Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lunch feature 23.09.10

Red Wine Fed Beef Stew
Tiger Blue Cheese & Salt Cured Beef Liver Dauphine Potatoes
Creme Fraiche

So, this is my second go at running Oliver BC raised wine fed beef as a lunch special. As you may recall, I was not totally please with my performance on the previous attempt. This time was much better.

Now, I must admit that braising a bottom round in a stew is probably not the best way to showcase the beauty of this beef but, in my defense, it was chili outside and a bottom round is a bottom round. I didn't really feel like a shaved beef sandwich applied to the weather outside. With that being said, the flavor and texture of the meat was still outstanding.

I started by searing the cubes of beef and then set them aside until I was ready to add them back into the braise. Then I added my mirepoix(carrots, celery, onion) and sauteed all that in some of Stanley's oh so precious tallow. I added my flour and cooked it to a medium roux. Then I added pureed tomatoes, red wine and beef stock plus a few herbs and such. I let this slowly braise and thicken for about five hours, stirring fastidiously to ensure that the flour never got a chance to burn to the bottom of the pot. Cooking the flour flavor out of a roux thickened braise is extremely important and takes some time and patience to master. Nothing is more disappointing than a sauce that tastes of flour. While all this was going on, I cut up some more mirepoix and sauteed all that off so that I could add that to the stew before serving. The second thing that can ruin a stew is over cooked, flavorless vegetables. The way I avoid this is to strain the stew once the meat is cooked properly. I then pick out all the beef and return it to the braising liquid and discard all the cooked vegetables. The real secret to a good stew is to let it cool down first then reheat it later on when you need it. You know how everyone says that stew and chili is better the second day, well, that's because the meat reabsorbs the liquid during the cooling that it has lost during the braise, making it more tender and tasty. Once I was ready to reheat the stew when an order came in I added the vegetables that I had sauteed of earlier. Perfect stew every time.

Every stew needs a garnish, usually potatoes. I couldn't just put potatoes in this stew, I needed to do something that would keep the goblins asleep. I still wanted to put potatoes in there somehow and I also wanted a blue cheese component as well. Something crispy is always nice, how about dauphine potatoes, yes that would suffice I believe, in keeping those goblins in a deep fryer induced coma for at least 12 hours. Dauphine potatoes are one of, in my opinion, Frances greatest gifts to the culinary world.

Potatoes mixed in about equal parts with choux pastry. Choux pastry which is used to make profiteroles and other delicious pastry, both savory and sweet, is a paste made of milk, butter, eggs and flour, and is of course horribly fatty. So, I mixed the potatoes, choux pastry, blue cheese & salt cured red wine fed beef liver

together into a glory paste and deep fried three of those little ditty's to sit in the stew. The blue cheese was a nice addition but the liver really brought the stew to life. I then finished it all off with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Gotta love those cool autumn days. This feature flew out the doors, it seems like a lot of people were of the same mind as me on this day. Oh, and thanks Bill for all your beautiful local beef. What a joy.

Sean Peltier

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