The picture in front of you is my textbook definition of comfort food: fork tender eye round, white rice, and mushy carrots. When I get cravings for Mama food, this is what I want. This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Boeuf à la Mode, was one mustard rub away from leaving me misty eyed.
My mother, for as long as I can remember, prepares two different types of braised eye round roast. The first is the traditional Puerto Rican carne mechada. For carne mechada, the butcher at the meat counter “drills” a hole through the roast. This cavity is filled with smoked ham, chorizo and olives. The cooking liquid for this particular braise has sofrito and tomato sauce, which are the base for most stews in the island. The second version and my favorite is what my family calls carne a la Catalana (Catalan style beef). Like the recipe in Around My French Table, the braising liquid includes fruity red wine and tomato paste. The roast is also slathered with regular prepared mustard, which gives an extra oomph. Since Mama was a stay-at-home mom for practically all of my childhood, she would make these dishes regularly. I was so spoiled and didn’t even know it! My mother would also slice her roast with the electric knife, and often went between daintier or heartier beef medallions. I did my best with the serrated knife.
I took a few liberties from Dorie’s boeuf à la mode recipe:
- Cooking the vegetables directly in the Dutch oven. I seared the roast in there too, but since I had blackened, not browned bits, I washed it before cooking the vegetables
- Adding the wine/broth, anchovies and tomato paste directly into the Dutch oven without preheating them
- Adding potatoes and more carrots. I’m with the original Dorista on this one. The mushy carrots are mandatory!
I’ll be making this again. And again and again. It’s just a matter of deciding whether to add the mustard to the overnight marinading step or to rub it in before searing. I’ll leave that one to the pro. Má?!
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group where every week we cook and blog about a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. For everyone’s take and stories about Boeuf à la Mode, click here. Check out my friend Norma’s version of the more traditional carne mechada too.