Éstouffade de Boeuf Provençale

17 09 2008

Ahhh…here we are at Wednesday all over again.  This week we’re starting the braises…beef, veal then lamb.  I love braising.  I’ve been doing it for years and didn’t have the faintest idea that’s what I was doing.  Go figure.  This is a different method of cooking a pot roast, but it’s a lot the same too.  This is serious scratch cooking.  Our lowly beef chuck roast bathes in red wine, onions, carrots, garlic with a bouquet garni for at least 12 hours.  Oh…and 20 crushed peppercorns.   I confess…mine lounged around for a whole 24 hours.  I put everything together the day before I planned to cook, stuck it in the fridge and vacillated between asking Hubster to put the roast on to cook, or doing it myself and eating a little later that evening.  We opted for later dining.

The recipe called for “fatback,” but I couldn’t find anything like that.  I settled for salt pork, and eventually used a whole 12 oz. piece.  Needless to say, I didn’t find the need to add much (any?) salt to the dish.  I marinated the meat for 24 hours, drained, strained, seared, browned, and sauteéd until everything was ready to cook…where??  I admit…they have us preheating the oven to 375º and then cooking the dish on top of the stove??  And don’t let it boil.  Forget that.  I reduced the oven to 325º (thou shalt not boil, remember?), and put the roast and all the goodies in the oven.  An hour later I turned the roast.  An hour and a half after that, I turned it again.  By that time, it was getting pretty darn tender, so I started my potatoes.  That was when I realized I’d forgotten to toss the vegetables with flour before I added the wine…3 hours earlier.

What to do…?  Ok..flour needs to cook a bit to keep from tasting…well, like raw flour.  So, I sprinkled the 2 Tbsp. of flour into a non-stick little skillet, and heated it whilst whisking, whisking, whisking.  I wanted it to cook without burning or toasting too much, and yet still cook.  It was a game of set on the heat, pull off the heat, whisk, whisk, whisk, shake…whisk, until the flour dried and barely colored.  While the broth was still piping hot, fresh out of the oven (just after I removed the meat), I whisked in the hot flour.  No lumps, no bumps, just a nice smooth gravy resulted in the end.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with this dish.  It had a soul warming quality and it melted in the mouth.  It was difficult to restrain ourselves.  I made mashed potatoes to go with the roast, even though I wasn’t sure I shouldn’t try buttered noodles instead.  Had I made a stew or ragu, I probably would have opted for noodles.  I don’t see why one couldn’t use stew meat and change this to a stew…oh my…how yummy would that be??  Add fresh, hot rolls…mmmmmmmm!  But, this was a roast, and here’s mine, plated up:

Several of my co-workers have offered to help me with left-overs…aren’t they sweet?  So, I took a carton of this to one of the single guys and he had it for lunch today.  He was amazed at how tender it came out, and how rich and smooth the gravy was.  We’re calling this a keeper!

Next week…the challenge of locating veal…that ought to be fun!  The only veal I see around is scallopine, or once in awhile breast of veal.  Hmmm…  I’ll have to do some serious hunting.  I’ve always wanted to make Blanquette de Veau.  We’ll just have to see…I’ve been hunting for 2 weeks already.  Whisk me luck!



4 responses

19 09 2008

Yep, I winged the oven thing, too…figuring we just weren’t preheating the oven for fun and games…it all came together just like the book said, so I am thinking we did right going to the oven with it.

Yours looks very nice…comforting food for a winter evening…this is so getting made here again.

My guys would have opted for your potatoes definitely…next time, I will be making the potatoes to go with it as well.

Love the rescue with the flour…how many times have I spaced doing something like that, too! Great post.

18 09 2008

Oh Glennis…this looks fabulous! It was 90 degrees yesterday so I’m waiting until tomorrow to make mine. But oh.. I wish I had some tonight!

18 09 2008

I, too, was confused by the method in the cookbook. I figured that since they had us preheat the oven, that it was to go in the oven. I loved how you rescued the flour and browned it slightly. Looks great, and how nice of you to share it with someone at work!

18 09 2008

Yours looks great. I was confused by the whole oven/stovetop thing too.
So nice of you to take care of the bachelors. Great job!

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