I did warn in an earlier blog that I may be reviewing recipes in Julia’s famous “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook and posting my results, and here we are. I made Daube de Boeuf several weeks ago, but haven’t got around to blogging because I just finished cleaning up the kitchen after making it -! (joke)
First, I was surprised that the beef was marinated. I don’t know what to expect of French cuisine, but for some reason, I thought marinating was more of an American thing. But what are most Americans today but displaced peoples from other countries? Of course, there was much chopping, slicing and prepping and I realized later on that I could have taken a short cut with the tomatoes, but as always, I wanted to be true to the recipe and blanched, peeled and seeded the tomatoes.
Now I shall contradict myself. Julia Child seems to like boiling her bacon first. In all the recipes I have made that use bacon, she always wants you to boil it for at least 10 minutes before using. Does anyone know why? I have never done that and I’ve always been very happy with the results. I know that when I lived in England, their bacon was thicker and, well, more flavorful than the garden variety one finds at American stores. (I do miss that!) Is French bacon saltier or something? Anyone? So I don’t always stay true to the recipe. sigh
I also did not lard the meat because she didn’t insist, but the option was there. She describes this term as inserting larding pork or blanched bacon (there we are again!) through each piece of meat. Considering that it’s a casserole, and the beef is cut into 2 1/2″ pieces, larding would have taken way too long. Probably why she didn’t insist on it!
This recipe didn’t seem so long to prepare as other main dishes from this book, only about two hours. That’s not including the marinading time, which was at least three hours. However, the amount of cookware involved in the prep seemed to be right on target with everything else I have made! It truly did take awhile to clean up, and that’s even counting the clean as you go system. So total time spent on this wonderful casserole was probably about five hours. I cannot begin to imagine cooking from this book every night and working a full-time job such as Julie Powell did. I am a stay at home goddess, and I find my occasional forays challenging enough!
After having said all that, I did not get any pictures of this delicious dish being plated. I did get a few in the pot just before I started gobbling it down, but no pretty ones. boo-hoo Oh, well, we’ll catch it next time! As Julia Child would say, “Bon appetit!”