Days like today put me in the mood for comfort food. While we were stationed in Holland in the 1970’s, my Mom took a week and attended a cooking school in Dieppe, France. And did we benefit! This is one of my favourite recipes. It is great for a dinner party, as it can all be done ahead of time and reheated, or built in the crock pot and left to stew all day. This is actually my recipe that has evolved over time. I’ve borrowed a bit here and there; thrown in a few elements of a classic Southern French daube, for example, and added in some dried mustard, just because I like it. But here are the basics for you to monkey around with. Serve with plenty of crusty bread and a green salad — it’s a crowd pleaser.
Easy and Elegant Life’s Boeuf Bourguinion
3-4 lbs of stew beef, cubed
1 jar of pickled onions
2 jars of button mushrooms in butter
1 small bag of baby carrots (optional)
1 bag of fingerling potatoes *
3 pieces of salt pork or thick cut bacon
1 TBS of flour
1 bullion cube or 1 tsp of “Better than Bullion” mixed with some water.
1/2 bottle of red wine (I use a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Burgundy, of course!)
pinch of herbes de Provence (basil, majoram, thyme, savory, rosemary, bay leaf)
healthy dash of dried mustard (I use Coleman’s)
Parsley for garnish.
Render some fat from the salt pork or bacon in a heavy frying pan. Remove the pork and reserve. Brown the stew meat in the fat. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and stir while cooking for a minute or two. Add to your crock pot or dutch oven.
Combine all the other ingredients in the crock pot, lay the pork or bacon on top and cook on low for four hours, or high for at least 2 hours. You may want to thicken the stew with a little more flour (mixed with hot water to form a paste.) Or you can cook it longer and reduce the liquid. The bourguinion is done when you can cut the meat with a fork.
Just before serving, sprinkle a little chopped parsley over the top.
Finish off the other half of the bottle of red with lunch.
* You may omit the fingerling potatoes and serve the stew over a bed of mashed potatoes instead.