Boeuf Bourguignon. A must have cold-weather food classic. My adaption from Julia Child’s recipe in, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

A wonderful dish, raising simple “old world ” peasants stew- to a complex, full body depth; capable of transcending you to your comfortable warm happy place! A bit time consuming– but worth every moment and hopefully, it won’t take you as long to cook it, as long as it took me to write it!

Just so happens I met Julia in my younger culinary days and have her book, “The Way To Cook” autographed by Julia Child’s herself! A day I will never forget! 

Begin with the Beef:

Ingredients:

1/2 Tablespoon good quality olive oil

8 -10 ounces of good quality slab bacon, sliced into 1/2-inch strips

3 pounds beef for stew -or cut your meat into about 2-inch chunks. Acceptable cuts -rump, chuck, sirloin tip, top round, or bottom round.

Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper

3 large carrots, peeled and sliced in 1 inch chunks

1 yellow onion, diced

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 -4 cups red wine , preferably a Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St, Emilion, Burgundy

1 cup rich, fine quality beef stock

1-2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1-2 dried bay leaves, left whole

2-3 cloves garlic, smashed

Method:

(The key is to cook the mushrooms and onions separate, then combine)

1-Preheat oven to 450’F degrees. In a large heavy bottomed 8 quart stock pot, or enamel Dutch oven- heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook bacon for 5-8 minutes until browned, and fat has rendered to the bottom of the cooking vessel. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel. Set aside.

2-Pat the beef dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper toss in flour. Shake.

3-Heat the olive oil with the rendered bacon fat- to high heat. When shimmering, add the seasoned, floured beef, in batches – do not crown the pan. Brown the beef well on all sides. Remove and set aside.

3-Add the chopped carrots and the diced onions to the remaining fat and four remnants. Sauté until lightly brown and caramelized. Careful not to burn. This also helps cook the raw flour and bring out it’s inherent nutty flavor. (The flour acts as a thickening agent to the final outcome)

5-Deglaze the pan with the red wine making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock,tomato paste,herbs and the garlic. Stir to combine.

6-Return the beef and bacon to this vessel. Cover. Reduce oven heat to 325’F and place vessel in the oven and cook about 3 to 4 hours. Now prepare the onions and the mushrooms. Add both mushrooms and onions to the pot and keep covered and continue cooking until beef is fork tender and liquid reduced to a stew like consistency. Serve with any style potatoes or enjoy on its own!

The Pearl Onions

Ingredients: 

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

2 dozen small white pearl onions, boiled with skins on for 5 minutes , roots cut, and squeezed out of peels ( or use thawed frozen- but if you are spending this much money and time use fresh)

1 cup fine quality beef stock

3-4 fresh flat leaf parsley sprigs

2 fresh bay leaves

3-4 fresh thyme sprigs

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:

1-Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the par-boiled, peeled pearl onions. Sauté for about 10 -12 minutes, until the onions are chocolate brown and caramelized.

2-Add the beef stock.

3-Tie the herbs together with butcher’s twine, or wrap inside kitchen cheesecloth. Add those in, too. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes to marry flavors. Add to main pot in the oven. Stir in well including the herb bundle.
The Mushrooms 

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh unsalted butter

1/2-1 pound white mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel

2 cloves garlic minced fine

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Quarter the mushrooms ( personally, I choose smaller mushrooms and leave them whole)

Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over high heat. When the foam from the butter begins to subside, add in the mushrooms.

Add garlic. Shake the mushroom around for about 5 minutes until toasty brown. Remove from heat and also add to the main pot in the oven.

Coq au Vin – French Comfort Food- A Rich and Historical Culinary Masterpiece!!

This dish though! < Big Sigh,>  Chicken cooked in a rich, velvety sauce, framed with smoky bacon & earthy flavors!  Various legends trace coq au vin to ancient Julius Caesar, but the recipe was not documented until the early 20th century when Julia Child featured coq au vin 1961- on PBS in the United States.The Kennedy Era. This French countryside stew is now seen as one of Julia’s signature dishes.


Ingredients   

1 Large whole chicken cut into 8 pieces

1/2 bottle full-bodied red wine, such as beautiful Burgundy 

1-2 cups rich full bodied chicken stock

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper 

6-8 ounce slab bacon, cut into 1/2-in. dice 

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, if needed 

1 lg. yellow onion, finely diced 

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 

20 large white pearl onions, peeled 

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 in chunks

1/2 pound  small cremini mushrooms 

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 

1 Tablespoon tomato paste 

2 Tablespoon Cognac 

1 -2 chicken livers, coarsely chopped 

2 bay leaves 

8-10 fresh thyme sprigs

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350’F  degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large 8 qt. Dutch oven or heavy 8 quart stock pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate (lined with paper towels ) with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add carrots, onions, 2 t. salt, and 1 t. pepper to the pot and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes–stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly brown.

Add the garlic, cook additional minute. Add the Cognac and place the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate back into the pot. Add the red wine, chicken stock, thyme and bring to a simmer. 

Cover the pot with a tight lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is pink color –close to the bone. ( from the red wine) Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Combine 1 tablespoon of butter and combine with the flour to form a thick paste. Stir into the stew until thicken.Add the pearl onions.

 In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until caramelize and crispy brown. Add to the pot. 

Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. 

Season to taste. Serve hot with warm French Bread and the remaining bottle or Burgundy! 

Oooooooo La La!