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Friday, February 15, 2013

Bœuf Charolais - The Charolais Beef. Le Bœuf Charolais du Bourbonnais AOP - The Charolais Beef is Considered Among the Best France.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Updated 2016
Charolais Cattle.
Photograph courtesy of HapH.
The Charolais AOP cattle are highly rated for their meat.  They are the third French breed of cattle to be awarded an AOC/AOP for their meat's consistent superior quality. For livestock, an AOP also sets out the manner in which the cattle are raised and what they may be fed.  The Charolais herds are all free range and feed on grasses and wildflowers and herbs in the summer.  In the winter, when they are moved to sheltering barns they may only be fed local grasses and cereals that were collected in the summer from their grazing areas and stored. Additionally, all AOC cattle must be totally free of growth hormones and antibiotics. The calves must be raised by their mothers and may not be separated until they are weaned.
Charolais cattle are almost entirely white; it is marvelous to drive through the countryside in the summer with the beautiful contrasts of the grass and the white herds of these cattle. However; I worry that if any of these cattle were left outside when it snows no one would find them!
Apart from veal, the Charolais are not brought to market until they are at least two and a half years old, so their body fat is distributed with well-marbled beef.

The Charolais Beef on French menus:

Filet de Boeuf Charolais aux Morilles et Savagnin Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Légumes de Saison.  A cut from a Charolais fillet, the tenderloin, prepared with morel mushrooms and a Savagnin wine sauce.  The fillet is always the tenderest cut of beef; however, it is not the tastiest, and in France, a cut from the fillet is always served with a sauce; also remember, that a fillet cannot be cooked well done. Here the sauce is made with the natural cooking juices, morel mushrooms, and Savagnin wine.

  The Savagnin grape produces some fantastic white wines in the French department of Jura bordering Switzerland. The wine’s name in French comes from the word sauvage meaning wild, and that indicates that the vines and grapes originally came from wild vineyards.
Le Carpaccio de Bœuf  Charolais, Mesclun et Copeaux de Parmesan – A Carpaccio of Charolaise beef served with a mesclun salad and sprinkled with flakes of Parmesan cheese.
Boeuf Carpaccio
Photograph courtesy of mastermaq.
Pavé de Rumsteck "Charolais" Sauce au Poivre Vert –  A thick cut of a Charolais rump steak, prepared with a green pepper sauce. A North American or UK rump steak comes from a slightly different cut to the French Rumsteck.  In France, a rump steak will be barded while cooking; meaning that it will be tied around with fat to prevent it drying out as naturally this cut has little fat.  The result is that French cuts from the rump will usually be tastier than similar cuts at home. The sauce offered is a green pepper sauce; nearly all pepper steaks will be made with green peppercorns with good reason. Green peppercorns are picked before they are ripe, and then they are pickled in brine before drying; the result is a pepper with a slight herbal flavor that is much less pungent than black or white peppercorns.  With a green pepper sauce, it is far easier to control the taste that with white or black pepper could easily over season the dish.    

Pave de Rumstek
A salade mesclun is a green salad that should include at least five different salad greens.  The most popular salad greens, in France, apart from lettuce, include pissenlit, dandelion leaves, and, mâche, lamb's lettuce. It may be that your salade mesclun will have colorful additions and that is acceptable. There are almost 100 varieties of lettuce and salad greens available in France, so French chefs have plenty to choose from.  
Tartare de Bœuf Charolais, Pommes Frites et Salade de Jeunes Pousses – A Steak Tatar made with Charolais beef and served with French fries, chips, and a salad of young shoots,  these are young leave, shoots, taken from many different vegetables and legumes.
Steak Tatar.
Photograph courtesy of banlon 1964
Tournedos de Bœuf du Charolais Poêle, sa Béarnaise a la Truffe Noire avec Petits Légumes de Printemps a la Vapeur d'Estragon et Couronne de Pommes de Terre Rôties –   A thick cut from the end of the fillet, the tenderloin, is called the tournedos in France. This is the most expensive cut from the fillet. Tournedos is the cut used for a Tournedos Rossini and a Chateaubriand. Here, the tournedos is lightly fried and then served with a Béarnaise sauce that has been flavored with the black Périgord truffle. The dish is accompanied by steamed young spring vegetables flavored with tarragon and served in a ring of roast potatoes.   Béarnaise sauce is one of France’s greatest sauces for meat or fish and is equally good with cold or hot dishes.  Sauce Béarnaise was the creation of the chef and restaurateur Jean-Louis Françoise Collinet.  Collinet took Sauce Hollandaise and replaced the lemon with white wine vinegar, shallots, and the herbs with chervil and tarragon and voila we have Sauce Béarnaise.  Collinet is also remembered as the chef who, in 1837, created soufflé potatoes. (Family members who traveled on the Orient Express from Paris to Venice contributed this incredibly tempting menu item).

The lands of Charolais and Bourbonnais.
Anzy Le Duc in Brionnais
Photograph courtesy of Ludhic.

Finding Charolais and Bourbonnais on the map.
Part of the Charolais du Bourbonnais name for this breed of cattle comes from the village and community of Charolles in the department of Saone et Loire in the Bourgogne.  (Burgundy, Bourgogne, is now joined with Franche Comte in the new super region of Bourgogne – Franche-Comte). This area was also home to the Bourbon Kings of France, hence Bourbonnais; parts of Charolais and Bourbonnais are now included in the new voluntary economic and agricultural grouping called Le Pays Charolais-Brionnais. 

Hôtel de Ville, the city hall, in the village of Charolles.
Photograph courtesy of DaffyDuke
The area of Charolais-Brionnais covers part of the South West of Burgundy and part of the newly joined super region of the Auvergne - Rhône-Alpes  To make things more interesting when you ask the locals who they are some call themselves Charolaise and some call themselves Bourbonnais.
There is much more than beef on the menu with the names Charolais and Bourbonnais.
Charolais AOP -  Fromage Charolais AOP -  A 45% fat, creamy,  goat’s milk cheese made with unpasteurized milk.    

Charolais AOP Cheese.

 L’Agneau Charolais Fermier du Bourbonnais, Label Rouge. – The highly rated breed Charolais Bourbonnais red label lambs that developed alongside the Charolais cattle. When Charolais lamb is on the menu, do not pass it by.
The Volailles Label Rouge Bourbonnais IGP -  The Bourbonnais poultry. Their highly rated poultry includes the Poulet Bourbonnais Fermier Label Rouge, their red label, farm-raised chickens, and their Pintade Bourbonnais, Fermière Label Rouge, their red label, farm raised Guinea hens.

Guinea Hens.
Photograph courtesy of guinea fowl flock.
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Vinegar, Vinaigrette and Verjus in French Cuisine.
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Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright  2010, 2011,2012, 2013, 2016

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