For Sunday #5 I made
LE BOEUF A LA BOURGUIGNONNE – Beef Curry. I’m not cheating! We made this in school on one of our very few non-French nights and I followed the recipe precisely…well sort of, there was a little bit of confusion from my lack of note taking..
I must say this dish was a HIT in class. We always enjoyed breaking away from French cuisine when given the chance. This was one of my favorites of all time. I have been dying to make it again at home for Brad because I knew he would love it too. Dying might be a slight overreaction since it has now been almost a year since that class, but eventually I got around to it :).
Last Sunday, I decided that I wanted something other than what was on the calendar so I paged through my recipe notebook and immediately decided on Beef Curry. Excitingly, I walked around the grocery store and gathered my ingredients including the fancy stuff like $20 saffron and garam masala. The saffron was camera shy…
(Side Note: In school I had to do a paper on Saffron so I now appreciate why it is so expensive – it’s quite an interesting story you should look it up sometime)
(Side Side Note: I cut this meat in 1/2 – the other 1/2 will be used for the LE BOEUF A LA BOURGUIGNONNE in the near future)
Indian food has a different technique than traditional French cuisine. The spices and flavors are added at the beginning so that the flavors build on one other creating an amazing multi-dimensional burst of flavor when you eat it. Traditional French cuisine for the most part starts with searing meat then adding additional ingredients to be incorporated slowly creating softer flavors.
For this beef curry I sweated onions (not to be confused for sautéing) making sure that there was no color added to the onions as they cooked until they were soft.
Then I added all of the spices – garlic, ginger, curry powder, cumin and garam masala. Over low heat I toasted the spices and allowed all of the flavors infuse together. Let me tell you – it was a sensory overload – it had a hint of sweet, some heat and the overall an abundance warmth. I’m clearly having a difficult time describing my experience so just take my word for it, it was lovely.
I got that in the oven to stew for 45 minutes – different from the braising technique used last time for the Coq Au Vin because the meat is already in bite-size chunks.
Then I started the fancy basmati rice. Fancy because I added the saffron along with cloves to it while it cooked. Sadly the rice did not come out as planned but it was still edible – this is where the note taking was a little less than helpful. I wrote down both 1 3/4 C water and 1 1/4 C water for the rice so I think I used too much…it’s still a mystery because even with 1 3/4 C water it was still a little chewy so I’ll have to re-try it sometime. As I try to remember back, I think Chef J told us the ratio would be 1C rice: 1 3/4C liquid, but he usually sticks to 1 1/4C liquid…see the confusion?
Then in my spare time I made flat bread from scratch (other school recipe). At first I wasn’t going to make it because I was feeling lazy BUT I’m so glad I did – it’s a great vehicle to eat more beef curry. I grilled up some flatbread on my stove top grill pan setting off the fire alarm more than once – worth it.
After making a total mess in the kitchen, panicking over the rice, and smoking us out of the apartment I am happy to say that the meal was a great success! We both loved it.