I haven’t got any beautiful food to share with you today, but I do have some delicious dishes to write about. I’m not in synch with the French Fridays crowd this week; they’re all writing about their adventures in Garbure. Kevin and I are eating vegetarian this weekend, so the luxurious-sounding bean, duck, and sausage stew will have to wait. Instead, I’m doing a catch up for a couple of recipes I missed about a month ago.
First, bœuf à la ficelle, or in my case, la viande d’orignal à la ficelle. I used moose tenderloin in place of beef. This recipe uses a technique that many of us were skeptical about – poach an expensive cut of meat in beef broth? Madness! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The gentle bath of beef broth makes the tenderloin perfectly seasoned and perfectly medium-rare. I cheated, opting not to make the oxtail stock, instead infusing beef broth with the aromatics called for in Dorie’s recipe. I think this is a fair trade off, as long as you use a good brand of stock. The moose tenderloins I used were much smaller than beef tenderloin, which surprised me. I only poached them for about seven or eight minutes to get them to rare. Covered with foil, they cooked a little more and were nicely medium-rare when I served them.
I served the moose and vegetables with this Garlic and Fennel Purée from Food and Wine. The garlic and fennel flavour was wonderful, but I prefer a heartier purée, like Dorie’s celery root purée. I think I’d rather use that recipe as a template for fennel purée, but keep the mountain of garlic from Food and Wine‘s version.
Even though I loved the dish, I think the best part of this recipe is the left-over broth. I left it with my mother, who first poached some chicken in it, and then the next day, warmed up some ham. I can’t imagine how much more flavour she’d infused in the broth by the time she used the last of it in a pot of soup. That broth is secret ingredient material.
Unfortunately, my presentation doesn’t do the dish justice. I need a food styling tutor, I think.
You can find Dorie’s recipe for Bœuf à la Ficelle here.
You can read about the rest of the Doristas’ experiences with this dish here.
For dessert, there was Paris-Brest, filled with a vanilla and candied almond pastry cream, along with cream puffs filled with leftover Meyer lemon curd from last week’s crêpes. I only wish our assignment had been cream puffs, because those turned out beautifully. Unfortunately, I didn’t pipe the dough for the Paris-Brest into wide enough rings, so it’s not as impressive as it’s intended to be. I also managed to break the top when I was assembling it, so that added to the imperfection. No matter, because it was delicious. Definitely worth brushing up on my pastry piping skills.
To see how the rest of the French Fridays Crew fared with Paris-Brest, head here: Paris-Brest
I’ll be making both these recipes again, even if my presentation skills don’t show them to their best advantage. They may be homely versions of elegant dishes, but that’s easily forgotten once the eating begins.