Right, I'm ready to report. I have to confess, I'm a Keller school drop out. I made it about 3/4's of the way throught the process and then I just couldn't face it anymore. After a weekend from hell, a pinched nerve in my neck, juggling a conference call at six p.m. and one at 10:00 pm. and getting dinner and homework out of the way in the meantime, I just didn't have the strength. I really didn't.
i'm afraid I'll never achieve the godhood of Keller, but I knew that anyway. Ok, here goes.
One starts with a number of vegetables with a bottle of caberet sauvignon, reduced to the point where it's sort of like a glaze:
when it's reduced, it almost looks like there's nothing left of the wine, until you remove the vegetables.
The wine then gets strained into a bowl and set aside. Throw out the vegetables and herbs from the wine reduction. In the meantime, brown the beef in some oil, and prepare new vegetables and herbs, and cover them with a piece of cheesecloth.
The beef goes on top of the cheesecloth and then gets covered with about 4 cups of beef stock. The whole thing goes in the oven to braise for a couple of hours. I actually braised mine for almost 4 hours because I found the meat wasn't tender enough at two hours and I had to go out.
Once you take the braise out of the oven, remove the meat first, then the cheesecloth, then the vegetables.
Now the straining fun begins. I strained the liquid twice using a fine mesh colander and a layer of cheesecloth. Then into a pot, bring the stock to a boil and skim off any fat. Strain it yet again into a bowl, and then strain once more over the beef that is now in an oven proof pot.
Once it's cool, you can put the lid on and fall into bed. (I think I'm figuring out how I pinched the nerve in my neck)
I left it in the fridge for three days. Today, I was supposed to heat it enough to liquify the stock, remove the meat, strain the liquid again and heat the beef and stock in the oven. In the meantime I was supposed to cook the potatoes and carrots separately with a bunch of herbs then let them cool and toss them into the beef and stock to heat. Somewhere in there, I think I was supposed to do something with pearl onions. Oh, and in my spare time, make the lardons.
I thought about doing all that for oh, maybe 5 seconds. Instead, I scrubbed my little red potatoes and washed my baby carrots. Removed the beef from the stock, threw in the potatoes and carrots and simmered it until said potatoes and carrots were tender. I put the beef back in, and simmered a bit more until the beef heated up. In the meantime I made lardons.
In a lousy attempt at plating, I arrived at this with a wonderfully fresh loaf of crusty bread that had just emerged from the bakery oven as we got there.
It was not Keller's full recipe, but it was damn good. I apologize Mr. Keller, you're a better man than I'll ever be. I tried, I really did. I just could not face another round of straining if my life depended on it.
Next time I'll try bourdain's recipe. It's gotta be easier.