Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Meat Week and French Lessons

Ever since we moved to DC, I've been searching for a bit of the local blog scene. 

With the help of some friends "in the know," I've found some great reads: The DCist (thanks Christine!), The Washingtonian Best Bites Blog (thanks Casey!), Metrocuran, Tom Sietsema (thanks Maia!), Mango and Tomato (thanks Megan!), Girl Meets Food, The Arugula Files, DC Food Love, Thrifty DC Cook, Will Blog for Food, and Capitol Bites to name a few. I even found a blog about my neighborhood: New Columbia Heights.

Thanks to Girl Meets Food, I was lucky enough to discover this little gem. This week, is DC Meat Week. Yep, you heard that right, Meat Week. DC has an entire week devoted to the savory, goodness of meat. Deals are being offered up around the city on restaurant's best and heartiest meat dishes. Sounds delicious!

Though we haven't gotten out to any of the participating restaurants yet, we did start off the week with a couple of steaks. Then last night, I decided to go pork and try making Croque Monsieurs, a treat I learned how to order from many a French text book.

I'm not sure why I've never tried this delicious sandwich before, but I will definitely be making these again.

Croque Monsieur 
Serves 2
  • 6oz Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (plus a little more for buttering your bread)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices deli ham

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.

Then grate 6 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) of Gruyère cheese. You can get this in the cheese section of most super markets. It's a lovely hard yellow cheese made from cow's milk.

Make a roux by melting 1 tablespoon of butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Once melted, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour. When butter and flour have formed a paste, add 1 cup of milk. Stir constantly until the butter and flour have been dissolved. Heat until your sauce begins to get a little thick. 

While your sauce is thickening, butter four slices of bread on both sides and place on a small cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop these in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove, flip bread, and pop back in the oven for another two minutes.

Once your sauce begins to thicken, remove it from the heat. Stir in 1/4 a cup of Gruyère and a 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine and set aside. 

Remove your toast from the oven and spread one side of each with 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. I only did this to my sandwich as Alex is not a fan of mustard. Top each sandwich with two slices of ham and half of the remaining shredded gruyère, reserving about 2 tablespoons for topping. 

Add your second slice of bread and pour your cheese sauce to coat the top of each. Finish off with the last bit of Gruyère on top of each and pop in the oven for 5 minutes.

When your bread looks toasty and your cheese looks melty, remove from oven and serve hot. If you'd like your cheese to be a little more golden brown and crispy, feel free to stick these in your broiler for a few minutes. Mine were fairly toasty, so I did not bother.

Did you learn about Croque Monsieurs in French class? Have you ever tried making them for yourself? If you have, did you serve them with haricot verts or pomme de terre?


  1. Um, yum!! Fancy ham and cheeses. Looks perfect for a(NOTHER) snow storm :)

  2. Is this what you were doing while we were on the phone last night?!? Way to multitask!

  3. Ha. Yes. This is what I was doing on the phone with you last night when I was "cooking dinner." And by cooking, I mean making a couple of sandwiches haha.

  4. Um, yum!! Favor ham and cheeses. Looks ideal for a snow storm . Astonishing recipie. I would love to give this a shot at home. Incredible post. Much thanks to you.