Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trial Run

Only 48 hours and 7 minutes until I serve a sit-down, plated dinner to at least 60 people. I chose to make beef bourguignon--yeah, I know, I'm crazy--and ordered half a cow cut into two-inch cubes before I learned that the guest of honor is mostly vegetarian. This would have been a disaster, but I also learned that he prefers to eat a very light dinner and requested a cheese platter. Perfect. So tonight I picked up some local Leicester, Manchego and vintage Gouda as well as some savory biscuits--that is what they call crackers here--some marinated olives and a pear. I think it will be delicious!

Yesterday I did a trial run of Saturday's meal when I served lunch to 30 first-term airmen. Our kitchen smelled like a tannery before I was done. I had purchased it from a different vendor who did not cube it for me. What a hassle! Fifteen pounds of meat takes forever to cut, dry, season and sear in batches.

I employed a new technique to prevent the flour from clumping: coat the seared meat with it instead of mixing it with the tomato paste and then whisking into the sauce. Many versions of the recipe call for the former variation; I just hadn't tried it yet myself. What a difference! The sauce thickened properly and with no lumps.

I skipped the cognac--a classic element of beef bourguignon--and deglazed the pans with about two litres of  a medium-bodied red wine.

Once it was all simmering happily on the stove in only two pots, I began to think doubling it this weekend might actually be doable.

I stopped by the butcher this evening to confirm my order. Fifteen kilos of beef is cut and ready for pickup. Tomorrow morning, the adventure begins!


  1. Wow! So exciting! I'm constantly amazed by your culinary genius! ;) You'll do great!

  2. Thanks, Heather! The evening was a success. Too tired to blog about it right now, but it was good!