Friday, February 7, 2014

FFWD ~ Boeuf à la Ficelle or Beef on a string

My "not so" great photo of my absolutely delicious Boeuf à la Ficelle 

This has been a crazy week, for sure.  Monday, we had 8 inches of snow in N.J. Tuesday was clear and dry, with another snow storm expected on Wednesday. So, not wanting to tempt fate and deal with one more snow and ice storm, we took our window of opportunity and headed south on Tuesday! We stayed overnight in N.C. and met many more escapees at the motel, who took advantage of that same window! The drive was easy and uneventful, arriving at my son’s house Wednesday, while my neighborhood was being battered again with one more snowstorm. So, while my friends up north were digging out, after yet another storm, we had arrived in cool, but sunny Atlanta!

The next day, I thought it would be a treat if I made dinner.  Since "Beef on a String" was our pick this week for French Fridays, it was on the menu!  I did my shopping Thursday morning.  I already knew that this cut of beef was going to be expensive. Bill went shopping with me. While I picked up all the ingredients needed for this dish (minus the turnips - there was no way my grandkids or my husband were going to eat turnips) Bill waited at the butcher counter (what was I thinking)!   He found me in the veggie isle and looked stunned. What’s wrong I asked? Do you know how much this piece of meat is?  I told him, going into the store, it was an expensive cut, so I wasn’t expecting any big reaction. Then he showed me the sticker…a pound and a half…$29.00!  Oops…Hubby sticker shock!  Having him pick up our beef was my mistake. I should have sent him for the veggies, while I took care of the butcher!

The most time consuming part of this meal, was making the broth. It was about 2 pm before I started, and I was worried it wouldn’t be ready for dinner. We planned to eat about 6:30.  I was certainly cutting it close.  The broth was delicious and I’m glad I made it. However, Cher pointed out that you could use a good quality beef broth to shorten the time. Once the broth is made, the rest of the prep goes pretty fast. Cutting up the veggies, and adding them to the strained broth until they are soft. Then, removing the veggies to a bowl while you poach the beef.  Dorie suggests fifteen minutes, and if it is too rare you could ladle some hot broth over it. That is what we did!
While I was getting all the bowls ready to serve, I grabbed one to take a photo…everyone was hungry and impatient! They were not going to wait for photos!  I got one or two "not so" great shots, and then we ate!  Everyone loved this dish! I’m talking about a house full of meat and potato men, including the young ones!  A hit all around…but what’s not to love.  An expensive cut of beef, and a wonderful beef broth filled with veggies! A missed opportunity, was capturing photos of my grandsons dipping slices of bread into the broth, while waiting for the beef to be ready!  Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook, “Around My French Table or here at the Splendid Table.  To see what the other Dorista’s did with this one, check it out here.

Browning the oxtail, onions and marrow bones
All the veggies added to the stock
A wonderful meal….Boeuf à la Ficelle
This is what I left behind in New Jersey
Although beautiful…glad to be in Georgia!


  1. Definitely family that doesn't live with you or they would be trained to wait for photos! Still a smart move to get out of town. This would be the year my daughter graduated and moved back from Arizona.

  2. What a well timed trip....I'm wishing I had some relatives down south :) So glad your beef was such a hit...Bill loved this, too.

  3. LOL how funny!

    You paid double what I paid! Only $29 for 2.5lbs here! Still outrageous, but I can totally understand!! :)

    Looks great though! Glad everyone enjoyed it!

  4. Good thinking to escape early. It's been quite the winter, so a break must be welcome.
    Your beef dinner looks wonderful. How nice to have an appreciative audience. This is the kind of meal to be shared. I made the bouillon from scratch too. Your photo reminded me of how great the house smelled with the browning bones and oxtail. (The dog enjoyed the cooked to death remnants.) Hope you have a warm break from Northern climes! Have a good weekend.

  5. The broth picture is delicious looking! I have this book, I just may make this one. Love the snow pictures - beautiful!

  6. Hi Kathy!!!

    Oh what a story, lol...Kudos to you for heading South. If Marion would have been able to make the trip, we would have been heading South too. This weather is getting "old." I'm so glad you got a chance to escape. Just remember to bring some of that sunshine back up North with you when your return.

    As I commented to Liz, this recipe is quite intriguing...I'm so glad it was a success. At that price and those really tempting pictures, and the situation, I'm sure it will be a memorable meal:) (I do wish you would have a shot of the dunking episode though:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kathy...

  7. I skipped the broth, but loved it made with pre-packaged stock. You have snow, we have unrelenting heat!

  8. You were so clever to take advantage of that window to get out of town! I'm tired of the snow and cold, and long to get away.

  9. The beef looks perfectly prepared and delicious, Kathy.
    We have a mild, too mild, winter this year....not fun either!

  10. The way my teenagers eat now I'm glad I made a cheap meat version… So glad your clan enjoyed the dish. I hope they know what a treat you gave them. PS: I'm still digging out.

  11. This looks so hearty and delicious, no wonder everyone enjoyed it :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. Kathy, such a perfect and comforting beef dish for this time of the year!...looks like you really didn't escape the snow, even in Georgia, but it must not be as cold as NJ~ here, we get lots of rain...and real heavy rain for sure!

  13. How wonderful not only that you could sneak away but that you have such a wonderful destination to enjoy! I know you're loving watching the forecast! Your meal looks delicious, despite the price tag! :)

  14. Glad to hear you made it to Georgia safely - we were hit hard with the snow, but down South, you all had the ice thing going on too!
    In our house, I am usually the cheap one when it comes to meat and Joe is the one pushing for the upgrade :-)
    Glad you enjoyed your meal and enjoy the warmer climes.

  15. Thata girl, this is definitely the year to keep an eye out for snowstorms and icy roads. It must be a relief to have arrived safely in Georgia and not be stranded at home waiting for the storm to pass. And, those young men would have missed Grandma's delicious dinner. Although I know your son is a good chef and I suspect your d-in-law knows her way around the kitchen also, the twins must be very happy when you and Bill appear on their doorstep. Enjoy your family, enjoy Florida. I just looked at your weather - sunny in Florida this week. Tell Bill that a great cow was sacrificed so he woulc eat well. Maytbe that will help with the $29 cost.

  16. Smart move to get out of Jersey! You all have been hammered this year! The bœuf looks amazing, and I would even have it with the turnips! ~ David

  17. Great timing! I would stay down south a while- another storm heading this way for this Thursday too! Getting tired of all the snow! This dish was really terrific- even though it's expensive. Glad everyone liked it! Have a wonderful and safe trip!

  18. Kathy, I am so glad you and Bill made your escape to Florida in time! I would love to get out of Oklahoma but maybe the worst is over for us. Starting Thursday it will be in the 60s for several days:) I haven't made this one yet. Truthfully I was having trouble boiling a tenderloin! Then I decided to save it for next week when a friend will be here. He's a meat and potato kind of man so this should be nice for him. Yours looks delicious and has convinced me I will be glad I made it! I will NOT tell Gary what it costs:) I hope you guys are staying in Florida until spring!

  19. We are having a heat wave over in Malaysia and I would love 2 inches of that snow! 2 not 6!
    Great looking pictures all round!

  20. Hi Kathy!
    Thinking of you in Georgia. Hope all is well...

  21. My son lives in Atlanta and he's been complaining about how cold it is. He should listen to you and be grateful. :) It's summer here in Australia so a cool breeze would be good today.

    I'd settle for this beef though. I know what sticker shock is to husbands and I usually leave mine at home if I know it's going to be over the top. He NEVER goes chocolate shopping with me.

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