Osso Bucco Piemontaise, Steak and stuff

For some reason the past two weeks have wiped me out. Two difficult services, some difficult people, some difficult meetings, and I’m not sure I’m so good with difficult situations.

At least my French is getting better. Someone stuck their name on my letterbox and a note inside saying, “If this is your letterbox, please remove the label. Regards.” For no reason other than that I wanted to, I lashed out on the other side of the note…in French!

My little letterbox outburst gave me a burst of confidence, but not enough to make me feel totally comfortable with phone French. Hand signals and facial gestures make a foreign language so much easier. I guess I can blame bad phone reception for my badly spoken French…but I have noone to blame but myself when I call the chef of the restaurant I am interested in interning at and get the interview time completely wrong. I heard “à huit heures demain soir”. In fact, he said “à dix-huit heures demain soir”. Turning up two hours late to an interview is never the best way to make a good first impression. I know this because if I was interviewing someone and they couldn’t even get the time right for whatever reason I’d be sending them back. Luckily for me the chef was super nice and agreed to giving me the job. Phew. But why do people here use the twenty-four hour clock in conversation? “How about setting the time for the interview at eighteen hundred hours tomorrow?” It just sounds odd. And very confusing in French.

Our last service was the most fun service. Chef let us dream up our own menu, plate our own plates, make our own mistakes, and helped us make it work. I would like to crown myself as the Cromesquis Queen now since I’ve perfected the art of rolling cromesquis and croquettes and all bread crumbed ball things without creating unsightly lumps (understandably so, since I’ve been rolling them three weeks in a row). For the entree, our group got an Asian plate together: Korean dumplings in a clear broth, summery turnip rolls, and thai-style arancini with a very spicy coriander pesto which made Chef burn (and probably a few other unsuspecting customers).

Entree Koreen

Apart from tough services, almost-botched interviews, feeling ill, and getting up-to-date with Mad Men, I’ve learnt how to make a steak either Bien Cuit, A Point, Saignant or Bleu (even though each one of mine miraculously turns out to be Saignant no matter how long I cook it for), and a mean Osso Bucco.

Osso Bucco Piemontaise

Rumsteak Sauce Bercy

Entrecote Beurre, Maitre Hotel, Pommes Alumettes

Osso Bucco Piemontaise, Risotto Safran
Principal ingredients
500g veal shanks
1 carrot, matignon (cut in a size between mirepoix and brunoise)
1 celery branch, matignon
1 bouquet garni
1 onion, ciseler
1 tomato, diced
1 ladle tomato coulis
50g flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 litre brown stock
Piemontaise ingredients
5 tomatoes, monder, quartered, de-seeded
6 mushrooms, de-feeted, julienned
100g ham, julienned
2 shallots, ciseler
1/2 onion, ciseler
2 garlic cloves, ecraser
Saffron risotto ingredients
200g risotto rice
1 shallot, ciseler
1 onion, ciseler
2 garlic cloves, ecraser
1 bouquet garni
Saffron
1L chicken stock

1. Season the shanks. Coat in flour and dust off excess. Sautee in some olive oil to colour both sides well. Reserve warm.
2. Sautee the garniture aromatique. Place the meat back on the garniture, deglace with white wine, add the tomato coulis, add in stock to just cover the meat and the bouquet garni and cook covered for 1.5-2 hours. Check every 10 minutes to top up stock level.
3. To make the piemontaise sauce, bring the tomatoes and other ingredients for the Tomate Fondue, ie shallot, onion, garlic and bouquet garni, to a simmer, covered with parchment paper. If needed, put some chicken stock in to fix the consistency.
4. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Sautee the shallots, garlic and onions for the risotto till translucent. Add in the rice for tostatura. Deglace with white wine. Add in the saffron and just enough stock to cover the rice and cook over a low simmer. Keep topping up with stock till the rice is cooked with a soft bite in the centre.
5. In a pan, heat some butter, sautee the mushrooms and deglace with medeira or white wine and add in a bit of brown stock. Cook covered.
6. When the meat is done, reserve warm. Strain the garniture out of the sauce and bring the sauce back to a simmer to reduce. Check seasoning and consistency. Once reduced add in the mushrooms and ham in the last minute. Add the meat back in to warm up with the sauce. Serve with the tomato fondue and risotto on the side.

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