Boeuf Printanier

An elegant and substantial French pot roast, Boeuf Printanier (berf pran-tan-ee-yay) makes a perfect dinner party main dish. Serve it with mashed or boiled potatoes and a white Burgundy wine.

3 oz. butter

3 lb. top rump of beef in one piece

3 medium-sized onions, peeled and sliced

3 medium-sized carrots, scraped and cut into rounds

1 teaspoon dried thyme bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 bottle (26 fl. oz.) dry white wine

3 small lettuces, stripped of the outer leaves and halved

10 oz. streaky bacon, cut in small pieces

15 small white onions, peeled and left whole

8 medium-sized carrots, scraped and quartered

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

8 fl. oz. chicken stock

2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

In a large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. Add the beef and brown it, turning it to make sure that it cooks evenly on all sides.

Add the sliced onions, carrots, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Pour in the wine. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil.

Lower the heat to very low and simmer the beef, covered, for 3 hours. Turn the beef at least once during the cooking period and baste it with the cooking liquid occasionally to keep it moist.

When the meat has cooked for 1 ½ hours, preheat the oven to warm 325 °F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C).

Blanch the lettuces by plunging them into a large saucepan of boiling water and cooking over moderate heat for 5 minutes.

Drain the lettuces. Using a sharp knife, cut out the lettuce cores and set the halves aside.

In a frying-pan over moderate heat brown the bacon pieces until they are cooked but not crisp. Add the onions, carrots, 1 teaspoon thyme and 1 bay leaf, stirring the mixture to mix it well.

Cook the vegetables and seasonings together for 5 minutes, stirring oc-casionally to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots and onions to a large, shallow, flameproof casserole. Spread the vege-tables out in a layer on the bottom. Put the halved lettuces on top of the vege-table mixture. Pour in the chicken stock and add the salt and pepper.

Place the casserole over moderately high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the vegetables for 1{ hours.

Remove the meat and vegetables from the saucepan and place them on a heated serving dish with the vegetables surrounding the meat. Keep them warm.

Increase the heat under the pan to high and boil the cooking liquid very rapidly for 4 minutes, or until it reduces substantially. With a wooden spoon scrape in any brown bits that may have stuck to the bottom or sides of the pan. Pour the reduced cooking liquid over the meat in the serving dish.

When the lettuce mixture is cooked, use a pair of tongs to remove the lettuce halves. Place them on another serving dish.

Drain the rest of the vegetables through a sieve, discarding the cooking liquid, and spoon them over the lettuces.

Serve immediately.

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