Month: December 2012

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

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Ingredients

  • 1 6 ounce piece chunk bacon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1  onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full bodied
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1  bay leaf, crumbled
  • 20 small white onions
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
  3. Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to side dish with a slotted spoon.
  4. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
  5. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust). Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  6. Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  7. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
  8. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
  9. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for 1-2 minutes, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
  10. Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

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Merry Christmas, from my family to yours!

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It’s that time of year again, everyone is prepping and decorating, cooking and baking, shopping and wrapping.  Spend time with the people you love and throw away all of the good eating habits that you’ve desperately tried to hold on to throughout the year.  Mix that double shot of baileys with your morning coffee and slide an extra helping of french toast smothered with maple syrup on to your plate.  Rarely consider quinoa, morning smoothies with flax seeds, green tea with honey or water with lemon.  This is not the time to be uncomfortably healthy,  save that for your New Year’s resolution.  In the meantime, pour that full bodied red wine to the rim and don’t pass on the warm buttered rolls when they come around the table. Take two… and enjoy every delicious bite.  It’s Christmas!

Don’t forget to save room for dessert.

Merry Christmas to everyone who stops by and scrolls through my blog, thank you for your support and interest. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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Homemade Mushroom Soup

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Ingredients:
300g or 2 cups fresh mushrooms – cleaned and chopped finely (I used a mix of swiss brown and white button)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic – chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 – 2 bay leaf
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp flour dissolved in 1 tbsp water
Salt to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Dash of nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley or thyme for garnish

Method:
1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add butter and lightly sauté garlic on medium heat.
2. Add in mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the moisture from the mushrooms disappears.
3. Add in chicken broth. Stir occasionally until broth boils, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4 Add diluted flour in, and stir constantly (while simmering) until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasoning.
5. Finally, add milk and heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. Turn heat off.
6. Serve hot in your soup bowl. Add freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme if you have them on hand. And warm up this holiday season!

Notes:
– This recipe serves us as a good basic comfort soup, so you can always modify easily according to your preference. Feel free to increase the amount of mushrooms for a richer mushroom flavor.  You can also swirl in a dash of sherry or truffle oil or wine or some caramelized sweet onions to create another depth to the soup.
– You can thicken the soup by adding in another tablespoon of flour or cut down on the broth, for use in pasta or your Christmas casserole dishes.

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