The Flaming Tower of Beef

Just in time, before you completely forget about Radio Free Daglan since my posting of October 8, I am back from my surgical interlude (carpal tunnel release operation; right wrist; went very well; thank you, thank you very much).

And what better way to kick off the return of RFD than with a look at the Greater Daglan Area’s Flaming Tower of Beef?

Admittedly, that’s just my name for it. Actually, it’s listed on the menu at Le Tournepique, the Basque restaurant in Castelnaud, as Potence de Boeuf — or Gallows of Beef. You’ll see why in a moment.

But first, to refresh your memory, have a look at the restaurant, as seen from the parking lot of the plaza across the street. Le Tournepique lies at the end of the bridge that crosses the Dordogne River in Castelnaud, which is about 10 kilometres north of Daglan. Here it is:

Looking up and across the street, towards Le Tournepique.

Looking up and across the street, towards Le Tournepique.

My wife Jan and I were there on Friday of last week, with friends Richard and Rosemary and Gerhard and Elisabeth, and four of the six of us decided to order the Potence de Boeuf, which costs 20 euros per serving, and which can be ordered only for two or more.

All six of us began our lunch by sharing two orders of traditional Basque tapas, along with a kir each, and then it was time for the main event, which was ordered by Gerhard, Elisabeth, Jan and me.

So what is a Potence de Boeuf? It’s cubes of steak that have been grilled, and then hung on special contraption (which looks a bit like a gallows, hence the name) that keeps the meat hot and even cooks it further. At the table, it’s covered in a flaming liqueur, and served with four different sauces and a good helping of delicious, thick-cut frites. Here’s the serving for the four of us, shown with our server pouring on the flaming liqueur:

The flaming liqueur is poured over the "gallows" of steak.

The flaming liqueur is poured over the “gallows” of steak.

At the end of our table, you can see the moules that Rosemary ordered — always a good choice at Le Tournepique — as well as the edge of Richard’s plate, which included slices of pork and a green salad. Meanwhile, our beef shimmers in heat, and it’s brought on to our table along with bowls of frites:

3 - To tableAnd now it all comes to the table — steak and frites and all.

Finally, here’s a close-up, showing all the cubes of steak ready to be plucked off and enjoyed:

Even for four people, that's a lot of steak.

Even for four people, that’s a lot of steak.

And did we enjoy it? We did! It was quite a spectacle, to begin with. And then the meat itself was tender (unlike most French beef, which is known for being chewy) and very tasty. The sauces were good, and the frites were great.

We shall return.

This entry was posted in Food, French food, Life in southwest France, Restaurants in France, Restaurants in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Flaming Tower of Beef

  1. David Vale says:



  2. Doug Curson says:

    So glad to have your blog back and to feel a bit in touch with Daglan!!
    Is this attractive beef recipe something relatively new at Le Tournepique?

    • loren24250 says:

      Thanks Doug. Yes — the menu has changed since the new owner/chef took over — Now there are all the Basque classics, plus a few new things (like the beef gallows) as well as quite a number of typical Perigord Noir classics. We think that overall there’s been an improvement.

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