Thursday, March 27, 2014

Virtues of French Mustard and a new twist on Beef bourguignon

I am mourning my not-to-be-this-year trip to Provence France.  I had this grand dream that I will be eating and drinking my way through a French farm country on my big birthday this year… I could almost taste it, a nursing a whisper of rosé wine in a sunlit glass as I linger at my four hour French lunch in a main square of some medieval village…  Not this year, perhaps never, perhaps someday in a distant future… I am sad, it was a lovely dream.

And while I wait for the lovely dream in years to come, my annual trip to Quebec will just have to do.  Once a year trip to French Canada supermarkets will just have to do to stock up on French culinary inspiration and mustard.  If I could buy this stuff by the gallon, I would, there is probably not a better condiment in the world than the real French Mustard.  It goes far beyond your deli meat or hot dog chaser; it is the ultimate flavor enhancer to just about everything.

If you don’t live anywhere near where it sold ( and I have not the real deal anywhere but in Canada and France), you can certainly order this mustard on-line.

Lovely, pungent and salty, I find a hundred and one way to use it… from making a lovely mustard tart ( which is essentially a quiche flavored with lots and lots of French Mustard, to using it in vinaigrette, pork belly braises and as a flavoring for homemade sausage.

Here are a few examples, but feel free to  experiment… any savory dish that you would add salt to could possibly benefit from a little mustard twist… Just a word of caution, French mustard is extremely salty, so use salt very sparingly or better season after you taste. 

When cooking pork chops add French Mustard to the marinade, than sauté apples and onions dressed with mustard in a little butter and use as chutney for the chops.

Make endless variety of vinaigrette by combining equal amounts of French Mustard, fruit preserves ( raspberry and orange are my favorites) with red wine vinegar and olive oil, whisk well and dress any salad.

Crust the duck breasts in honey and mustard before searing them.

When making egg or chicken salad, mix in some French Mustard with the mayo.

Next time you make a frittata add just a bit to the eggs before baking them

And my personal favorite… a twist on Beef bourguignon.  Stir 2 or 3 or 4 heaping spoonful’s in to the brazing liquid and watch an old classic become just a bit tastier…..

I am not going to give a full recipe for Beef bourguignon here, if you want a good one just stick to good old Julia Child recipe, its perfect, there is nothing to change except stir a few tablespoons of French Mustard into the mix… here is the link to the classic… and here are fun how to pictures….

Sear some bacon or panchetta 

  dry the meat with paper towels, and don't overcrowd the pan otherwise you will not get a nice sear color

Peel some pearl onions ( I swear, when I go to hell, this is exactly what I will be doing for eternity) 

Just like every Jewish recipe begins with 100 walnuts, every French recipe begins with Meripox

Blister the mushrooms

Make a bouquet garni with parsley,thyme and rosemary

Take in the aroma

if I close my eyes and sip rose wine I can be fooled, New Jersey de Provence.... is a new place to be....

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