Let me start by saying this: I am not a fan of Pot Roast.
Mom will make it occasionally, and while it’s good, for sure, I just don’t dig it.
So why I didn’t realize beforehand that “Carbonnades a la Flamande” was well, Pot Roast, I don’t know. Maybe it was the extra steps that Julia Child always throws in. Maybe it was the fact that beer was involved. Maybe it’s because I’m just plain stupid. Something like that. But nonetheless, I made it. A fancy French Pot Roast. And you know what?
It was damned good.
Carbonnades a la Flamande, according to Julia, is Beef and Onions Braised in Beer. It all starts with a nice lean cut of beef, sliced and browned in a smoking hot skillet before being braised with, well, onions and beer. The recipe was actually pretty straightforward, not too many extra steps, and believe it or not, I was able to put it all together in about 30 minutes. That doesn’t include the 2 1/2 hours of oven time, but who cares about that? You can go play a round of golf while it bakes, like I did. Then, when you get home and pull it out of the oven? Heaven on a plate.
The beef was so tender and juicy, the onions so flavorful. And before you ask…no, it didn’t taste a thing like beer (I used Guinness). It was just plain good. It would be the perfect late fall or dead of winter meal, so warm and delicious and the exact thing you’d want after a day of playing in the snow or watching your local football team whip up on their rivals. I served mine over potatoes, as Julia recommends, but her other suggestion was buttered noodles, which I can see being equally good. Or, as my Aunt Sylvia might say, “it would be good on a piece of shoe leather,” and she’d be right. Mighty fine.
Try it! You’ll like it! You can find the recipe on pages 317 & 318 of Julia’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” or, there are several websites with adapted recipes floating around. Personally, I think you should just buy the book. I have yet to find a recipe I haven’t liked.
Moving on…its still Football Season! Last week was the first home game for the Virginia Tech Hokies, so that meant TAILGATE! Around 10pm on Friday night, a mere 11 hours before we were leaving to go to the game festivities, I set about making a “Hokie Cake.” Just something sweet for us all to eat in addition to the Cilantro Cheeseburger Sliders, Chicken Wings, and Kabobs. 10 o’clock is not the most ideal time for cake making/decorating, but it was good enough. I made a square Devils Food double layer cake, using a malted milk chocolate mousse as filling that I mixed tons of cut up Kit Kats into. The icing was Red Russet Cocoa Buttercream, and I added Maroon food coloring to it to bring it up to Hokie Par. I tinted some fondant orange, left some white, and cut circles out of it to decorate the top and sides quickly. As a topper, I used a little fondant Hokie Bird that I had made a week or so ago on a whim, just for fun. It was nice to have a use for it finally!
There’s another big game this weekend, but I have a wedding cake to deliver right around the time of the tailgating…so no party for me. I hope you’ll be partying though! Have a great weekend!