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.

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.)