French Fridays with Dorie – Beef Daube with Carrots and Rigatoni

In a shocking act of forethought I made this dish last week. I knew that with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, our 4 day trip to MN, and getting back into the swing of things at work there would be no way I would have this done and blogged by Friday. So, yay me! But I can’t pat myself on the back too much since I haven’t even made the goat cheese mini puffs from two weeks ago yet. Le sigh.

I called the butcher to find out if they had beef cheeks in stock since that’s what the recipe originally called for but they said I would have to wait a week so I said “Chuck roast it is!” I’ll be interested to see how many of us can actually get the beef cheeks.

This recipe marked the maiden voyage of my newest Le Creuset piece – the braiser! I have wanted this one for awhile and I earned it by teaching a Learning to Love Le Creuset class with Bek last month. That is a topic I feel very qualified to teach! 🙂

This was another hands-off recipe that made the house smell great and allowed me to do lots of important things while it was braising away in the oven….like read blogs and catch up on The Walking Dead (things are going down in post-apocalyptic America people!) and paint my nails. We had some company over for dinner and they were kind enough to let me finish my photos before digging in. I would definitely make this again because it was easy and a real people pleaser. If you want to give it a try, I found a very similar Dorie recipe online here.

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! The dinner that I made was kind of a mixed bag. The meatloaf was outstanding and I would definitely recommend it (the link is in my previous post) but I’m not so sure about the Pumpkin Scalloped Potatoes. I think if I made those again I would definitely make them more saucy – they were kind of dry. And speaking of dry – I tried braising some turkey legs but I really overshot it on the time because they started out looking like this:

and ended up looking like this:

Well obviously not exactly like this but you get the idea. Whoopsie. Also my pie kind of sucked which was a real disappointment as I’m mostly into big holiday dinners for the dessert. I mean, it looked amazing, no?

But the flavor was really meh. I used the Holiday Pumpkin Tart (or pie) recipe from BFMHTY by Dorie and it just wasn’t my favorite. There were 3 tablespoons of rum in it and I think it overpowered everything else. It was a real bummer. Good thing Cassidy saved the day with a good old-fashioned Libby’s right off the can pie. The dinner we had at home on Sunday was delicious but that’s no surprise. I made the Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Swirl Pie from EmmyCooks and it was universally liked by the few of us who had room for dessert (that always includes me). Now I am off to find cute holiday cards for the exchange so wish me luck!

French Fridays with Dorie – Boeuf Printanier

This is the recipe I was MOST excited about for the month of April, which if you’re just tuning in was filled with sardines and coconut and asparagus (two of which I surprisingly really enjoyed). I actually really love lamb. REALLY love it! I always feel a little guilty when I eat it, but it’s not enough to make me stop that’s for sure. My dad gave me a leg of lamb for Christmas which I foolishly wasted a few months ago before I joined the illustrious ranks of FFWD. Silly girl. So when faced with buying 3 lbs of lamb myself, I just couldn’t do it. Flippin’ $40 for just one ingredient for this stew. Sorry Charlie, not gonna happen. So I went the cheapy McCheapster route and used beef. I mean I went to the meat market and everything and had them cut up a roast for me so I feel like I got the nicest cheapy beef I could but yeah, I’m kinda hanging my head.

So things start out in one of the most promising ways a kitchen venture can – getting browned in a Dutch oven. I don’t know that I’ve ever made anything that wasn’t delicious in it. Seriously.

The main characters of this dish are all hanging together for your viewing pleasure. I felt like I wanted to give the Baraboo Meat Market props for the nice job they did with this beef but a pile of raw meat is not all that photo-friendly. I think the bag of cutie little mini onions in the back helps though. So after getting a nice brown crust on the meat, you throw it back into the pan with some flour and salt and pepper and bam! That’s a lot of meat right there!

After the addition of some broth and other things comes the long simmer and the “play with the veggies” time. I have never bought these little miniature boiler onions before, but I really liked them, if only for appearance –  I didn’t think they tasted any different really. I made a few changes in the veggies area too just subbing in some plain ol’ Russets for the red or Yukon potatoes called for in the recipe and then adding some extra carrots and an extra turnip. The recipe said medium-sized carrots and one medium-sized turnip but it seemed like all the veggies available to me were mini-sized this week. The carrots seriously looked like a wand straight out of Harry Potter they were so skinny and twiggy. I mean if anyone’s wand in Harry Potter was orange. The potato sub was really just because I had the Russets and I never seem to be able to get through a whole bag of potatoes before they get all eye-y. Also, I have never really gotten the appeal of Yukon Gold potatoes. I think it’s just that I was raised on the very dependable Russet and I’m a little averse to change. Sue me. The turnips were actually really pretty and I meant to take a picture of them but I only remembered when I was halfway through peeling the most gorgeous one. Whoops! Here’s the majority of the veggies chillaxing with some butter and sugar – YUM!

I was a little bit afraid we were going to have a French Onion Soup repeat and not be eating until like 9:30 PM but we got to the table at the very respectable time of 7:45 – kind of European, but not full-on. More like just really cool, trendy Americans. That’s what I’m going with. Check out this perfect bite! It has a little bit of everything:

Since I didn’t make the real recipe, I feel unqualified to give a real opinion. This was a very nice beef stew that I will definitely enjoy for lunch for the next few days but I am left wishing that lamb was a little more affordable so I could have made the real deal. It does look pretty though, doesn’t it?

I feel obliged to mention the bread we ate with dinner because it is SO GOOD! We each had a toasted slice of English Muffin Bread with our soup and good lord it’s delicious. I baked it yesterday at work to combat a pervading gluey smell from some remodeling upstairs and I would highly recommend it. I have eaten it with every meal for the last two days. Yeah, it’s that good. So next week we’re making flounder – again forcing me out of my comfort zone and into the unknown world of cooking fish. It should be interesting assuming I can find some flounder to get all up in here. Wish me luck!