Queen Elizabeth’s publicly celebrated “official” birthday is this Saturday (June 11), though the stage has already been set with her festive Platinum Jubilee events of last weekend. While the Queen’s birthday celebrations are quite glamorous, I’d imagine that just like anyone else, her birthday wouldn’t be complete without her favorite meal.
So I did some research, found out that Queen Elizabeth loves a traditional Irish and Scottish dish called Gaelic steaks, and recreated the meal to honor her special day.
Why does Queen Elizabeth have 2 birthdays?
It’s a little confusing, I know. Each year, the Queen observes two birthdays – her actual birth date (April 21) and another that typically falls on the second Saturday in June. This strange practice has been a historic occurrence for monarchs who weren’t born during the summer months. By having a second or “official” birthday, they can enjoy celebrations and parades when the weather is warm.
How to Make Gaelic Steaks
A lot of Gaelic steak recipes are essentially the same — the dish is seared beef tenderloin steaks served with a creamy whisky mushroom sauce. But if you want to enjoy it the way the Queen does, there’s no one better to consult than her former private chef, Darren McGrady.
Chef McGrady shared this recipe on his website, and it’s worth trying at home if you’re looking to prepare a meal fit for a queen.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 4 beef tenderloin steaks – mid-cut (6 ounces each)
- 1 (8 ounce) onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon Marmite
- 2 tablespoons whisky
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- Heat skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Season tenderloins with salt and pepper, add to skillet, cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until steaks have golden brown crust.
- Remove steaks from skillet. Place them on plate, cover with aluminum foil, and keep in a warm place.
- In the same pan, pour remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and reduce the heat to low.
- Add onion and cook until softened, also scraping browned bits from bottom of the pan. Stir in mushrooms and garlic and sauté until mushrooms soften.
- Stir in whisky, cream, chicken broth, and Marmite. Increase the heat to reduce liquid. When sauce reaches creamy consistency, remove it from heat and season to taste.
- Add juices from tenderloins and chopped parsley and serve over steaks with more chopped parsley to garnish. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta.
My Taste Test
Slicing into the steak was fairly easy with this recipe, since it was cooked medium and was very tender. If you prefer your steak a little more done, use a meat thermometer and cook it until the flesh reaches your desired internal temperature.
My first bite of steak actually melted in my mouth (cliché, but true!). The cream sauce had a rich, intense taste and the mushrooms added a slightly earthy flavor, which balanced everything perfectly.
This dish was a treat to make and I’ll definitely whip it up again in the future. Try pairing it with a nice red wine such as Merlot, using the expert advice of the Queen’s wine cellar advisor in selecting the best bottle.
There’s no better way to wish a happy birthday to Queen Elizabeth than preparing this tasty dish in her honor!