lundi, octobre 16, 2006

Maybe Monday

It may be Monday if you wake up, look at your alarm clock, and wonder whether your state of being falls into the category of "sick." I was so tempted to call in sick, but I had no good reason. My body was still recovering from that whole "you stayed up till WHEN?" thing. I think doing it two days in a row was what really re-set my circadian clocks.

Anyway, I eventually dragged myself to work, dragged myself around work, and then dragged myself home. Work itself was mercifully straightforward (which is not to say that it wasn't busy).

Last saturday, I had bought a package of "bourguignon beef," which is essentially huge cubes of stewing beef appropriate for making bœuf bourguignon. This meant, of course, that I needed to make the bœuf bourguignon tonight. In retrospect, I'm going to limit myself to one major, time-consuming recipe every other week, 'cause this took all night.

I took the recipe from the French Wikipedia article, since it provided a "generic" recipe. None of the "special touches" or "à la [chef]" here. Essentially, the recipe involves preparing frying up a bunch of aromatics, some lardons, and some cubed braising-quality (i.e., cheap) beef. Then you toss on a bit of flour (thickening agent), use it to make a roux-like base, then pour in a whole bottle of red wine, some beef (or veal) stock, and boil for 3-4 hours. Luckily, I had a pressure cooker, so 3-4 hours turned into 1-1/2 hours. Then you pull out all the solids from the mixture and put in a casserole dish (meat, veggies, etc) and boil the remaining liquid down to a demi-glace consistency (this took a while). In the meantime, you make glazed pearl onions and butter-sautéed mushrooms (separately). You also cook up some small new potatoes (optional). Then you mix the mushrooms in with the demi-glace and toss them over the beef and veggies. Serve with onions and potatoes. Mmm!!

Anyway, I used too much water for the braising liquid (I was worried about the pressure cooker), I left the onions to cook for too long, and the mushrooms were overcooked. So, I'm going to try it again in a couple of weeks and PHOTOBLOG it like I did my ají de gallina recipe last week. The recipe kept me busy until almost 23h00 that night, so I had a pretty late dinner. But it was delicious. The wonderful thing about pressure cookers and/or braising recipes is that I used approximately 5€ of meat and maybe another 5€ of veggies (5€ more for the side potatoes) and condiments to prepare at least 3 days of fantastic food. Cheap meat can taste delicious with a bit of braising and a lot of time. After this, I can eat pasta and salads for a week and not worry about my protein intake.

At midnight, I realized that the cleaning staff were scheduled to clean my room tomorrow, so I frantically put stuff away and did the dishes. (By the way, bœuf bourguignon creates a lot of dirty dishes.) At about 2am, I finally got into bed, chiding myself for being too much of a night owl for someone with a day job.

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