My other blog covers our travels, so I was instantly drawn to this cookbook that features a collection of recipes from around the world. Dishes are from 36 countries on all the continents except Antarctica.
Several recipes for each country are shared, along with suggestions for things to ‘collect’ from each place. Suggestions range from silver in Mexico to Celadon pottery in Korea.
Dorinda Hafner is the expert on cuisines—I have three of her other cookbooks—and develops authentic recipes. William and Dorothy Hall are expert collectors of things, and have compiled the ‘shopping’ ideas and explanations.
Pages 32–33 feature a well-known recipe from France.
Beef ragout (pronounced beef ragu)
1.25 kg (2.7 pounds) gravy beef, trimmed and cut into 4 cm cubes
30 g (2 tablespoons) plain flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 rashers lean bacon (fat and rind discarded), chopped
1 medium onion studded with cloves (skewer the onion before putting in the cloves)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, each cut into 4 chunks
1 parsnip peeled and quartered
1 leek (cleaned, and outer leave discarded), cut into thick slices
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 fresh, ripe tomatoes blanched, peeled and pulped
1 1/2 cups beef or vegetable stock
Preheat the over to 150°C (300°F).
Put the meat into a mixing bowl, season with a little salt, and sprinkle with the flour to coat. Cover and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or 2.5 litre casserole and cook the bacon for 4–6 minutes on medium to low heat, stirring frequently. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the oil and set aside.
Increase the heat to medium high, and add the coated meat to the hot oil. Cook for 5–7 minutes, stirring continuously, until browned. Add the bacon pieces, the studded onion, the garlic, half the carrots, half the parsnips, and the leek.
Blend together the tomato paste, the pulped tomatoes and the stock and add them to the meat.
Cover and bake slowly in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for a further 30–40 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and the meat is very tender. Remove the studded onion and serve the ragout hot with steamed rice, mashed potato or baked potato.
How it played out
Amazingly I had everything on hand (including gravy beef bought at a 30 per cent off sale). I made this mostly as written. A preparation picture in the cookbook showed about 25 cloves poked into the onion, but I used no more than 8, which was plenty. And I just pushed them in, without using a skewer.
I made this when it was still wintry in Australia, so the tomatoes weren’t that great. Instead of fresh, I used a 400-gram tin of already diced tomatoes. Otherwise I followed the recipe.
I tweaked the ingredient list here to include imperial measures as well as the metric measures used in the original recipe.
Served with a salad, steamed green beans and an amazing creamy, cheesy potato dish (pictured just above on the right) made by our friend, Caroline, who also joined us for dinner.
I added the imperial measurements because this recipe is so doggone delicious, I want everyone in the world to try it. Seriously, if you eat meat and have an oven, you have to try this recipe.
We all loved it! If you make it, let me know what you think of it.
If you follow my travel blog, You’ll know we’ve been to France several times in the last few years.
Here’s a link to a post about some of our most memorable meals in that amazing country—a real land of food.