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devil duck

culinary experiments

We've long been fond of a recipe called "Carbonnade a la Flamande", from Gourmet magazine, February 1992. It's an embodiment of umami, but it takes a lot of work dredging and browning chunks of stew meat, sauteeing onions, and then several hours in the oven.

This month's issue of Cook's Illustrated has an article about the similar dish boeuf bourgignon, and how to do it with less work. So I tried morphing the carbonnade recipe with the Cook's Illustrated article, as follows:

Preheat oven to 450F, with racks in the bottom position and the middle.
Toss 3 lbs. of stew meat in a bowl with 2 tsp. coarse sea salt
Chop 4 slices of bacon and sprinkle into a large roasting pan with 1-2 Tbsp. butter
Slice 2-1/2 lbs. onions and 5 oz. fresh shitake mushrooms [not in the original recipe, but I thought it would add to the umami]; toss them together on a rimmed baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. butter and a bit of EVOO.
Put the baking sheet on the bottom rack, and the roasting pan on the middle rack, for 25 minutes.
(After 20 min, not much was happening, so I turned it up to 475F, and things went faster.)
Remove both pans from the oven; reduce temperature to 325F.
Add 1/4 cup flour to the rendered bacon fat, then the onion mixture.
[ETA: Add 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. balsamic or red-wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp. crumbled thyme, 1 bay leaf.]
Add 12 oz. Sam Adams Light, 1 cup beef broth, and the juice exuded from the beef chunks.
Arrange beef chunks in a single layer on top of the onions in the roasting pan so they're sticking up above the liquid to brown.
Cover and put back in the oven for 3-1/2 hours.

As promised, omitting the dredging and pan-frying saved at least 45 minutes of work. And the results were delicious!


While the oven was preheated, I thought I would try this flourless chocolate cookie recipe. Three cups of powdered sugar sounded like a lot, particularly in an allegedly low-carb household, so I used an equal amount of powdered erythritol. For the experiment, I made a half batch. It turns out the only liquid in the recipe is egg whites, and once they were mixed in, I didn't have cookie dough; I had a bowlful of vaguely damp crumbs. So I added a third egg white.
The results were OK, but somewhat bitter, and without the shiny and papery surface they're supposed to have. I think it needs to be real sugar. Humph.
[ETA: Tried it again, Jan. 2014, with real powdered sugar, and it worked much better.  I made a full batch this time, with 6 egg whites rather than the 4 in the recipe, and 2 cups of sugar rather than the 3 in the recipe.]
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Comments

spambots

I just got a spam comment on this post about the security of rack computers, presumably triggered by the use of the word "rack" in the recipe. :-)
I made a batch of the flourless chocolate cookies today. They turned out really well with the full-sugar version. Thanks for the recommendation.
Not only did you add mushrooms [ick, ptoo] which weren't in the original recipe, but you omitted brown sugar, red wine vinegar, bay leaf and thyme which were in the original recipe. Now that the file copy of the recipe has been amended, you should probably make those corrections here, as well (for the folks playing along at home) :-)
Done.