Cook the Books April! The Mile End Cookbook’s Beef on Weck!

23 Apr

So wow, April is almost over and I haven’t told you guys shit about what I’ve been cooking from this month’s book, The Mile End Cookbook. It’s been kind of a strange month, here at the homestead. First, as I already told you guys, Double S and I started the month on an Idaho-Utah road trip. It was so fun! Then, as mid April rolled around, I got knocked on my ass by the flu, the Noro virus to be exact. Oh lawd, did it suck. Do not, repeat, do not google the Noro virus if you’re about to eat a meal, ride public transportation, or otherwise be around a shit ton of people. I was out of commission for pretty much a full week. On the bright side, I caught up on some teevee I’d been meaning to watch. I’m looking at you, Bunheads and Awkward.  Recommended!

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But never fear! Of course I did some cooking from this month’s cook the books book o’the month!

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I made Roast Beef (page 41), the Beef Stock/Beef Jus (page 92-93), Weck Rolls (page 182-183), and Pickled Horseradish (page 86). Put it all together and I got Beef on Weck sandwiches (page 128-129)!

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I picked Beef on Weck cuz I used to live in NYC. A good friend of mine was living in NYC, but missed her beloved upstate New York. She told me about a sandwich she used to enjoy back in the day, a specialty of the Buffalo, NY, area called Beef on Weck. I’d never heard of it, but I was intrigued. Tasty roast beef, delicious au jus, horseradish and a tasty roll. Well, shit! That sounds good. I always remembered her story, and stories of other chums with fond upstate memories (like another Rochester, NY specialty, the garbage plate), but never had a beef on weck. Fast forward more than ten years and there I was paging through The Mile End and lo and behold, beef on weck! I was in! thanks for letting me know about this treasure, Big L! She’s a vegetarian now. maybe it was too many garbage plates back in the 80s.

OK, so here’s what I did, First, I made the beef stock/beef au jus. Holy shit was that good. Sure, it took many hours, but if you have the time on the weekend, it’s worth it, and most of the time the meat and bones and veggies were roasting.  This was by far the most time-consuming item I made for this dish. The main difference between this stock and other stocks I’ve made is that it uses actual meat in the stock, here stew beef, as well as meat bones. I used stew beef and soup bones. I wasn’t able to find a calf’s foot, and it didn’t make a difference on my end; the stock turned out amazing.  First, you roast the stew beef.

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Then you toss the bones with a water/tomato paste mixture, then roast those.

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After you roast the meat and the bones, you roast some veggies, including onions and lotsa garlic.  After everything is done roasting, you cover the whole shebang with water, salt and pepper, and then let it cook for 6 hours.  Wow!  This turned out so flavorful.  Highly recommended.

That same day I made the pickled horseradish. Hey, remember when I made pickled horseradish long ago and far away in the past? Yep, I did it again here. I love horseradish. But this time I followed the directions from Noah and Rae in The Mile End. It again, turned out great. Not much different from my recipe, and this recipe makes a ton and it stores forever. So this will come in handy for sandwiches, cocktail sauce, and so on. Very easy to make too. No need to buy pre-made at the store, its often full of preservatives that way anyway.

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And hey, even my local regular old mainstream grocery store had a horseradish root, so no biggie.

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Also that same day, I made the dough for the weck rolls. Again, very easy.  You need to make the dough a day in advance, then let it rest in the fridge overnight after punching out the air.

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The hardest part was rolling the dough into nice little sandwich rolls the next day.  With Double S’s help, I got it done and they turned out beautifully.

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See, I did it!

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Weck rolls traditionally have caraway seeds and coarse salt on top.  Even though I pride myself on my spice rack, we were out of caraway seeds and didn’t feel like going out to the store again.  So we used coarse, poppy seeds and dried onion.  The rolls were good, but caraway seeds would have made them even better.  Our pup Mozy likes to watch.

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Gorgeous!  I was impressed!  They looked fairly brown on top, but the consistency of the rolls on the inside was perfect.

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On the day we were going to eat these sammies, I made the roast beef. Wow, was this simple to make!  I got my beef at my local standby butcher, Bob’s Quality Meats in Columbia City. The butcher there recommended the cut I got and it turned out perfect. Just simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted on very high heat (500°) for an hour, then left in the oven with the heat turned off. Literally no fuss, no muss.

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That night, the eve o’my horrible flu, we ate these delicious sandwiches!  I slathered pickled horseradish on the bottom bun, then dipped the top bun in the delicious au jus.  There were great eaten with a tangy pickle and some salty tater chips.  Recommended!

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Victory!

Ok, so I know that this cookbook hasn’t been perfect, and that there’ve been problems with overly salty pickles and strange directions, but I gotta say the roast beef, the weck rolls, the pickled horseradish, and the beef stock gravy/au jus that turns into a beef on weck sandwich turned out perfectly and was easy (if not quick to make ) and delicious.

I’ve made more too! I’ll let you know this week. And holy shit! As I write this, I have a beef brisket on the smoker. Will it turn out? Well, shit! I hope so!

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So stay tuned to hear about the impromptu dinner party we had with Grow and Resist, and to hear about my adventures with smoked meat!  If you’re c0oking along with us this month, please get us your link by the weekend or so.  Email it to cookthebookschallenge@gmail.com.  Happy cooking!

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