French Fridays with Dorie: Boeuf à la Mode

Boeuf a la Mode

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!

Boeuf a la Mode - Eye Round Post Roast

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.

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

20 Responses to “French Fridays with Dorie: Boeuf à la Mode”

  1. October 11, 2013 at 7:08 am #

    I want to eat your Mama’s cooking!!! Your pot roast looks picture perfect…and I love how you shortened the process, too 🙂

  2. October 11, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    There were potatoes in this? Frankly any recipe that is 2 pages for a “simple” dish loses me about halfway though. I like the liberties you took – I thought there were a few unnecessary steps in here too! Next time, mash the mushy carrots and onions – makes an amazing mash – so I had a duo of mashes to serve with the beef! Your plates look lovely!

    • October 11, 2013 at 9:15 am #

      There were no potatoes in the recipe. I added them after turning the beef over after the first hour in the oven. Mama’s roasts always had potatoes in them and I still had some in the refrigerator from the Niçoise salad.

      The mashed carrots and onions sound like a great idea! I would need to make that by the vat.

  3. October 11, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    What a fun memory about the way your mom makes roast! Love it! I love the mushy carrots too!

  4. October 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Okay – I am going to have to come back and look up everyone’s shortcuts when I finally make this!

  5. October 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    I never heard of the way your mom prepared roast beef… they sound even better than this recipe. Did she write down any of her recipes? I hope you have some she sounds like a wonderful cook. Love memories with food.

  6. October 11, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Very informative post on pot roast and its variations from your childhood. You did great with the serrated knife!

  7. Mary Hirsch
    October 12, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    So, for the carne mechada, does the butcher stuff the roast with the smoked ham, chorizo and olives before you purchase it or does he just make the holes and the home cook stuffs it? I suspect the first. The mustard rub for the a la Catalana I have heard of and always think is delicious but your mom’s first speciality is a new one for me. I suspect you have many of those to share with us and, as a matter of fact, have already done that. Although I like my meat rare, with a pot roast it just doesn’t happen. Tender is the word. Yours looks delicious, Adriana, and I know you will put “your own style” to your next attempt.

    • October 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      Depending on the store, you can buy it already filled or with just the hole. My mother would fill it our herself. The ham used is larger smoked shoulder chunks. I included a link to my friend Norma’s version, and she cuts the hole herself with the help of a knife sharpener. Necessity is the mother of invention, I guess. 🙂

      Carne mechada is also very popular in Cuban cuisine, where it is called ‘boliche’. The Venezuelan version shreds the eye round roast.

  8. October 12, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Both of your mama’s versions sound amazing! My mama never made pot roast. Now I want to try this with the slather of mustard. And vegetables in the pot. Geez, I’m getting hungry.

  9. October 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    The stuffed roast sounds so interesting as does the mustard rub. We enjoyed this recipe
    and I will certainly be using it again. Your photo looks so appetizing, makes you want to
    dig in.

  10. October 13, 2013 at 3:08 am #

    Glad this brought back good memories to you. I loved the mushy carrots – they were the best part!

  11. October 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Your roast looks really delicious! I bet a little mustard rub would be a nice touch. I might even try that next time. I’ve made this recipe quite a few times and have never been disappointed.

  12. October 14, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Must have Carne Mechada STAT. Seriously, my mouth started to water as I read the description. You are killing me. And I have to tease Nana about why I didn’t get more pot roast (let alone carne mechada) while growing up. She was really slacking when she prepared all those Italian dishes instead 🙂 Awesome job on this pot roast and glad it brought back the wonderful memories- that is the best part of an already good recipe. PS- next time I will be adding veggies to my recipe. Thought about it but was so late I bailed and followed the recipe to a T (plus worried about drunken vino marinated potatoes….like I would somehow NOT like those ???)

  13. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me!
    October 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    First, thanks for the shout out. That was my Mom’s favorite dish. I have tried Dorie’s dish a few times and its always been a winner.

  14. October 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Oh my goodness Adriana -I missed a good recipe for French Fridays!!!
    I will get around to trying this one however…this is pure mom’s comfort food and how it makes the entire house smell like heaven 😉

  15. October 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    I agree, pure comfort food!

  16. October 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    I have a roast recipe that is Dijon Cognac and the mustard in there (a lot of it) is a MUST! But this one is special in a different way, I would keep both those recipes separate but a nice mustard cream sauce could be a really good garnish for this dish! 🙂

    Love it!

  17. October 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Love how this looks – I think the other roast you mentioned sounds so delicious. I hope you post about the carne mechada.

  18. November 15, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    Your beef looks fabulous. After hearing about carne mechada, I want to try that too!

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