A little everyday chit chat around the table...like we all used to do around my Grandmothers' tables when I was growing up. A little of this...a little of that...nothing too special...but as the years pass, all of it seems so. Come, sit at the Table, contribute, enjoy, stay as long as you want, leave when you need to, and return often!
Whisk Wednesdays rolled around again yesterday, and while I had planned to serve the beef roast on Wednesday, our week went as such that I wasn't certain anyone was going to actually be here to partake of it, so I made and served it tonight instead.
This week's recipe was from Class 16: Les Braisages (Braising)
What a hit...Mark raved and raved about it and Matt loved it. Alex decided he wasn't having any, but I would not take that as any sort of critique at all as Alex can be rather unadventurous in the trying of new recipes realm. (Photo on the right is one of the manly sized portions on a dinner plate, the other photo is a more chick-sized portion on a salad plate...oh, and the chick doesn't like her food touching too much, so the sauce is on the side.)
I did think it was very very good also. Definitely a keeper. I served it with a garden salad and some sliced perfectly ripe nectarines. The guys thought they maybe would like some potatoes with it, or at least that was the excuse when they headed down to the Men's Den with a bag of potato chips to fill the potato "void."
I know why French food is so expensive. They use expensive ingredients, the dishes take forever and a day to prepare much of the time, and you need a certain amount of know-how in the kitchen to effectuate even a smattering of a hope that yours will turn out in much hoped-for success. I am counting this one as a success.
The recipe calls for fatback, 5 ounces, to be larded in the 2-1/2 pound roast and I really didn't want to do this, but I wanted to be a player, so I did it. If you look at the photo of my plate, you can see the globules of orangish colored fat floating in the sauce...this is not something I care for, so I am not sure I would do that next time at all, or if I did, I would plan to make the roast one day, park it all in the frig for a few hours so the fat would solidify and then scrape that off and toss all that out, and reheat the whole dish to serve it. I think most of the fat could be skimmed off most efficiently using that method.
There are 4 cups of red wine in this...I am not all that great on picking out wines for cooking, so I just grabbed a bottle of Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and that really was a nice flavor with the beef. Years ago Mark and I visited the Mondavi winery in California and I tend to reach for a Mondavi bottle as it never disappoints and is modestly priced. The winery is spectacular...set at the foot of the mountains with beautiful rose bushes blooming all over the property...if you are in the area, go tour it, it is just romantic and wonderful and beautiful. Oh, yeah...back to the recipe...there are also three tablespoons of cognac in the broth and while not a huge flavor, you could taste it in there and it did add a little something-something to it. In the broth also were onions, garlic, carrots, herbs, peppercorns, and tomatoes. Kalamata olives were added at the end, so those provided the salt flavoring.
You need to plan ahead with this recipe as the roast needs to marinate overnight, but that was no problem. Okay, mine actually marinated an extra night because of the scheduling around here, but believe me, this was definitely an okay thing to do...it may have added that much more flavor, I will need to let you know when I make it next and only marinate it one night. The recipe recommended marinating it "at least 12 hours." I think mine marinated 42 hours and it was really really great in flavor.
If you want to make this recipe at your own home, just purchase the cookbook Le Cordon Bleu at Home and give it a go. The techniques you need are shown clearly in the book, so rest assured it is all very simple if you take it one step at a time. I think you will be very pleased with the results. It was such a hit here that Mark wanted to make certain I knew he wanted me to make this again...he kept telling me over and over, "This is very very good. I really really like this recipe a lot." It's always nice when the partakers are so appreciative!
If you would like to see how the other Whisk Wednesday members fared in the braising class, click here, or better yet, come and join us! Next week's class is:
Class 16, Part 2 • Blanquette de Veau à l’Ancienne (White Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms), on page 55-56.