Thursday, July 7, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016, Challenge No. 14: Waste Not, Want Not

The Challenge:
14. Waste Not, Want Not (July 1 - July 14) Good housekeeping in any historic era included making the most of your food items. Pick a recipe that involves avoiding waste (maybe reusing leftovers, or utilizing things commonly thrown out) and show us how historically-green you can be!

If the fellow foodies will remember, I've set an additional challenge to interpret dishes that are listed as served at the 80th Anniversary Dinner of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Since a restaurant catered dinner would not include left-overs, this challenge was a challenge. Enter Beef a la Jardiniere.

The a la jardiniere designation means in the manner of the gardener, in short, whatever seasonal vegetables come to hand rather than a specific set. There is no hoping for a good crop of a specific vegetable, one can take whatever is at peak. Since the vegetables are presented in small piles, one can use oddly shaped ones in addition to the visually perfect.
As far as a restaurant dish goes, this gives little waste and uses most. Many recipes ...a la jardiniere include odd parts of meat too, like tail and cheek. The menu said beef, so I stuck with beef.

The Recipe:
From: The Modern Cook... by Charles Elme Francatelli, 1846
554. Braized Fillet Of Beef, a la Jardiniere.
Braize a larded fillet of beef according to the foregoing instructions, and when done, glaze and place it on its dish: garnish it round with alternate groups of turned carrots and turnips, to which give the shape of olives, round balls, diamonds, small half-moons, or any other suitable fancy shape—all which must previously be boiled in broth, with a grain of salt, a little sugar, and a small piece of butter; intermixed with these, place also some groups of green-peas, French-beans cut in diamonds, asparagus-heads, and buds of cauliflower. Sauce the fillet of beef round with bright Espagnole sauce, mixed with some of the essence in which the fillet has been braized (previously clarified and reduced for this purpose), glaze the fillet and send to table.

The Date/Year and Region: 

How Did You Make It:
Well, first I made a glaze with which the beef would be braised.

Then making the glazed beef.

Next it's time to prepare the vegetable garnish.

And finally garnish the platter. Presentation is everything! :-)

Time to Complete: 
About an hour, dependent on the size of meat fillets.

Total Cost: 

How Successful Was It: 
It was very well received. I'd choose a different spice mixture for the broth I boiled the turnips and carrots in, but otherwise it was terrific. (...and I really must find that larding tool.)

How Accurate Was It: 
It was as close as I could follow with modern cooking methods.

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