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Menu Plan for Winter I: Week 9, Saturday

Rainbow Vegetables 'en Cocotte'
Braised Beef Provençal
Creamy Polenta

Cooking time:  6 hours with break for menu       Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

     This is the 'longest-cooking' of the winter braises that we will be doing.  Start it early in the day or the night before.  This would also work in a crock pot (I think).

Rainbow Vegetables 'en Cocotte'

Total time: 45 minutes
    Colorful vegetables, finely chopped, lightly sautéed, then baked with eggs and cheese... An easy first course. Serve directly from the ramekins.

Rainbow Vegetables 'en Cocotte' Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Braised Beef Provençal

Total time: 5 hours 45 minutes   broken into 3 stages:
 
   Night before: 10 minutes;  Afternoon of: 25 minutes; Baking time: 5 hours plus 10 minutes to finish
    This is one of those long-cooking dishes that I love doing during the winter. It has a bit of bacon and sautéed carrots added, to give it it's own unique flavors.  The leftovers will be tossed with pasta for another dinner.

Braised Beef Provençal Ingredients:

provencal beef pot  Instructions:

Note:  If your baking dish is not appropriate for the cook top put the red wine sauce into a small saucepan before thickening.

Creamy Polenta

Total time: 15 minutes      if using quick-cooking polenta 
    Check the package directions for quantity proportion - you may have to add more (or less) liquid to get a soft consistency.  It can be adjusted at the end, before serving.   This should be like mashed potatoes.

Creamy Polenta Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Cooking Schedule: 6 hours for menu
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
heavy pot or Dutch oven with lid, wax or parchment
paper, large skillet, small saucepan, medium skillet,
2 ramekins, baking dish, medium bowl, whisk,
deep bowl or pan for marinating

The night before or earlier in the day:
Cut beef into cubes
Peel onion, garlic, cut onion, stud with cloves
Put beef, onion, garlic, bouquet garni in deep bowl
Add vinegar, 2 cups red wine, more if needed
Cover, refrigerate
The afternoon (5 1/2 hours before dinner)
Turn oven on 350F (175C)
Peel, slice carrots, sauté carrots
Remove beef from fridge, drain, reserve marinade
Turn carrots
Cut bacon
Remove carrots; sauté bacon
Remove bacon; brown beef
Put bacon in heavy pot
Add beef, carrots, reserved marinade, onion, garlic,
         herbs, stock, more wine if needed

Cover with paper, lid, bake 
    2 hour break
Check the beef if you're around, add wine if needed
     2 1/2 hour break
45 minutes before dinner: Back to work....
Check the beef
Chop carrot, cabbage, leek, sauté
Butter ramekins
Whisk eggs, add mustard, milk, cheese, whisk
Put vegetables in ramekins
Pour egg over vegetables
Put ramekins in baking dish, add hot water, bake
     15 minute break
Dissolve cornstarch in water for sauce
Heat stock, herbs for polenta
Stir polenta into stock, cook
Add milk, cheese, heat through
Cover polenta, set aside
Remove ramekins, serve
  Done? Remove beef, carrots, et all
Bring sauce to boil
Stir in cornstarch, thicken to taste
Spoon some sauce over beef, carrots
Give polenta a stir, thin if needed, Serve all