Stews: We’ll be rotating a variety of seafood stews through our specials, influenced by different regions and countries, such as Thailand and Italy.

Cassoulets: Look for a rotating variety of cassoulets, including classic French and seafood.

Risottos: We’ll also rotate a variety of risottos highlighting various ingredients.

Julia Project Classics: We’ll rotate some of the most popular dishes we served during the Julia Project back through our fall menu.

A few items that are already on our specials, and have earned a permanent place throughout our fall menu, are our two most popular Julia Project dishes of all: the Lamb Shank with Baby Fall Vegetables and the Pork Tenderloin with Port and Prunes. We will also continue to offer our Calves’ Liver entree, which recently won Scene Magazine’s Best in Cleveland award for Best Liver That’s Not Foie Gras.

In the future, also look for another very special dish: Cornish Hen Wrapped in Bacon with a Ginger-Maple Glaze, Acorn Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, Roasted Shallots and Roasted Garlic.

To learn more about our fall menu, and to keep up with the nightly specials, keep checking this space. You won’t want to miss anything!


Veal scallops, in the best of taste

One of our guests, heard commenting on tonight’s Julia Project dish, Escalopes de Veau à l’Estragon with Brown Tarragon Sauce: “Oh my, I picked the right dish!” Our presentation included spring peas and was served on the same thin, wide pappardelle pasta that accompanied our Chicken Fricassee of Tuesday night. The sauce for this dish is a bit lighter than that of the previous two entrees we have presented, but no less delicious for that, and redolent with the flavor of tarragon straight from our rooftop garden (each plate was decorated with a tarragon sprig). We hope you had the chance to enjoy; if you did, tell us about it!

Excitement is already building for tomorrow night’s dish, another masterpiece from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1: Foie de Veau Sauté with Sauce Crème a la Moutarde, Calf’s Liver with a Cream and Mustard Sauce. And don’t forget, the movie Julie & Julia opens tomorrow at area theaters. Save your ticket stub; if you make reservations for a party of four or more and show us your stub, you will receive one complimentary dessert per table. And what desserts we have to offer you: sinfully rich and sublime, whether it’s banana cream pie, raspberry-almond-and chocolate torte, carrot cake, peanut butter “s’mores” pie…save room!

We’re making plans now for which Julia Child dishes to feature in next week’s dinner specials. Watch this blog to see what’s coming next! If there’s a dish you’d especially like us to offer, make a request here — you just might see it on a future menu.