"Let's get together and cook lots of stuff out of Joy. We can even make the gross stuff!" said my best friend Rachel.
Well, that's paraphrased, but essentially what she said. At this point in my life, it's about the nicest, most helpful thing you can say to me--especially the willingness to eat dishes that I have been putting off or to cook out of under-preforming chapters. Rachel lives in my home state so I try to see her every time I go home (in fact, she lives where we both did our undergraduate work, so it's always fun to go up to her town) and doing a TJOC-cooking bender seems to becoming a tradition (see: NYE 2010 posts). I really appreciate how helpful my friends are in this endeavor!
Rachel and I made a giant list of the dishes we were going to try to make but the first thing on the agenda was to cook the giant chunk of starting-to-freezer-burn beef that had been sitting in Rachel's freezer for who knows how long. I leafed through TJOC but I've really made the vast majority of the stews. "What about Boiled beef (boeuf bouilli) (p. 478)?" I said (well, I sort of said. I certainly didn't say the parathetical section). Rachel agreed that she had all the ingredients to make the recipe.
We stuck an onion with three whole cloves.
We combined the beef with six cups of water in a large pot and brought it to a boil. We then added the onion, a bay leaf, carrots, celery, and salt to the pot:
The whole thing was cooked for four hours. I honestly don't think there are many things easier than this boiled beef recipe.
We removed the meat from the point, strained out the vegetables, and then added butter to the bottom of the pot. We added chopped onion and cooked until the onion browned. A little flour was added, whisked until smooth, and two cups of the broth were poured back to the pot, along with horseradish, salt, and pepper:
The meat was so tender--it was fulling right off the bone:
TJOC insinuates that you should just throw out the veggies but Rachel and I couldn't bring ourselves to do that. They made a perfect side dish to the meat.
And the leftover juice was essentially just great, flavorful beef stock. We ended up using all of the stock throughout the rest of the day cooking (better than canned or bouillon!).
I'd put off making this dish because it seemed so boring. Boiled beef? What is interesting about boiled beef?
THIS DISH WAS DELICIOUS! I can't say it emphatically enough--I think this is truly one of the best recipes I've made in a long time. The beef was flavorful and tender, the horseradish/butter sauce was the perfect compliment, and the vegetables were tasty. On top of all of those pluses, it made a lot of stock, which makes the recipe even better. This is a truly frugal recipe--you can use a cheap cut of meat, it makes a ton of food, and it produces a richly flavored stock.
We fed this dish for lunch to five people (including Rachel and myself) and it was a huge hit. Everybody loved it and came back for seconds. In fact, just typing this post is making me very, very hungry and I want to eat boiled beef again (something I thought I would never say).
- In the UK, canned corned beef is sometimes called "bully beef", which is based on the French term boeuf bouilli (Wikipedia)
- This is a great use for traditional tough cuts of meat, like those from the round, or beef from older animals