The Béarnaise-cessities

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The simple béarnaise-cessities of life: steak and béarnaise sauce!

The simple Béarnaise-cessities of life! An easy sauce for steak, inspired by The Jungle Book.

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The Bare Necessities is one of my all-time favourite Disney songs (although I still can never get all the words to the second verse right, you know, the bit with the paw-paw.) Written by Terry Gilkyson for an earlier version of The Jungle Book, it was the only song carried over by the Sherman Brothers (of Mary Poppins fame) into the final film.

In the film (as in the original Rudyard Kipling book) human wolf-cub Mowgli, having been driven from his pack due to the threat from Shere Kahn, is befriended by oafish bear Baloo. He is promised an easy care-free existence in the jungle with just the bare necessities of life, immortalised by Phil Harris in the 1967 cartoon (Bill Murray’s version in the 2016 live-action/CGI remake is charming but doesn’t come close!). As for stage versions… Disney did develop a stage version that opened in Chicago in 2013 but this doesn’t seem to have been produced elsewhere, perhaps due to superficial similarities with The Lion King

Shere Kahn’s much-feared blood-lust could perhaps have been satiated if a decent sauce was available to accompany his meat. A classic béarnaise springs to mind… an emulsion of butter and egg yolks flavoured with vinegar, tarragon and chervil is an amazing accompaniment to steak or grilled chicken.

Forget about your worries and your strife…

Recipes for this kind of sauce can often seem daunting, requiring double boilers and much whisking, but there are often some clever “hacks” to simplify things (our On Mayown mayonnaise recipe is a good example). I combined the ingredients from a Nigella Lawson recipe with the methodology from a SeriousEats recipe to a speedy and very satisfying result – no double boilers or whisks… just a stick blender!

Prepare the herby vinegar reduction and have the final portion of fresh herbs chopped and ready to go. Separate the egg yolks. Melt the butter in a pan while you are cooking your steaks as you see fit. Now follow the rest of the SeriousEats method, blending the yolks and vinegar, followed by the melted butter. You will very quickly have a nice thick emulsion in the time that your steaks are resting.

The simple Béarnaise-cessities of life! An easy sauce for steak, inspired by The Jungle Book.

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