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kenw

Best (French) beef cut for Christmas roast?

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Dear all

We fancy beef for Christmas dinner here in Caen. Originally planned boeuf en croute, but now think I will go for something that takes less prep time – roast with red wine reduction and roast veg etc. 

One of the local butchers is selling filet at €46 / kilo. Is there an equally tasty, cheaper option?  There are just the two of us, so only need 600g or thereabouts.

For a bourguignon I use jarret (shin), which the butcher will sell in one piece without bone. Half the price of filet, but 3+ hours in the oven.

Suggestions? (Anyone who mentions turkey will go on the target list for the next UFO visit!)

TIA & joyeux noël.

Ken

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Hi Ken,

We will be going for a rib of beef on the 25th, much cheaper than fillet and I think with more taste. So ask your butcher or supermarket for a côtes de boeuf, buy it today to give it time to age just a wee bit more, then 45-60 minutes on a high heat in the oven, cover in foil and rest for a further 20 minutes. By which time the roast potatoes should be nice and crisp, serve with your favourite veg, yorkshire pudding and sauce reduction  (both homemade), plenty of horseradish, close your eyes and go to heaven...9_9

Chris

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Thanks much for that, Chris

I looked at the côte de boeuf, but was wary that it might want a long, long cooking. I had a bad experience with a rib a couple of years ago that was far too rare for us after what seemed like all day in the oven. But I think that was only at 190, so this time I will start it at 220 and then after, say, 40min, turn it down if need be. 

Do you make your own horseradish sauce? Such a great complement to beef. Haven't seen it in our big Biocoop or the other supermarkets with big veg depts – nor in either of the two veg shops in the city centre. But maybe it has been hiding!

Ken 

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4 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

Hi Ken,

We will be going for a rib of beef on the 25th, much cheaper than fillet and I think with more taste. So ask your butcher or supermarket for a côtes de boeuf, buy it today to give it time to age just a wee bit more, then 45-60 minutes on a high heat in the oven, cover in foil and rest for a further 20 minutes. By which time the roast potatoes should be nice and crisp, serve with your favourite veg, yorkshire pudding and sauce reduction  (both homemade), plenty of horseradish, close your eyes and go to heaven...9_9

Chris

You forgot to mention  a good wine pairing - how about this one from a certain Wine warehouse in Roscoff

Château Lamothe Cissac - Vieilles Vignes - Haut-Médoc - 2014 

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A nice long cut of sirloin (entrocte in French) roast in the oven is a good bet we’ve had that on holiday in France before, seared on the hob first then roasted with honey mustard smeared on it .

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1 hour ago, neilcvx said:

A nice long cut of sirloin (entrocte in French) roast in the oven is a good bet we’ve had that on holiday in France before, seared on the hob first then roasted with honey mustard smeared on it .

Sorry to contradict you but sirloin is "Faux Filet"  in French which by the way is a very good cut for roasting best enjoyed rare or medium rare.  

Entrecôte is Rib eye steak. 

I grew up in a foodie family who runs butcher shops and 2 Michelin starred restaurants... A classic French cut would be a "carré de bœuf" which is made of more than 2 ribs of beef. For serious meat lovers. 

For those who like tender meat but not too beefy in taste I would recommend "Tranche grasse" otherwise known as "Rond de Paris". Very tender, tastier as Fillet but much cheaper. 

Edited by crechbleiz
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Just to add to what Crechbleiz has said, I would strongly recommend buying your meat from a good (old fashioned) butcher.

We gave up using the supermarkets years ago because the steak for example was such poor quality.  Somebody told me that it was because it was from dairy cows that had reached the end of their milking life, rather than proper steer meat - don’t know whether that’s true, but it sounds plausible!  You might pay up to 20% more, but the difference will be noticeable.

To be fair, the Intermarche’s around here are quite good & have proper butchery counters.

 

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We found the E Leclerc beef to be good quality 

The guy on the left is very knowledgable and patient with my limited French.

Edited by neilcvx

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Our local Super U in Saint-Pol-de Léon has an excellent fresh meat counter and they'll prepare anything you want and tend to know what they're talking about. I prefer to support small businesses wherever possible, but there are good and bad butchers just as there are good and bad supermarkets.

And I have to say kgst the wine you mention is an excellent choice with red meat, I must go looking for it!

Chris

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1 hour ago, Gardian said:

Just to add to what Crechbleiz has said, I would strongly recommend buying your meat from a good (old fashioned) butcher.

We gave up using the supermarkets years ago because the steak for example was such poor quality.  Somebody told me that it was because it was from dairy cows that had reached the end of their milking life, rather than proper steer meat - don’t know whether that’s true, but it sounds plausible!  You might pay up to 20% more, but the difference will be noticeable.

To be fair, the Intermarche’s around here are quite good & have proper butchery counters.

 

I would have thought the reason real butchers' meat is better quality all round is down to ageing. You can tell how well hung beef is from its colour - supermarket beef always looks too bright red. We always use butchers here in the UK, and whenever we can in France.

To go with it, how about a bottle of Saint Joseph? Topical for Christmas too.

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1 hour ago, crechbleiz said:

I like a good Madiran with my côte de bœuf. One minor problem, it stains the lips... 

You should try that Amarone it stains your teeth,lips and tongue thankfully as I only have Amarone once a year not too bad for the liver (hopefully).

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Dear all

Many thanks – both for the advice on boeuf and related topics. As always, here, informative and entertaining.

If I decide to go the steak route, it will be the entrecôte,  otherwise either the côte or the faux filet to sear and roast.

So far as the red wine reduction is concerned, I'm afraid I will cheat – a supermarket red (which may well be a Côtes du Rhône rather than Bourgogne) and veg or chicken stock, unless the butcher has anything on the bone this afternoon that would make a genuine beef stock. (IMHO beef stock cubes are handy for a pasta sauce or cottage pie – but not for serious cooking).

My flavour booster for the cauli purée is to sear it with some diced red pepper before simmering in veg stock rather than plain water; I won't worry if a few little fragments of the pepper end up in the blender with the cauli – by the time they have been blitzed and then pushed through the mouli I can guarantee they won't be lumpy! Still the great cauli taste, but a little extra piquancy.

Thanks again, folks

Have a peaceful time this Christmas.

 

Ken

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Ken ..........

I really don’t think you’re cheating for your red wine reduction in the way that you’ve described - sounds pretty good to most of us, I’m sure!

And TerryDorset’s post - yes, you’re absolutely right about the ageing.  But with a lot of supermarket beef, no ageing whatsoever has occurred.  Exceptions of course - you can only speak as you find locally.

Can’t leave this without a big ‘plug’ for our stuff down here - Cotes du Rhône.  Well ........ the general area.  Our favourite is from a local village (which isn’t an Appellation one) but whose red sells for around €4.50.  That’s my sort of price.  For a special occasion, there’s some excellent (predominantly) Syrah which is technically Uzege and a few kms outside the CdR border - goes for about €8.

All that Vacqueras & Gigondas, to say nothing of Chateauneuf du Pape, is IMO terribly overpriced.

Bonnes Fetes everybody.

 

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28 minutes ago, Gardian said:

Ken ..........

I really don’t think you’re cheating for your red wine reduction in the way that you’ve described - sounds pretty good to most of us, I’m sure!

And TerryDorset’s post - yes, you’re absolutely right about the ageing.  But with a lot of supermarket beef, no ageing whatsoever has occurred.  Exceptions of course - you can only speak as you find locally.

Can’t leave this without a big ‘plug’ for our stuff down here - Cotes du Rhône.  Well ........ the general area.  Our favourite is from a local village (which isn’t an Appellation one) but whose red sells for around €4.50.  That’s my sort of price.  For a special occasion, there’s some excellent (predominantly) Syrah which is technically Uzege and a few kms outside the CdR border - goes for about €8.

All that Vacqueras & Gigondas, to say nothing of Chateauneuf du Pape, is IMO terribly overpriced.

Bonnes Fetes everybody.

 

Agreed Gardian,

I’ll send you a PM in the morning with a few “insider” tips though.....;)

Chris

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Dear all

Bought a lovely faux filet from the butcher in Monoprix (it's a concession operated by a local firm who have a good reputation) and he also had some rib bones, so I can do a real beef stock. The côte looked too fatty for me, but this has just the right amount to suggest that it will roast well..

The beef is wrapped in one of those sealed envelope things, so I will probably keep it in that until Sunday morning, then stand in a big lidded pot until early Monday (all in the refrigerator) then give it 4-5 hours to come up to room temp.

Gardian - glad you don't think using a supermarket plonk is cheating for the red wine reduction. We've actually found a drinkable AC Bordeaux in a box, which went down well with some local Tomme and wholegrain bread from the farmers' market last night.

An easy accompaniment to the final of Masterchef Pro - which featured three incredible young chefs whose food looked and sounded sensational. (Incidentally the finalists spent a day at Mirazur in Menton, a clifftop restaurant yards from the Italian border. We went there for dinner a few years back and can tell you it is wonderful - not at all intimidating, despite the Michelin stars.)

Incidentally does anyone know when / where in France to buy horseradish - raifort – either the raw veg or readymade sauce?

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We have found horseradish sauce (Coleman's I think) in the English section of a larger supermarket = can't remember exactly which, probably LeClerc or U. I remember the French translation of horseradish was Raifort.

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