Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Whisk Wednesdays- Braises and Marinades.

Whisk Wednesdays—Éstouffade de Boeuf Provençale (Braised Beef Casserole, Provence Style) - whisk: a food blog.

I made this dish last Wednesday evening, and finished so close to midnight that I decided to wait and post it this week. This is just as well as I have not been able to find the veal for this week's dish anyway. If I don't find it by the weekend, I will either use another meat or just go on to the next dish.

The search for veal reminded me of our search earlier this summer for osso bucco. Hubby expressed a desire to try this dish, having noted a recipe in one of Mario Batali's books. Always happy for a request in the kitchen, I set about finding the osso bucco. We went to about 6 different grocers, the last of which told me that I wasn't supposed to make this dish in the summer. (!) Um, if my man - who works crazy long hours every day - asks to try one measly meal, I am going to do my best to make it. Who cares what season it is? I know plenty of people who will have chili at least once in the summer - they managed to live to tell about it. I could not believe that a butcher in Canada, in this day and age, would tell me what I am allowed to cook and when. Next thing he'll be telling me not to wear white after labour day.

The Braised Beef.

The beef roast - an inexpensive cut - is marinated at least overnight in a marinade of red wine and aromatics. Blessedly, the marinade is kept and used for a sauce, rather than discarded like so much of the ingredients in this French technique cookbook. The next day the roast is drained, seared and slow cooked in the reserved marinade plus tomatoes. The book is a little ambiguous as it has you preheating the oven and then seems to be instructing you to simmer the beef stovetop. No matter, I did it in the oven at a lower temperature than it called for.

The beef turned out beautifully, fall apart tender. The sauce was ok, I found it a bit mild but I like big flavour. The point was to demonstrate the benefits of time in a marinade and slow cooking method to tenderize a cheap, tough cut of meat. This was accomplished beautifully and I now feel confident to recreate this recipe to my own tastes. Please click on the link above to see the recipe and information on this dish.

I know that these pictures are less than beautiful, it was very late when we took them and the lighting was dim - even with the handy desk light. So I included a pic of Bella - for beauty's sake. She is on her favourite spot - the end of my daughter's bed on a very comfy blankie.

Whisk Wednesdays is an at home culinary learning community following Le Cordon Bleu at Home and organized by Whisk: a food blog. Check out Whisk for instructions on the dish, the blogroll and to find out how you can play along.