Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Red Wine Beef Daube

This dish was my absolute favorite of the Meat 101 class, so I had to give it a try myself.

Everything went pretty well. I cut and marinated the beef for two full days instead of just 12 hours, just because of the logistics of getting time at the stove (I think this is about right because our fridge is a bit on the cold side). The actual cooking process was very, very easy. I think this was part because of the recipe and part because I'm really geting the rhythm of my kitchen. I'm getting a better sense of what things work best where, etc.

I suspect I overdid it on the browning. I ended up adding about 1/3 cup of bacon grease I had leftover in the fridge when the pan started going dry (if I hadn't had that, I would have used grapeseed oil). This was making me think at the time that something was up. In part, that may have been that I was using a bit more than the 2 lbs in the recipe. But then I noticed one of my notes on the recipe from class, which said that you only need to brown two large sides of the meat. I was turning the pieces onto all sides which, on the well-cut ones, was six. So, I essentially tripled the browning time. And added more fat to the mix. I don't think that it was necessarily a problem, but it did add a lot to the cooking time.

The end result was pretty good, but not quite to the level of the class. I'd give it a B+/A-, where the batch in class was a solid A+. By the time it had cooled, I still hadn't eaten much dinner, so I ended up eating a full portion right there at the stove.

We'll be having it for dinner on Thursday night, per the recommendation to let it sit like a soup or chili. I don't know how it will turn out then, but I think my tasting was pretty apples-to-apples regarding the individual preparations. But it seemed that the meat was a little tougher than it should have been. I think going with the longer braise that the instructor recommended would work well.

Picking out the bay leaves and herb stems was a bit of a pain, though. I may try going the route of the cheesecloth bags for these kind of items next time.

Oh, a charming story about our local Jewel: Channing and I don't drink around the house much, so we didn't have any cognac around . Nor did we need a large bottle, since it would really only be for cooking. So he picked me up a small bottle (those little flask looking things that have about a pint) and, while checking out, the sacker makes a comment, "Oh, someone's gonna get drunk tonight." The checker then responded, "He got a small bottle because he's trying to hide it." Right in front of Channing. Bitch.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to report this (we have her name, ID number, date and time on the receipt). I'm really turning into a cranky old man about these kinds of things and am still somewhat paying for having filed a complaint against the driver on my CTA route. But seriously....


Mary W said...

I love this blog! I can't believe we have lived in the same building for 6 months and I just learned about the cooking blog last night.The Jewel Cognac story is priceless.I experimented with a Borscht recipe in my CIA Book of Soups today. I think it came out pretty good although I have nothing to compare it to. Have you ever made Borscht?I am a big fan of Cooks Illustrated and am off to start the Glazed Meat Load (uses unflavored gelatin to mimic the qualities found in veal)for tonight.

Hal Shipman said...

I've never made Borscht, in no small thanks to my hatred of beets.

I did finally start a subscription to Cooks Illustrated and got my first issue last week. Interestingly, this Daube recipe is very, very similar to one they have this month for "French Pot Roast."