I spent three whole hours this afternoon making homemade pierogi that ended up being too doughy to be truly delicious. I really could have used a pasta machine (and a miracle!).
So instead of dwelling on my disappointment, I decided to write about something I did very right recently: Bouef Bourguignon!
Although many people instantly think of Julia Child when Bouef Bourguignon is mentioned, my recipe is from Ina Garten. I first made the dish last February when I hosted a French-themed gourmet club meeting, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to pull the recipe back out when I hosted my Colorado family for dinner. Aside from the fact that the flavor is phenomenal, my favorite thing about this dish is that it actually tastes better if you make it a day or two ahead and gently reheat it for guests. The time required for prep work and cooking is a bit long, but it’s worth it for me; I’ll do almost anything to reduce day-of-dinner-party stress.
Bless The Washington Post… They reprinted the recipe exactly as written in Barefoot in Paris and saved me some trouble. (Food Network’s online recipe is close but not quite the same… I hate it when they leave things out!)
Here are my notes:
- I wasn’t able to find a single 2 1/2-pound beef chuck roast (pot roast), so I bought two smaller ones. This worked out perfectly because I was able to cut out the solid, fatty sections and just use the best parts of the meat.
- I used brandy instead of Cognac.
- Flambéing freaks me out, to be honest. Here’s my technique: I make sure all flammable things are at least three feet away from the stove, and then I point the end of my Bic Luminere lighter as far down as it will go. Standing back as far as possible, I hook the lighter over the edge of the pan and let ‘er rip. I jump every time!
- This time, I used a 2009 Domaine Jean Descombes (Georges Duboeuf) Morgon for the wine and it was fantastic! It kills me when people talk about using past-its-prime wine for cooking… The better the things you put into your cooking are, the better it will taste. I served a bottle alongside the dish as well.
- I reheated the stew for half an hour or so over medium-low heat before serving. (You don’t want to crank up the heat because you could overcook the meat and vegetables.)
- I served the stew over county bread that I toasted in the oven with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. I intended to rub the slices with a cut garlic clove before serving, but I didn’t feel like dealing with it at the time.
This was SO good. My friend Christopher (who had the privilege of tasting leftovers both times I made the dish) and I agreed that it was even better than my first attempt… I think I had a better cut of meat, a better bottle of wine, and a better handle on seasoning with salt and pepper this time around. With rich broth, tender meat, and a fantastic mix of vegetables, Bouef Bourguignon is perfect winter comfort food and an ideal option for entertaining. I love it!
Recipe link: Bouef Bourguignon