Welcome to the February 2015 edition of The Cure
Pot au Feu
By Frédéric Tandy
Pot au Feu is easily the king of comfort food. It’s hearty, rustic and so warming at this time of the year. The dish is basically a beef stew with vegetables but the addition of the marrow bones makes for over the top richness. Cloves also give Pot au Feu it’s distinct flavour. You’re bound to have bouillon left over, keep it! It's great to sip and you can also use it to make soup or a sauce.
Pot au Feu
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours (approx.)
Serves: 4 (approx.)
What you'll need
- 1.5 kg - Beef (mix of lean and fatty pieces cut not too small)
- 2 - Beef marrow bones
- 4 - Carrots (peeled and coarsely cut)
- 4 - Leeks (washed and coarsely cut)
- 1 - Turnip (peeled and coarsely cut)
- 2 - Small onions (peeled and cut in half)
- 2 - Garlic cloves (peeled and kept whole)
- 2 - Branches of parsley
- 2 - Sprigs of thyme
- 2 - Bay leaves
- 2 - Full cloves
- Coarse sea salt and pepper (to taste)
How to do it
- Place the pieces of meat, the bone marrow and a good pinch of coarse sea salt into a pot (cast iron is best).
- Cover the meat with 5 litres of cold water and bring to a boil.
- After everything has been boiling for a few minutes you’ll see impurities rise to the surface. Make sure to skim them off. This will keep your bouillon very clear.
- Now to bring some colour to your bouillon. Heat a frying pan to medium/high. Sear the onion halves until they got a nice brown colour. The trick is not to move the onions. Once they are coloured they will release themselves from the pan’s surface.
- By now all the impurities should have been removed from the pot. Add all the vegetables, herbs, cloves and pepper.
- Bring the pot back to a boil, reduce to low, cover and let cook for 3 hours.
- The dish is ready when the meat falls apart and the vegetables are tender.
- When the Pot au Feu is ready to serve, put the meat and the vegetable in a big platter and shower them with some of the bouillon.
This dish goes well with condiments like bread and butter, pickles and a strong old fashioned mustard. Enjoy!
Wine pairing to come
By Alanna McIntyre, Bishop's Cellar
The sommelier suggests
Alanna McIntyre is a Sommelier at Bishop's Cellar. Visit their great location and follow them on Twitter.
Though most of us don’t cook on hearths anymore, Pot au Feu, is a throwback to these simpler times. I am a huge fan of one pot meals and in the dead of winter I need all the warmth and comfort I can get. When I cozy up with a heaping bowl of flavourful stew and open a bottle of a bold and full bodied red wine winter becomes a bit more bearable.
The pairing principles are pretty intuitive here; a weighty, full flavoured and meaty dish calls for a wine with similar characteristics; the wine should have pronounced aromas and flavours and enough weight and textural richness to compliment the dish. I want something with lots of ripe fruit, but I don't want my wine to be overly jammy; this dish lends itself to something more savoury and rustic. Because my heart lies in Italy, I gravitate to the "Super Tuscans"; which are essentially bold blends of traditional Italian grapes (for example Sangiovese) with international varietals (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc). I love this style of wine because of the balance of ripe fruit, savoury spice, integrated oak and of course high acidity (Italians know how essential acidity is when crafting wines to enjoy with food - acid is that magical flavour enhancer that brightens up any meal). Treat yourself to Brancaia Tre Rosso or splurge for a special occasion and try one of my favourites, Fattoria di Magliano’s Poggio Bestiale, an intense Bordeaux blend from Southern Tuscany. If you’ve already blown your budget on the beef, you can save on your wine without sacrificing flavour by going for some of the value offerings from South Africa. Lately I’ve been really into Org de Rac’s Le Piquet Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot; it has the bonus of being organic and tastes more expensive than it is, which, as Martha would say, "is a good thing!".
The Cheese course
The story goes Valençay cheese used to have a perfect pyramid shape until Napoléon returned from an unsuccessful expedition in Egypt. He saw his favourite cheese on a plate, drew his sword, and in a fit of rage cut of the top! Since then the cheese has always been made with a flattened top.
A true story? Maybe. What is for certain is how wonderful and flavourful Valençay is and how great it goes on any cheese board. The rind has a rustic, blueish colour which comes from natural moulds but is then darkened further by dusting charcoal powder. It’s a regular offering at the shop and definitely has many fans, including us. We'd even eat the chopped off top.
From: Province of Berry, France
Type: Unpasteurized goat’s milk
Texture: Soft with flavoured rind
Aged: 4 to 5 weeks
Taste: Fresh and citric. Further aging sees a nutty taste.
Accompaniments: Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Touraine or Gamay Noir grapes
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