Today in the Kitchen – Adventures in St. Émilion & Pot Roast

Apr 26, 2010 | French Farmhouse Design, Parisienne Farmhouse Design, Recipes | 10 comments

Less than four weeks ’til the SALE and this week is crammed.  I miss all of you so much and I am so sorry I have not been commenting on your blogs.  I am doing my best to read them but forgive me if I am silent… this sale is going to be so wonderful… I look forward to meeting many of you.
‘Hope this post brings a bit of entertainment… don’t think I’ll be back ’til later this week!
This is my favorite bottle of wine.  OK, at least my most favorite that I can get my hands on…more on that later.  Weekends have been rough for us lately, Joel has his fairly new (Thanks be to God) job and he has a quarterly shift bid…this quarter we were blessed with two days back to back off; Thursday and Friday… and a little shock come Saturday morning.  This Saturday he was up at 3:30 a.m. and not home ’til 4:30 and I knew nothing would make him happier than to stumble home to a Pot Roast… his favorite.  All the cheap wine in the house was gone and one of our 4 coveted bottles in the basement was calling my name.  What better reason to crack open a very special  1997 St. Émilion Chateau St. George than for just about no reason at all.  Thirteen years is a long time to store a bottle in a humid basement and I was praying it had not turned to vinegar… more on that later.
St. Émilion is one of the 4 or 5 places I have traveled to in France and though I am no expert on the Bordeaux region I would HIGHLY recommend it.  We traveled by way of train from Paris to Bordeaux and rented to car to get there.  (Be sure you can 1.  Read a map without threatening your marriage with divorce or murder 2. Drive a stick and 3. Handle a round about without having a panic attack – thankfully we each can do all three – those are just a few of the reasons I think we would kick bootie on the Amazing Race!!!)  I digress…
St. Émilion is an ancient map dot of a town and had long been a favorite region for me when it came to picking a bottle of wine.  Seriously, you can walk into about any wine store (notice I did not say liquor store) and find a St. Émilion and it’s probably gonna please.  Bring it to a dinner party hosted by French friends and they are sure to compliment you.  Prices typically start around $18.00…
I am not one to show up in Paris (“like” all three times I’ve been there) without a reservation but I am fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants enough that I will venture out of the city with nary a clue of where to stay or if there will be a car to rent for that matter (we got the LAST car between all the rental agencies near the train station!!!) so when we finally arrived we were on a mission to find charming and affordable accommodations.  We were only staying one night and the next day it was on to Perigeuex to stay with some Stateside friends who have a house there – lucky us, our trips coincided.  
Not all French hotels are what we girly Francophiles dream of.  Many are sterile and icky.  But we hit the jackpot.  We gave the man at the desk our budget (100 Euro) and he apologetically took us to the top floor of his hotel to a small room that was once the attic.  He thought we would hate it.  Oh, how he was wrong!   After my 17 square meter, indoor/ outdoor futon decorated Paris apartment this room was Versailles!!!  Decked in orange toile with Louis 16th repro furniture and a giant bathroom.  I was thrilled.  So thrilled in fact that of the 30 rolls of film I went thru during those 6 weeks I forgot to take a photograph.  Hopefully my memory serves me well of it’s description.
All I wanted to do was get back in our little car and go exploring!!!  The vines were bare but I was anxious to see more.  There is something surreal about seeing Chateau after Chateau… vineyard after vineyard.  
Shortly after leaving “town” I pointed to Joel, “Look over there!  Do you see those spires! I SWEAR I know that Chateau!  Drive in that direction!!!
And lo-and-behold I was right.  I did know those spires… and we found ourselves right in front of Chateau St. George – the birthplace of my favorite bottle of wine.  You could probably hear my screams back in the States!
Back then (6 years ago – read before children!!! Ha!) Joel was a bit more reserved than he is today and I had to BEG him to drive down the long drive and take a peek.  It’s a business for Pete’s sake – surely we aren’t the only people that have ever wandered about!  He did, though not as thoroughly as I would have liked, but we did find these stacks of bottles ready to leave and be labeled… the sunset reflecting off of them…
I’ll take two please…
Then we snapped a picture of the gates… If only they had been open I swear I would have knocked on the door… 
you KNOW I would have…
Alas, no one was about and our stomachs were pleading with us to find a good dinner; little did I know it would be the best meal I have ever had… ever…
St.  Émilion is small but full of tiny streets and hilly alleys…  
We stopped into a couple places that were full and could not take us.  It was like “no room in the inn” and I was wondering if we would ever eat – never mind that we had been out driving around and had not had ONE DROP OF WINE YET!!!  The next maitre’d we spoke to apologized but he only had one small table… get this… 
He felt so bad but it was all he could do for us.
He led us thru the restaurant and into a little room with a pea gravel floor!!!!  
Really ladies… a pea gravel floor!!! 
 Trés charment!  
He lit our candle for us, our waiter took our order and graciously helped us choose a bottle of wine…   THE BEST BOTTLE OF WINE I HAD EVER HAD OR HAVE EVER HAD!  Seriously,  it was like liquid velvet… no sharp Cali Cab or chintzy cheap Australian Shiraz at your in-laws Christmas party here… this was the stuff of dreams… I had fois gras (a favorite of mine, Peta be damned) fried on a salad… and that wine… oh, that wine… 
The next day we drove until we found the name on a sign at small estate just outside the teeny hamlet of St. George.
I will forever remember that bottle of wine.  The closest thing I have found here is a Moulin St. George/ St. Émilion which I promptly bought.  It’s down in the basement with the remaining two Chateau St. Georges…
So, how was our wine Saturday night you ask?  Was it skunky?  Had it turned to vinegar?  
No… thankfully it was perfect.  We errored in not opening it before dinner so by the end of the meal it was tasting really good… it’s been so long since I had had anything not off the Trader Joe’s shelf…
And the Pot Roast?  Well, it too was perfection and Hubby was Happy!  So now that you now what kind of wine to look for; here is a no fail Pot Roast recipe and a leftover recipe that will keep you and your family eating for days…
To be honest – I don’t even know what kind of meat I get.  All I know is it’s hormone & antibiotic free and free range from Trader Joe’s… I want to say “round tip” but I am the worst with meat cuts… it looks like a GIANT steak…
I throw that baby in the crock pot with a ton of cut red potatoes, one or two onions quartered, a big bag of baby carrots (if it’s not garden season) and a head of garlic.  I am embarrassed to say that I do cheat and use a packet of gravy mix too.  Cook for about 8 hours… by this time your garlic has practically melted and your meat will fall apart.  I scoup out some of the juice and make a gravy with flour to go with any of the sauces left in the crock pot – after all, you HAVE to have something to dip your bread into.  And speaking of bread, we had a baguette Saturday night.  I did not have time to make my new whole wheat that we are so into these days but the roast is really good with a salad and bread… the only thing we were missing was a gorgeous wedge of stinky blue for desert.   

And now for the leftovers…
For a delicious soup add a large can (read Costco size) of tomato sauce to the leftover pile of meat and potatoes, add some corn, green beans, Lima beans, maybe some extra carrots and a ton of barley and cook till the barley is soft.  (GF-eers you can leave out the barley no problem).  This soup is AWESOME and freezes very well.  We make many quarts of it at a time.

Both the pot roast method and vegetable soup recipe are family fav’s from Gramma.  I don’t think she has ever had a St.Émilion before though…
We may have to remedy that when she gets back from Florida.
Oh, I forgot the kicker.
When we did meet up with our friends in Perigeuex and told them of our adventure they said we could have knocked at the Chateau and we would probably have been invited in for dinner.  They did.
Bon Appetit.


  1. A 2 Z


    What beautiful blogs you have! I can understand why you are having difficulty finding time to blog. Taking care of young children is always a big handful. I will be back to scrutinize your blog a bit more closely. I cant help it, you have such beautiful pictures.

    Au revoir,


  2. Tamra

    Wow, what a fabulous post! Dinner in the wine cellar on a pea gravel floor with the one you love? Doesn’t get much better than that.


  3. Stephanie

    Fantastic, I loved this story! And there is nothing like a St. Emilion wine. Yum.

  4. Stephanie

    Forgot to add, when I open a bottle of inexpensive red wine, I learned to decant it first and it usually takes away the sharp tannins and harsh flavors to make it smooth and yummy. If you don’t have a decanter, just pour it in a carafe and let it air out. Swirl it around in the carafe and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before you drink it. I tried this after going to Paris and being served the house wine in the small carafes and wondering how in the world they can get house wine to taste so very good. I was shocked how well it worked.

  5. Berlin Deluxxe

    What lovely pictures, and lovely memories to go with them 🙂
    (My son and I are too fond of foie gras!)

  6. Joy

    I feel like I’ve been to France just reading your descriptions and viewing the photos. If I could drive there, I’d have gone long ago—(hate the thought of flying over very deep water), plus there’s that money thing…

  7. Anne Marie

    (please excuse my tardiness to comment…..I missed this one!)

    This post Angela……oh my goodness…… just leads me to want to hear more…..and your pictures –
    everything is put together perfect in this post….you pay such amazing attention to details…..

  8. Old Centennial Farmhouse

    Can you tell a story, or WHAT?! And you have some great stories to tell, your audience loves it when you do! I will have to try your pot roast sometime, it looks wonderful, and so does your little chick, she’s all ready to eat, such a sweetie!

    Your photos from Paris would make wonderful prints to sell!
    (Sure wish I could come to the farm for the sale, but I’ll be heading to be with Jamie that week, to wait for our little grandson to be born!)

  9. Angela in Europe

    Love your pictures! Have you ever tried gaillac? The red is my favorite. So smooth!

  10. Angela in Europe

    Love your pictures! Have you ever tried gaillac? The red is my favorite. So smooth!


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