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Thursday, 28 June 2012

BEEF on the HOOF and FRENCH POT ROAST


Cattle were a vital part of Dad’s farm.   There were always cows for milking and a bull –  the “big animal” as Mom called him.   (That bit of Victorian prudery was picked up, I suppose from the Englishwomen Mom worked for as a little “hired girl”.)

Every few years so as to avoid inbreeding the stock, there would be a new bull, but he was always called Jim.   

One Jim was a sturdy young Hereford, but I heard one of my brothers telling Mom that Young Jim just wasn’t doing his job.


                                                             my brother, George (195?)

“”What’s the matter with him?” Mom asked.
George shrugged.  “We made a mistake keeping him in the pasture with Old Jim.   When he used to try to mount the cows, Old Jim always drove him off.  Now it’s his turn but, when the cows come into heat, he won’t do it.  Scared maybe.”
“What are you going to do?”
“The vet said to try digging a trench, put the cow at the bottom, and lead Jim onto her.  If that doesn’t work, it’ll be good-bye Jim.”

 Beef hardly ever appeared on the farm table.  A cattle truck would roll into the yard and bawling steers were driven up its ramp.  But before that, there would be an exciting round-up in which everyone took part; waving arms and shouting to discourage steers from charging past us instead of into the corral. 

It’s not that we didn’t like beef though, and, over the years, my chef-lovik and I have prepared it in many different ways.  Savella’s recipe for Hetmanska Roulada is an elegant choice for company: 


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FOR EVERY DAY:  

Julia Child’s   BRAISED BEEF POT ROAST from Mastering the Art of French Cooking  


I marinated the beef for 6 hours,

 
browned it,

 
reduced the marinade by half & added only 1 cup of beef stock (instead of the 4-6 cups Julia suggested)
I also omitted the veal knuckles and calf’s feet.

Three hours in the oven was definitely long enough.
(Julia had suggested  3 ½ to 4 hours for a smaller roast)

 
The braising juices made a delicious sauce for the beef.   Serve with horseradish.  

Best of all, the leftover  POT ROAST is perfect for making sandwiches!