Archive for the ‘Meat Dishes’ Category

Sunday Dinner

A visit to a local artisan butcher in San Francisco (www.oliviersbutchery.com) gave inspiration to a lovely little dinner on a recent Sunday for a friend and me. Well that and Patricia Wells updated version of her essential ‘Food Lovers Guide to Paris’, reincarnated as an app for IPhone and IPad. I’ve always loved her reviews, and her descriptions of the many restaurants, bistros, fromageries, chartcuteries, boucheries, patisseries, and boulangeries in Paris are often the inspiration for dishes like this one: a quickly seared piece of ‘onglet’ or hanger steak served on a bed of butter-melted leeks, and topped with a crown of slow cooked crimini mushrooms.

The ‘recipe’ is simple a mostly intuitive. I started with about 2lbs of leeks, slicing them into 1/2 inch coins. I took extra care to wash them as dirt often lurks deep within the first few layers. In a medium sized pot over a low flame in go the leeks with 3/4 of stick of butter. I cover the pot and let the leeks slowly ‘melt’ over the course of the next hour or so. It’s important to keep the pot covered so the leeks steam in the frothy butter. The criminis I slice thinly (you can leave ’em whole too!), and saute over medium heat in my le creuset cocotte with a little olive oil. I lightly salt them to get them to give up there juices. I want them crispy though, but for now I let the juices slowly evaporate to concentrate flavor. Once the crimini juices have evaporated I finish will a little olive oil and some finely minced garlic. Some parsley comes next. Mushrooms done, I turn of the heat.

The onglet is about one pound, and the perfect ratio of fat to lean, well marbled, and perfect. I season with some fleur de sel and freshly cracked black, white, green, and pink peppercorns from the grinder. I sear the onglet in a very hot pan with just a bit of vegetable oil, about 4 minutes per side. Once done, it rests on a plate for about 10 minutes – I’m in no mood to lose any of those flavor juices.

We started with a salad of arugula, roasted beets, and sprinkles of goat cheese, all bound in a lemony vinaigrette. Then I make the ‘plats’: I put down a bed of melted leaks, kept warm on the stove on plates. Then a few slices of the onglet on top of the leeks; seared on the outside, juicy and lavender/pink on the inside, medium rare, emphasis on the rare. Lastly I crown the steaks with a generous tumble of criminis. Voila! Time to eat!! It was a really delicious, simple little sunday supper, one I’d recommend. Onglet is like a secret about to be exposed. It is not too expensive, and as delicious as rib-eye, strip, or chuck. I rarely eat filet mignon because its a) expensive and b) has inferior flavor and texture (in my humble opinion).


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‘a much larger and hungrier clientele  was made up of the blue-collar workers, les canuts, who earned bread in the textile industry and as packers in the warehouses.  They found meres of their own, who cooked for them with the same dedication, but with less costly ingredients, and for less money. They used the meat the fine folk disdained, such as the entrails and the tougher undercuts of beef and veal. But above all, they used a lot of pork, as well was fish such as carp, and eels, which they combined with onions, butter, cream, and generous amounts of wine. This was the beginning of the cuisine of the bistros, bouchons et porte-pots, which became typical of Lyon’ -Culinary France, Andre Domine, Editor

Spring just sprung a few days ago (officially, that is). But here in San Francisco winter was more springlike, and the past few weeks have been more rainy, windy, stormy, coldy, and wintry than ever. Reading one of my many cookbooks as I am wont to do one dark, wet, Sunday, I came across the above passage in my hard-bound copy of Culinaria France that describes the bouchon culture of Lyons. Coffee table books like Provence, The Beautiful Cookbook rarely do anything for me. I consider myself a serious cook, and big, oversized food books that sit on a coffee table always seemed to be a bit too generic for me – heavy on the full page photos, light on substance or point of view. The Culinaria series is different to me. Essential really. A great deal of detail about the regions, traditional dishes, wine, and culture accompany well conceived recipes despite its large hard-bound coffee table format. There are several editions, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, even the good ole US of A. A bouchon, I should mention is the Lyonaisse version of a bistro, and a bistro for those who may not know is a type of simple restaurant which serves hearty, straightforward food, generally in large quantities, and often at all hours of the day or night. In Paris, a bistro might serve steak frites, duck confit, lamb with white beans, sweetbreads in chablis, and knuckle of veal. French charcuterie is always available and pate, terrine, saucisson or delicious little crock of goose rillettes are easily found. The bouchons of Lyons differ from their Parisian cousins in that their menus are even more simple, and often based around offal, or the off-cuts of veal, pork, lamb, and beef.

I myself travelled to Lyon on one of my trips to Europe, and there I and my travelling companion found ourselves seated at a bouchon called Cafe des Federations, no better example of the cuisine of the city could be found. Tripe (stewed in onions and white wine), blood sausage (grilled to a crisp and served with duck-fat-sauteed apples), andouillette sausages (never ever seen in the U.S., andouillettes are sausages made from the intestines of pork and/or veal, grilled and served with a mustard cream sauce, their aroma is INTENSE), casseroles of both veal and lamb’s trotters, sabodet (a hearty sausage made from the head, skin, tongue of a pig), not to mention veal in many guises (as sweetbreads, tete de veau, tendron and blanquette). A bouchon virgin, I shied away from everything offered until I realized that here I must let my stateside inhibitions go and just trust that whatever was coming would be done well. And so, after starter platters of saucisson rosette de Lyon, a bistro salad with big chunks of salty bacon and poached eggs, I found myself confronted by a pretty little cocotte filled to the brim with white wine stewed tripe. Mildly beefy but also with an intensity of flavor only offal can muster, the texture was not slimy and insipid as I had assumed, but tender and firm to the tooth not unlike well cooked calamari. Thus my fascination with offal began.

Flash forward to this rainy stormy Sunday, I am snuggled in with my partner for the rest of the day, and I have tripe on my mind for a nice warming supper. My menu was as follows:

  • Tempura of Oysters, Red Bell Peppers & Japanese Eggplant with Ailoi
  • Simple Salad with a puckery vinaigrette and pancetta
  • Stewed Tripe with White Wine

This tripe dish is a version of Marcella Hazan’s Honycomb Tripe with Parmesan Cheese that appears in her highly recommended Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. My gathered

ingredients include for a mir poix (diced carrots, onions, and celery), herbes de provence, chili pepper flakes, salt, olive oil, and white wine.

First I sweat the onions over low heat in the olive oil.  I don’t want any caramelization here. Just a nice slow, low heat, sweat. Caramelized onions will make the end result way to dark and dusky.

After the onions have softened, in go the diced carrots and celery. In all, the onions sweat for about 10 minutes on low heat, then the carrots and celery are added for another 10.

Time for the herbs de provence, a little garlic, and freshly chopped parsley to join the fun.

In goes the tripe. I probably should have discussed the tripe in more detail before reaching this point in the process, so let me elaborate. First, I got the tripe from my trusty Asian meat market

on Mission street. Unlike the past, tripe these days comes already washed and ready to cook. I always blanch mine in boiling water to rid it of impurities, doing so makes a cleaner, less murky stew.

Add your fresh, blanched tripe that has been cut up in to thin strips to your aromatics, add wine, stock and tomatoes and simmer for several hours until most of the liquid has dissipated.

I seem to not have any fresh tripes to show you, so say hi to a whale I met on vacation recently instead!

Actually a family of whales…

The finished trip can be served in a platter and showered with the best parmesan you can lay your hands on prior to serving.

Greenleaf lettuce, a quickly whisked vinaigrette, and some pancetta are assembled into a salad. Fancier salads with watercress, oakleaf, butter, and escarole leaves, and luscious vinaigrettes composed of snappy vinigars (like champange or sherry),

flavorful oils (like walnut, hazelnut or premium first-press extra virgin olive oils), and irresistible garnishes (premium cheese, home-cured salt pork) will be the subject of a forthcoming post here on devour. For now this is a simple sunday supper salad

I had some red bell peppers, japanese eggplant and some jarred oysters in the fridge. These will make a nice little fry as a first coarse. I make my own batter by putting a cup of flour in a bowl, a teaspoon of salt, and enough sparkling mineral water to get the consistency I want. Purists would say you need to shuck the freshest oysters you got from a very good source, and I agree. But again, we’ll get all fancy another time!

I fry in a heavy bottomed pot filled with canola oil to the depth of about an inch. Oil expands a lot once its hot so that plenty. I use a thermometer to heat my oil to around 360 degrees. Anything above 400 degrees F is a fire hazzard and I never go that high.

Sorry to say, my batter was crispy and light, oh so light you can barely see it here in the photo. Trust me, its there. We started with our little oyster, pepper and eggplant fry dipped in a little mayo like aioli.

Next came the salad: shallot vinaigrette, and a few slices of pancetta on top. Lots of freshly cracked pepper too.

A nice little serving of tripe came next. The tripe was tender, perfectly done, and delicious. This is a rich dish, but in true bouchon fashion not at all expensive to make. Every the self critique, I enjoyed eating this, for I was in the mood.

But I have to say, I won’t always be up for it like I am other proteins like say chicken or fish. Still I’m glad I made it. And I definately will make it again. Its richness and unapologietic attititude on the palate tells diners to put up or shut up, but still I urge

my readers to try this, at least once. Another thought is that this would be perfect as a first course, perhaps a third the size of this full portion, before moving on to milder fare.


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Terrine de Foie de Porc

You might think all this blog is going to be about is charcuterie and related products, but the truth is, I’ve just now had the time to really get Devour going, and at the same time I’ve got tons of content just waiting to be published. A moist, rich, meaty pork terrine filled with excellent quality pork belly, shoulder, and liver was the subject of a cooking project I did many months ago. The pictures I took that day were carefully filed away until needed, which is today! This was inspired by a trip to Paris in the late summer of 2009. I eagerly visited as many charcuteries (stores that specialize in pate, sausage, pork based products, etc) as I could find. I’ve included some of the pictures I took in this post so you can see what my source of inspiration was…

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Hello fellow foodies! Fall brings shorter days, and cravings for more substantial, hearty fare. As a long time charcuterie enthusiast, I’ve recently begun to experiment with creating my own terrines. What is a terrine you ask? We’ve all heard of pate’s before – those slices

rich, meaty,livery morsels, served in restaurants with tiny pickled vegetables such as cornichons, baby onions, maybe some vinegary carrots and dollop of grainy mustard. Many cookbooks claim that terrine and pate are interchangeable terms and that they mean the exact same

thing. I don’t agree with that: in Parisian charcuteries you will find terrines which are served out of long narrow baking vessels, topped delicious, nurishing fat, but also the exact same meat mixture, cooked in the same vessel but encased in a buttery pastry, a narrow layer

of gelee (jellied cooking juices, flavorings, and some sort of wine or brandy) on top of the terrine but still enveloped by the pastry. So a terrine cooked in a terrine dish without pastry, and a pate is encased within. As for the type of meat? A good rule of thumb is to expect anywhere

up to 40% pork (including belly, fat back, and shoulder) whomever is the star of the pate, be it game, poultry, pork, or rabbit. Next comes liver, always the liver of the ‘star’, but also pork liver might be there too, especially if pork is the star of the pate (pate de campagne, de maison, pate de foie de porc, or pork liver pate).

A recent vacation weekend in Mendocino, California with family and friends prompted me to make a few dishes to go with the extensive wine we planned to both taste and serve. We made a whole salmon (dressed, filleted, then made into homemmade gravlax, filets, and tartare), excllent veal

chops, and this duck terrine, or, Terrine de Canard de Mendocino,  which I’ve named after the beautiful Mendocino coast. Please don’t be put off by the richness and fat content in this dish: remember you eat this in small thin slices at a celebratory time.

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