Thursday, April 26, 2012

morel daube glace

I've blogged about daube glace before. It's a New Orleans dish of braised beef thickened with gelatin (ideally from stock) and served cold like pate.

Marx Foods is doing a cook-off with their dried morel mushrooms, and I decided daube glace would work well, in part because it would make it easy to use the soaking liquid and maximize the morel flavor.

First off. There's a key ingredient here which you can create in one of two ways: cooked oxtail falling off the bone. You can braise the oxtail, saving and reducing the cooking liquid, and possibly adding gelatin to it. Or you can do what I did: cook the oxtail sous-vide. I left it in the vacuum-sealed plastic it came in (which does better with sous-vide than Zip-Loc bags do) and left it in a Crockpot full of water on Warm for 36 hours. After refrigerating it, this is what it looked like:

Oxtail, post-sous vide. Lots of gelatin.
Remember, I added nothing. As solid as that looks, with that giant strip of rendered gelatin? That is nothing but oxtail, with an incredible amount of gelatin rendered out of the bones and collagen during the long low-temperature cooking.

Now, as for morels. Morels are a wild mushroom with a fairly brief season and a good earthy flavor. They have to be cooked, because they're mildly toxic when raw. They're also kind of a pain in the ass. When I lived in Indiana, where people have been foraging for morels since long before the foraging revival, I first encountered morels at Whole Foods for $29/lb. (Mushrooms are light, of course, morels even more than most: a pound is a lot.) They were covered in dirt, and cleaning them (which you have to do hastily, so they don't have time to soak up water and become spongy) revealed a number of insects and grubs in that dirt.

One of the nice things about dried morels is not dealing with that.

The daube glace: while the morels soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, I removed the bones from the oxtail, chopped the meat, and added it, the gelatinous stock, chopped onions, brined green peppercorns, and a little salt. You could certainly add ramps or garlic, carrots, celery, tomato - I usually do, but wanted to focus on the morel flavor. The oxtail is really a vehicle for delivering morels here.

Once the morels were reconstituted, I roughly chopped them and added them and their soaking liquid, warmed everything up, and cooled it all down again in a Tupperware container. After refrigerating, this is what it looked like sliced:

Morel daube glace

Brined green peppercorns are one of my secret weapons lately. The Asian market by me sells them, and the flavor is so much deeper and more complicated than dried green peppercorns - herbal, citrusy, smelling a lot like lime zest. They add a little hit of bright flavor which contrasts with the richness of the morels and beef here.

My favorite way to serve daube glace is on hot fresh bread with a little butter, so that the daube glace starts to melt slightly as you eat it.


  1. Incredible dish, I've never seen anything like it!

  2. I agree this is incredible!

  3. Wow, interesting. I love oxtails, but I've never seen them served this way. Nice!

  4. I voted for yours, I thought it was the most creative!