Showing posts with label beef. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beef. Show all posts

25 January 2014

Boeuf Bourguignon



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.

Beef Bourguignon

  • 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 200 225 degrees.

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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20 December 2008

Baked Beans with Ground Beef



I drove through Frenchtown at sunset the other day, toward the western sky and its layers of lavender, salmon and pink. Grandma Annie's house, now owned by a family who lives it and cares for it, was ablaze with lights. My heart lurched and then leaped with pleasure.

We believe the old house has its origins in 1863, the year the lot was parceled out to someone named Deroucher, or perhaps shortly thereafter. Now it is sturdily standing in its third century. The kitchen, always the heart of the house, is filled with spacious cabinets and a frieze of grapevines. It is warm and welcoming. How Grandma Annie would love it!

Annie's second daughter Jane, left at age 20, eloping with a theater usher in those headlong days before World War II. Like her mother, grandmother, aunts and sisters, Jane was an excellent cook and baker who favored simple down-to-earth fare. In later years, she came home to the old house, a widow now. About 18 years ago she died there in the same bed and room our Mémere died in. (I dream of that room often. It is now a sunny, two-story stairwell.)

On cold winter nights, Jane often made a dish with baked beans, ground beef, onions, ketchup, mustard and a dash of brown sugar. I do not know the exact measurements, but I tried the casserole recently, and enjoy it reheated for several nights during a brutal cold snap.

I used:

  • 2 medium cans of baked beans with onions
  • 1/2 pound ground beef, browned
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar


I combined all the ingredients and baked in a preheated, 30-degree oven for about 45 minutes. It's best served with coleslaw and cornbread, but I had only bread sticks on hand that week.

I like these homey dishes when the weather turns brutal, as it has here in Wisconsin.