For about a ten-year period, winter in Wisconsin held off until the end of January, and was usually gone by the end of March. Several years, we had 70-degree days in mid-March. There was usually a spring blizzard or two, but the snow never stayed around long.
It seems 2013 was an exception. Spring didn't make an appearance until early April, and winter checked in just after Thanksgiving. We began eating heartier fare earlier in the season. Of course, I've gained a few pounds. But being retired gives me more time to exercise and prepare my own meals. No more grabbing lunch on the go.
Early retirement has also allowed us to experiment more in the kitchen (and shop around for bargains). We began 2014 with Boeuf Bourguignon, a particular favorite of my husband.
On our first visit to Paris nearly a decade ago, we ordered Beef Bourguinon at an over-priced bistro near Notre Dame Cathedral. It was delicious and, we thought, well worth the cost.
It's not a quick dish to prepare, thanks to the pearl onions, but it is easy. We took our inspiration from this cookbook.
- 2 pounds round of beef, cubed
- 2-2 slice bacon
- 4 good-sized carrots, sliced
- 3 dozen pearl onions, peeled
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic (about two small cloves)
- generous handful fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Cognac
- 1 bottle good red wine (we used Merlot)
For the seal:
- 1 cup flour and enough water to make a paste
Pre-heat oven to
Line a small stockpot or cocotte (make sure it has a cover) with bacon grease and carrots, onions, mushrooms, thyme and garlic. Add the meat, and continue to layer until all ingredients have been used. Don't forget to salt and pepper each layer to your individual taste (for me, that's easy on the salt). Top with bacon strips.
Pour in the cognac and wine. Make a paste of flour and water and seal the pot lid to keep steam from escaping. Place the stockpot or cocotte in the oven and cook for six hours. Do not remove the lid during cooking.
When the lid is removed, a wonderful, savory aroma is released. Serve with egg noodles and a green salad. A chewy baguette is a nice addition for those who are not watching carbohydrate intake.
This was such a hit, it's on the menu for tomorrow.
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