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.)

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