Mind if we smoke?

We don’t think you will. In fact, we think you’ll thank us for smoking.

You’ll thank Marc for smoking, anyway. Since he got his big opportunity to smoke as much as he wanted at our house, he’s become quite the heavy smoker. Lately, he just can’t seem to quit smoking. Yeah, go figure, it’s a new year and everyone else is making resolutions to quit smoking — and this guy resolves to smoke more. In the past week, especially, Marc has been smoking like crazy.

Meat, that is. (What, you thought we were talking about smoking something else?)

He’s been smoking beef brisket (and if you’ve ever had our brisket, you’ll be delighted to hear that), he’s been smoking ribs, he’s been smoking pork chops, he’s been smoking sausage and he’s been smoking turkey. Now, you can benefit from all his smoking, in the form of this wonderful Choucroûte: an Alsatian smoked meat platter.

Meat platters like this are the quintessential bistro dish in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, so influenced in the kitchen by Germany: great quantities of smoked meat, roasted to a turn, served with boiled potatoes, sauerkraut and flavorful mustards. This is our version. You get a plateful of smoked ribs, sausage, turkey and a pork chop. On the side, boiled baby potatoes and plenty of sauerkraut, made with Ruth’s special recipe that combines a touch of sugar and bacon to render the shredded cabbage sweet-tart-savory, not sour. The whole thing comes accompanied by two mustards — a hearty grainy mustard and a mellow honey mustard — and we suggest you ask for some bread as well, because you’re going to want some to soak up the sauce and juices. Order up a beer with this, and — ach du Lieber! — you can’t get a more heartwarming or satisfying winter’s meal. It’s on our specials menu this week; you need to get in here and taste it!

If for some reason that doesn’t ring your bell, though, we still have plenty of other delights with which to tempt you. Such as veal osso bucco; roasted half duck with cherry port sauce; long bone double cut pork chops wrapped in bacon and stuffed with prosciutto, Gruyère and apple with port and dried plum ginger sauce; slow braised lamb shank with rosemary-mint demiglace; a spicy jambalaya; four-cheese mac and cheese with smoked chicken and black truffle; Portuguese fisherman’s stew; mahi mahi with raspberry-chipotle glaze…

Come on by and fill your stomach and your soul with a lovingly prepared dish this week. Because at Bistro 185, we smoke ’em if we got ’em.

Here’s the beef…and it’s delicious

JuliaProject916This is what Filets of Beef in Pasilla Chile Sauce looks like when we’re done with it. Our chile sauce includes Cuban black beans, cooked in a sofrito of onions, tomato, garlic and peppers, added to the pasilla-poblano-chipotle combo that serves as the mail flavoring. After the seared beef medallions are cooked in this sauce, it’s topped with a fresh avocado salsa and queso fresco. To the left, you can see the ravioli, made with saffron pasta with a stuffing of goat cheese and black beans with a touch of roasted jalapeño and poblano chiles, topped with a creamy corn sauce. Garnished with grape tomatoes, a few plantain slices and a sprinkling of parsley, this is a truly incredible dish, a marriage of flavors from spicy to creamy to sweet that just dances on your tongue. Try it — you won’t forget it!

Behind the Dish: Filets of Beef in Pasilla Chile Sauce

Filets of Beef in Pasilla Chile Sauce is another of Julia’s cookbook recipes that comes to us by way of Robert del Grande, whom you can see making the dish in a video you’ll find at this link. It’s another one in which the use of chiles imparts a unique Southwestern flavor to a cut of meat. If it puts you in mind of Texas, that’s no accident.

The recipe first requires toasting the chiles — which, in our case, will be a combination of not only pasillas (narrow chiles with a mild to medium-hot, rich flavor) but poblanos and chipotles, to add flavor, depth and a little more heat. Then the chiles are added to a sauce made with plum tomatoes, white onions, garlic and chicken stock. Meanwhile, medallions of beef are seared, then added to the sauce to cook just a bit longer. The dish is finished off with some brown sugar, cilantro, cheese (the original recipe suggests Cotija cheese — a Mexican hard cow’s milk cheese — we will use a softer queso blanco) and either an avocado salsa or a guacamole.

For an extra-special touch, Bistro 185’s chile-flavored beef filets will be served with roasted poblano-black bean ravioli made with saffron pasta. These ravioli are very similar to the ones we prepared recently for the dinner to celebrate our son Ari’s wedding (more about that Sunday!) and we think they will be perfect for accompanying this dish.

If your mouth is watering, you know what to do: pick up the phone and call 216.481.9635. We’ll be delighted to see you tonight.