Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pot-au-Feu (Page 423)

RECIPE #1162

  • Date: Friday, April 30, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Emilee, Brian, Sam, Scarecrow, and Chris
  • Recipe Rating: B+

I had put off making this recipe for years because the ingredient list alone runs the full vertical length of a page. The dish included preparations for meat, vegetables, broth, toasts, marrow bones, and two sauces. When my special gentleman's birthday rolled around, I decided to tackle this recipe. He loves braised beef, so I figured he would like this dish quite a bit. Pot au feu is a French dish. The idea is to braise beef and vegetables in white wine and water. After several hours of cooking (less than that for the veggies), the beef and vegetables are removed from the broth. To serve the meal, one first serves the broth with marrow bones which have been simmered in water, and toasts made from a baguette (to spread the marrow on). Then as another course, the meat and vegetables are served. In this case they were served with two sauces: a horseradish sauce and a mustard sauce, and with cornichons on the side.

All in all this dish was pretty good. We started with marrow bones in broth, served with toasts. The toasts were very tasty, and the marrow was extremely flavorful. I wasn't too impressed by the broth, but Emilee and my special gentleman both thought it was delicious. After the soup course we went on to the meat and vegetables. The meat was nicely braised. The recipe called for both short ribs and chuck roast. The short ribs turned out better I thought, and were I to make it again I would just use all short ribs. The recipe said to slice the chuck roast and serve, but with braised meat I often like to serve it shredded. So I shredded the chuck roast and the meat off the short ribs after braising, and moistened the meat with the broth. I found this to be a very nice way to serve the beef. The vegetables were pretty tasty, although the cooking times didn't work out so well for all the vegetables. The carrots were nicely cooked, but the parsnips turned to mush. The turnips were somewhere in between. The meat went well with both sauces, and several people commented that the mustard sauce was particularly delicious. Indeed, the mustard sauce contained some of the broth that the beef and vegetables had cooked in, and that gave it a nice depth of flavor. The horseradish sauce (just horseradish, sour cream, and salt whisked together) was nothing special. Overall, I thought that this dish was pretty good, but not amazing.

This recipe isn't online.

This evening we are packing up the stuff we brought out to Berkeley and loading up the car. We are leaving Berkeley on Thursday -- staying with friends Thursday night and flying to Japan on Friday. When we fly back to California we will immediately hit the road for our drive to the Midwest. So these are our last couple days in Berkeley. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, after months of living essentially out of a suitcase, I am ready to go home. I feel almost desperate to return to our house in Michigan and settle in a bit. On the other hand, I have a lot of emotional ties to the Bay Area and I am sad to leave. I moved out of the Bay Area about eight years ago now. My best friend and college roommate Emilee stayed in the Bay Area after college. She went to medical school at Stanford and is now a resident there. I have been back to visit at least a couple times every year since I left. Now that Emilee and her husband have a son, though, I feel like I miss so much between visits -- children change a lot even in a few months! Being here this semester has made me wish more than ever that Emilee, Brian, and Sam lived down the street from us rather than across the country.

So while I am ready to leave, I am sad to be leaving. Back to packing...

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