People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure. Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.
03/06/2006 The Rue Meissonier Daube Marinière Clay pot
For 6 servings:
2 1/2 lbs. beef brisket cut high near the neck, or best of all, beef cheeks if you can get them, cut into 1/2" thick slices 1 1/2 lbs. onions, cut in half and sliced thinly 6 T. unsalted butter at room temperature 2 T. flour 5 anchovy filets, bones removed, pounded to a paste in a mortar, or enough to make 1 T. when pounded 8 oz. sliced robust country style French bread (4 slices 3" x 6" x1/2") 1 bottle dry white wine 1 bay leaf, several leafy thyme branches Chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 270 degrees F.
Mash together the softened butter, flour, and anchovies previously pounded or mashed to a paste to make a homogeneous mixture. Spread the slices of bread evenly with the mixture.
In a ceramic, oven-proof pot with lid (such as a daubière) or a heavy dutch oven, make a layer of 1/4 of the sliced onions. Top with a layer of 1/4 of the meat, top with one bread slice (buttered side down). Continue layering, ending with bread and placing the herbs, tied in a bouquet, under the last slice of bread. Gently pour the wine into the pot.
If your casserole is flame-proof, slowly heat it to a simmer on top of the stove. If it is not, simply place the covered casserole directly in the oven and count an extra half hour cooking time. Cook 3 to 3 1/2 hours (not including extra half hour) or until meat is meltingly tender. Strew with the parsley. Serve immediately with home made, wide-cut noodles or simply steamed green beans.
Note: This "mariner's daube" is so-called because it contains anchovies. Do not let the anchovies scare you, even if you don't like anchovies. They are used simply as a seasoning, precluding the need for salt, and I guarantee even the most sensible palate will be unable to detect even the slightest note of fish. The bread in the dish dissolves to form an unctuous sauce. An incredibly delicious and comforting dish! I have adapted this recipe from one given to me by Mme. Fagot, co-owner of my beloved butcher shop in the rue Meissonnier.