Boeuf à la Mode {FFwD}

Unlike last week’s Salad Niçoise, which came in just under the wire, I made this week’s recipe early. Really early. Like almost three years early. Having tried and loved Dorie’s Go-to Beef Daube, I couldn’t wait to try this version of pot roast. So I first made it and blogged about it back in January, 2011, long before it came up in the French Fridays rotation. You can see the original Boeuf à la Mode post, complete with process photos, here.

But looking over the post myself the other day, I knew I wanted to make it again. Add to that the fact that we just had a side of the most delicious beef I’ve ever tasted delivered, and it was a no brainer.

Boeuf a la mode - Braised

Since the prior post has lots of detail and pictures (including the one above), I didn’t take any new photos this time. But I did make the following changes to the recipe:

  • Rather than marinate the beef and vegetables overnight, I used my FoodSaver Quick Marinator, which did the job in 20 minutes, while I was getting everything else ready.
  • Dorie’s recipe calls for lots of pans and moving things back and forth between them. I’m a lazy cook, so I always look for ways to eliminate extra steps or dirtying needless piles of dishes. I strained the marinade into a saucepan to reduce, then browned the meat, softened the vegetables, and melted down the anchovies all in the Dutch oven that I used to cook the whole thing. After browning the beef, I removed it to a plate, then added the vegetables to the pot (no dumping out and replacing oil here). When the veggies had softened sufficiently, I added the anchovies and tomato paste to the pot, along with a splash of the marinade and stock mixture.  I cooked that until the anchovies and tomato paste were mixed in, then added back the beef and poured in the rest of the marinade/stock.
  • I have this wonderful mushroom stock base that I got on clearance at Williams Sonoma, so I used that in place of beef stock.
  • Finally, out of pantry necessity, I used bourbon instead of Cognac.

This dish was as good as I remembered. Even dad, whose idea of the perfect pot roast is one cooked to mush in the crock pot with cream of mushroom soup and dried onion soup mix, said it was delicious. And the dogs had no complaints about the wee bit of broth drizzled over their evening kibble.

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Check out the website to see what the other Doristas thought about this recipe.

Frozen Wine Slushy {Recipe} {Ice Cream Week}

It’s day 3 of Ice Cream Week, and today’s theme is Sorbet (or Other Non-dairy Frozen Treats). I’m opting for “Other” with this frozen wine slushy treat.

This wine slush can be enjoyed two ways: as an eat-with-a-spoon slushy or a wine punch.

Frozen Wine Slushy

Wine Slush with Sparkling Limeade

Either way, it’s a refreshing summery treat.

Frozen Wine Slushy

Ingredients

  • 1 750-ml bottle Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • Sparkling limeade or lemon-lime soda (for punch variation)

Directions

  1. Stir together wine, lemonade, and cranberry juice. Freeze for 3 to 4 hours, until fairly solid. The wine will keep the mixture from freezing firm.
  2. For frozen wine slush, scoop frozen mixture into glasses and serve with a spoon.
  3. For slushy wine punch, fill glass about 3/4 full with frozen slush, then top with sparkling limeade or lemon-lime soda. Serve as is or with a straw.

I will be serving this at our next summer dinner party. It’s easy, refreshing, and delicious.

Margaret is 3 for 3 in Ice Cream Week so far, turning in this wonderful looking Pina Colada Sorbet for today’s entry. Di made a beautiful Raspberry Sorbet. My wife would love Rebecca’s Mango Ice. And Abby made Homemade Waffle Cones to serve it all!

Coming up tomorrow: we’re going “Nuts for Ice Cream” with Molasses Almond Praline Ice Cream.

Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port {FFwD}

If this looks like a picture from a book, it's only because it is

 This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is another braised beef recipe. I had never cooked short ribs before, so I was excited to try this one. I made the recipe for company the same evening that I made last week’s pancetta green beans. And like the green beans, because I was in the middle of cooking for guests, I didn’t get any pictures.

But fear not. I found a recipe for short ribs in wine by Dorie Greenspan which, while not the exact recipe from Around My French Table, is pretty close. You can find the recipe here. I noticed a few differences when perusing this recipe. First, the recipe in AMFT calls for an entire bottle of red wine and 1 1/2 cups of port. Also, the gremolata in the book uses cilantro instead of parsley, and you have the option of using tangerine, clementine, or orange peel (I used orange).

The short ribs were absolutely delicious. They were fall-off-the-bone tender (in fact, several of the pieces did fall off the bone as I was plating them), and the wine and port gave the dish a deep, slightly sweet flavor.

We all agreed it was one of the best beef dishes we had eaten in a long time. And it definitely made me want to try cooking with short ribs again.

Boeuf à la Mode {AMFT} {FFwD}

OK, let’s just get this out of the way right up front. In cooking terms, “à la mode” only means “with ice cream” in the US and Canada. More broadly, “à la mode” refers to beef and vegetables braised in wine. Think about that the next time you’re at Applebee’s and the waitress asks if you want your pie à la mode.

This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan‘s Around My French Table. It’s very similar to the Go-to Beef Daube recipe that I made for French Fridays with Dorie in December. The main difference is that the beef in this recipe is braised whole, instead of being cut up as it is in for daube.

I began by trimming the beef of most of its fat, then marinating it overnight in a mixture of red wine, olive oil, aromatic vegetables, and a bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, rosemary, bay leaf, and celery leaves.

The next day, I removed the meat from the marinade and set it aside to dry a bit.

I strained the marinade, reserving the wine and vegetables.

I boiled the wine mixture until it was reduced by about half, then added beef broth and brought it back to the boil before setting it aside off the heat.

In the meantime, I browned the meat in a small amount of oil. Once it was well-browned on all sides, I salted and peppered it, then placed it in a Dutch oven.

Next, I sautéed the vegetables in oil for a few minutes. I seasoned the vegetables, then added a bit of cognac to deglaze the pan before adding it all to the Dutch oven with the meat.

Finally, I put a bit of the wine-broth mixture into the pan, then added four anchovies and some tomato paste. The anchovies broke down quickly into the mixture and gave the dish a more complex flavor that was not at all fishy. I added this, along with the rest of the wine-broth mixture, to the Dutch oven, covered the pot with foil and the lid, and slid it in the oven.

I braised the beef for an two-and-a-half hours, until the roast was fork tender.

The recipe says to remove and discard the vegetables, but like Dorie’s husband, I was too fond of the mushy carrots to do that. I sliced the beef and served it for dinner with a salad and some fresh bread. It was delicious and reminded us all of our favorite Sunday roast, with a little more flavor and complexity.

Like all good pot roasts, it was even better reheated the next day. I enjoyed it every bit as much as the beef daube (which I loved), and will definitely be making it again.

(By the way, don’t tell my family that it had anchovies in it. No one noticed, and they wouldn’t eat it if they knew. So let’s just keep it our little secret.)

Paris Mushroom Soup {FFwD}

At French Fridays with Dorie we’re starting off the new year with the perfect recipe for those wintry January days. I love soup, especially when it’s cold outside. I’m not sure why I don’t make it more often, especially since so many soup recipes, like this one from Around My French Table, are so easy to put together.

Preparing to cook included little more than chopping vegetables and measuring out the remaining ingredients. The most time-consuming part was cleaning and slicing the mushrooms. If you really wanted this soup to be almost effortless, you could start with sliced white mushrooms. Starting with whole mushrooms, it still only took me about 15 minutes to get everything ready. With my mise en place completed, it was time to make soup.

I began by sautéing onions and garlic in butter.

Or rather, my sous chef sautéed them.

After the onions and garlic had softened a bit, we added the mushrooms and cooked them down until they gave up their liquid.

We continued cooking the mushrooms until the liquid had mostly evaporated. Then we added white wine and cooked it away, too. Finally, we dropped in rosemary and parsley, then poured in chicken broth.

We brought the broth to a boil, covered the pan, and simmered the soup for about 20 minutes. We — or rather, I, as my sous chef had gone off to play by then — uncovered the pot, moved it off the heat, and broke out the immersion blender to purée the vegetables.

 With the soup ready to go, I prepared the salad, which consisted of mushrooms, scallions, parsley, and chives.

I assembled the salad in the bottom of shallow soup bowls, then ladled the hot soup onto the salad.

I served the soup with a dollop of sour cream. The recipe called for crème fraiche, but the grocery store didn’t have any, and I hadn’t thought ahead to make it. No matter, as the sour cream worked just fine.

This soup was perfect for a chilly winter Sunday supper. My sous chef, who claims not to like mushrooms, even liked it. Actually, that was part of the reason I had her help me cook it. I’ve found that kids are more likely to try — and like — a dish that they have helped prepare.

As for the rest of us, we loved the soup, too. Everyone finished their bowls, and I went back for seconds. The soup was creamy and delicious, and the salad gave it a bit of added flavor and texture.

 This is definitely a recipe I will make again. And it has me thinking I should make homemade soup a regular part of my winter dinner rotation.

My Go-to Beef Daube {FFwD}

As Dorie Greenspan notes in Around My French Table, every chef needs a great beef stew recipe in his or her apron pocket. So this week’s entry for French Fridays with Dorie is her — and now my — go-to beef daube.

The recipe begins with beef chuck, which I cut into chunks somewhat larger than I would normally use for stew. With the beef cubed and the rest of my mise en place set up, I was ready to cook.

If you are familiar with Dorie’s recipe, you may notice a few omissions from my mise en place. First, there’s no bacon. I don’t eat pork, and I don’t like turkey bacon (“facon”), so I left the bacon out. Also missing from my mise are carrots. I decided to make Dorie’s spiced butter-glazed carrots to eat with the daube, so I omitted the carrots from the stew.

I began by browning the beef in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven. I was careful not to crowd the pot, as I wanted the meat to brown, not steam.

After browning the beef, I sautéed onions and shallots in oil for a few minutes, tossed in garlic and parsnips, then added brandy to deglaze the pan. I returned the beef to the pan, added a fresh herb bouquet garni, and poured in an entire bottle of Shiraz.

After bringing the wine to a boil, I covered the pot with foil, put the lid on, and put the whole thing in the oven. I braised the daube for an hour, then took it out to give it a stir.

I recovered the pot, then returned it to the oven for another 1 1/2 hours. At this point, the meat was fork-tender, and the whole dish tasted delicious. It was hearty, and the wine gave it a deep, rich flavor.

Having grown up in the Midwest, where beef is king, I can safely say this is the best beef stew I have ever tasted. Rich and flavorful, without being too heavy, this could replace the Sunday pot roast on any table, especially served with Dorie’s glazed carrots.

I know it will be making regular appearances on mine.

Sauvignon Wine, So Little Time

After my first successful forray into jelly/jam making, I was itching to try another batch or two. I picked up a copy of Linda Amendt’s book, which has tons of great jam and jelly recipes, and decided to try some “drunken” spreads: Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Jelly and Blackberry Cabernet Sauvignon Jam (recipe to follow). 

After reading the author’s admonitions about not doubling or otherwise changing the amounts in the recipes, I figured I’d make a half batch of the cab jelly. That way I could make the jam and jelly with one 750-ml bottle of Cabernet with just a little wine left over. But what to do with the rest…?

An open bottle is an empty bottle

An open bottle is an empty bottle

 I had planned on preparing both recipes on the same day, but I ended up making the cab jelly a day or so before I got around to the blackberry cab jam. The jam recipe called for the following ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups (about 1 1/2 lbs) crushed blackberries — I used frozen
  • 1 pkg powdered fruit pectin
  • 6 1/3 cups (yikes!) sugar
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
  • 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter (optional)

I crushed the thawed blackberries one layer at a time in a flat container.

Mashing Berries

Then I put the berries, juice and all, into a pot with the pectin, which I had mixed with 1/4 cup sugar, and the butter. The butter is optional, but I like to use it, as it helps keep the jam from foaming as it cooks.

Blackberries

I brought this mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Then I gradually stirred in the remaining sugar, brought the mixture back to a rolling boil, and stirred and boiled it for 1 minute. I then took it off the heat, stirred in the wine, and let it rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, while I got the jars and lids ready.

Cooked Jam

I filled the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top, wiped the rims and threads, placed the lids on the jars, and screwed on the bands. The recipe said it would make 7 or 8 eight-ounce jars; I ended up with 7 eight-ounce and 4 four-ounce jars. I put the jars in the water bath, brought it to a gentle, steady boil, and processed the jars for 10 minutes.

Processing Jam

I took the jars out of the water bath, put them on a dish towel on the counter, and waited for the thocking sound of the lids sealing. All of the lids sealed, and I kept checking the jam throughout the rest of the evening to see if the jam was setting up. It stayed liquidy until bedtime, but by morning it was set and beautiful.

Blackberry Cabernet Jam

I had a little bit of jam left over when I filled the jars, which I put in a custard cup in the fridge. I ate it on toast for breakfast. And a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Then more toast. And another sandwich. It is absolutely delicious. The berries are so fresh and bold tasting, and the wine gives it an added bit of richness.

When I was ladeling the jam into the jars and realized how much I was going to end up with, I started wondering what I would do with all of it. Now I’m wondering how soon I will have to make more.