Sunday, October 3, 2010

Country II - France

Alrighty, the second country on my list was the great culinary capital France. And I'm just going to say right off that today's food adventure was a much greater success then that nightmare excursion to Thailand.
On the menu for France was the famous Beef Bourguignon. And not Julia Child's, but rather Ginette Mathist's. Look her up. I went with her recipe for two reasons. First, because she was French and wrote the original French cookbook that French people have used for generations. Second, her version of Beef Bouguignon cut about 2 1/2 hours of cooking time off of Julia Child's recipe.
I also made Balsamic Roasted Vegetables. *Spoiler alert: they were AMAZING.* I'm going to share the recipes for both dishes today and I took lots of pictures to help explain the steps...and to make your mouth water, because I'm cruel like that.
First up: Beef Bourguignon. When I first considered making this I was slightly daunted, because I'd heard all about how difficult and long a process the making of it is. But as I was searching for the recipe I wanted to use, I stumbled upon this gem of a recipe. Easy, I repeat, easy beef bourguignon. I was elated.
As most of you know, bourguignon calls for red wine. I've never cooked with WINE before. I felt totally snooty.
Anyway, getting to the good stuff: Gather your ingredients for the bourguignon. No need to start on the roast veggies yet, you'll have plenty of time for that.

Heat some oil in an awesome Dutch oven like this one:

Chop up the bacon and onions and throw them in the preheated pot to saute till brown.

While those are sauteing (and filling your kitchen with delicious aromas) dry your stew meat well on paper towels. This is essential to getting it nicely browned. Which is your next step after removing the sauteed onions and bacon out of the pot, while leaving the bacon fat in. To avoid overcrowding, you'll have to brown the meat in several batches. After all the meat is brown, put all the meat back in the pot, and dump the flour in, stirring to coat the meat. Then you add your beef stock, wine, herb bouquet and reserved bacon and onions (make sure there is enough liquid to cover the meat).

Now just let all that simmer for 2 hours. And yes, by the time it's all done cooking, that herb satchel is going to look like a drowned, hairy mouse, just remind yourself that it's not when you fish it out of the pot.
Now it's time for those amazing veggies:

Chop them all up and toss them in oil and balsamic vinegar so they look like this:

Roast the peppers and green beans for about 20 minutes and roast the rest of the veggies for about 40, depending on how tender you want them.
As those are roasting, you can finish up the Bourguignon. Chop up some mushrooms and drain some pearl onions:

Dump them in the pot and simmer it for 30 more minutes. And's time to chow down. Let's just say the French know what they are doing when it comes to food.

Yeah, be jealous. Or make it for yourself. Here's the recipes:

Ginette Mathist's Beef Bourguignon
1 Tbs. oil
3 oz. onions, chopped
3.5 oz. thick cut bacon, diced
1.5 lbs. stewing beef, patted dry
Scant 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cups beef stock
1 1/4 cups red wine (I used Burgundy)
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs parsley)
Black pepper
3.5 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 jar pearl onions (these weren't in the original recipe, but were a very good idea I had)
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and bacon and cook, stirring, until browned. Remove and set aside; leaving fat in pan. Add beef and brown on all sides, browning in multiple batches to avoid crowding the pan.
Return all beef to the pot and add the flour, stirring until browned and then add stock. Stir, scraping bottom of pan, then add reserved bacon and onions, wine and the bouquet. Season with pepper. Simmer very gently for two hours. Add mushrooms and pearl onions and cook 30 minutes more. Remove bouquet and discard. Season with salt and serve.

Balsamic Roast Vegetables
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 vidalia onion, cut in wedges
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cored, seed and cut in 2 inch pieces
1/2 bag baby carrots
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together vinegar and oil. Add sweet potatoes, carrot, squash and onions and toss until well coasted. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large cookie sheet and spread into and even layer. Roast for 40-45 minutes. Meanwhile, toss red peppers and green beans in remaining liquid and spread in a even layer on another cookie sheet. Add to oven and roast for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with the leftover liquid and season with salt and pepper.

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