Sukiyaki, Japanese big dinner

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As Christmas is approaching, I wish you a nice holiday season. So let’s have a sukiyaki party !
It’s a party meal designed to showcase delicious premium Japanese beef and season produce. A hot pot to cook and share on the table.

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The ingredients are cut, cleaned, prepared and presented on big trays on the table.
First tray : fungi, konnyaku noodles and grilled tofu.
There were 4 types of mushrooms : shimeji, enoki, dry and soaked maitake and fresh kikurage.

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Second tray : negi leeks, onions, soaked yakifu (gluten croutons) and kikuna (chrysanthemum greens).

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Third tray : the beef. Wagyu, Japanese traditionally raised cows. Beside you can see cubes of beef fat.

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Each eater is given a bowl with a good fresh egg. Whisk your egg with the chopsticks and get ready to dip you ingredients in this sauce.

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First step : greasing the pot with fat and roasting the first slices. They can be enjoyed this way as the beef is delicious, just on its own.

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That’s the technique : melt some fat, add some meat, pour a little sugar, then a little shoyu (sauce sauce), a little sake. Mix and cook.

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All the other ingredients are added in small batches…

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For dessert… well, there are no desserts for Japanese meal. So that’s a French tarte Tatin, made with Japanese apples.

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Dégustation du boeuf bourguignon

Boeuf bourguignon.

Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

There are 2 other posts for the challenge :
Making the boeuf bourguignon shown here.
Alouette sans tête, variation.

Bring the stew. (Making of here)

Prepare simple garnitures with season ingredients : a classic boiled potato, green beans, Spring fava beans, a light puree of carrot and potato.

Serve with a few buttered croutons. And wine. The same as for cooking, or ideally something better.

Mizuna leaves for a closing meal salad. If you eat your greens, you’re saved !

You want to taste ? Well cook yours. The best I can do now :

Gratinée au bouillon de canard

Soupe gratinée. A simple French dinner : broth and bread. Now soup means the broth, in Middle-Age, the soup was the bread. You’ve seen one before on this blog :

red onion soup

But this time, I had some bouillon de canard (duck broth) ready.

Onion, slightly caramelised, into duck broth.

Old bread.

Toasted.

With cheese and black pepper. Toasted again. Ready to float.

Soupe à l’oignon rouge

I drifted a little from the Daring Cook challenge, about consommé and clarifications. Well I made an onion soup.
I don’t know why many foreigner think a French onion soup is haute cuisine, because it is so much the contrary in French culture.

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

So, it’s a very casual type of soup. An old tradition is to serve “soupe à l’oignon” in the morning, very early… The baked gratinee is a street stall food. That was prepared as breakfast for staff, at the food market in Lyon. Wiki, gives 2 other old traditions, all very homely. Maybe more about that later.

Maybe it’s getting out of fashion, but a drink-soup is/was often served at the end of a big party, after dancing and drinking all night, just before the guests leave. It’s not likely you can serve everybody at a table. Often it’s in mugs, or even paper cups.

That’s how I prepared it when I was a student. That takes 10 minutes to cut and stir-fry onions in a little oil (or oil + butter) till they start making caramel. Wet with wine and a little brandy, add stock or water, let simmer 15 minutes, check spices, decorate with herbs if you have some. Here : red onion red wine, Suntory XO brandy, “yeast stock” and sage.

For the stock, water, laurel, salt and pepper, it is perfect for a Gratinee (baked soup) with plenty of cheese.
For the simple soup, if I have some hen or pot-au-feu stock leftovers, I use them. A cube stock or “viandox” are just well. I don’t like the industrial products much because they are loaded with glutamate sodium, preservatives, coloring.
The viandox is some industrial yeast instant soup stock. It’s easy to make one’s one mix with what you have in the kitchen :
Yeast stock :
1 liter of water
1 tbs beer yeast (the one from the pharmacy, not for bread)
2 leaves of laurel
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 ts sugar/honey (I skip as onions are sweet enough)
1 pinch of curry mix spices powder
pepper and salt

To make it a meal : croutons (dry old bread) rubbed with garlic, grated cheese, pour the hot onion soup on top.

Soupe du jour : Cerfeuil (chervil)

A milky bowl of chervil flavor. Another familial success.

Somen noodles (wheat vermicelly), cheese.

Onion and cut chervil infused milk (kept overnight, reheated).

Voila. Miam… er no.

Japanese chervil (grown locally but exotic in concept) is not as fragrant as the European version. It’s cute. They use it mostly to decorate the desserts. So I needed to add much more.

A crouton. Not necessary, but yummy.