I am off to France for 2 weeks, flying out this Sunday. I received a call from a dear friend, the father of my Goddaughter Genevieve, to ask if I could come over to help him cater for his guests at his ski chalet in Les Carroz. He has to go in to hospital to have his Prostate removed and will be out of action for a wee while. Refusal wasn't an option. The up side of this is that I get to play in a proper French Kitchen, I get to ski in the afternoons, and I get to see Genevieve who I have not seen since she was a baby. The down side is.....well, there is no down side, unless you count flying and eating airline food.
I also get to take my 8 year old son with me (he has his bag packed, I do not).
As a result, my mind is on all things French, so I thought I'd share a trick or two for creating that classic French flavor.
Estouffade, or brown stock to you and me, is not only easy to make, it will transform any dish where you need a brown sauce to accompany it. Use it by itself, or add it to Espagnole (flour based brown sauce) to make Demi Glace. I'll do a post on both of these later.
|Marrow and neck bones with carrot, onion and celery|
Estouffade is made by roasting bones and root vegetables together, adding tomato puree and water, and reducing the liquid until you get the desired results. Don't start it unless you can guarantee you will be around for the afternoon. You don't have to watch over it, but you will need to check it to make sure you don't boil it dry. Cleaning the pan is a real bugger, take my word for it!!
You might have to ask your butcher for the bones. Neck bones with some meat still on , or rib bones will do. You'll also have to find some marrow bones for that delicious marrow jelly. The ones I use are labelled dog bones and they are usually in the freezer section. Veal and Partridge were used in the old days, but who stocks these! It's hard enough to get beef bones in a US store.
Roughly cut the vegetables (washed but not peeled, including the onions as the skins add color too) and combine with the bones in a roasting pan. Add a little oil to this and pop in to roast at about 350 degrees. I've no idea what gas mark that is, you'll have to find out for yourself.
Turn occasionally so they all get browned and the sugars get caramelized.
|Add Tomato puree|
|Stock before the reduction|
|Stock after the reduction|
Give it a try. It is easy to make, even if it takes time, but as long as you are in the house anyway, you might as well make it. The difference to anything you make afterwards will be worth it.
The next blog will be from Les Carroz
Au revoir mes amies.