Thursday, September 11, 2014

Beouf Bourguignon Ode to Film The Hundred-Foot Journey....

I finally made it to see The Hundred-Foot Journey and I loved it. Aside from watching such cute leading actors, the film awakened my inner love of French food which I have not cooked in a long while. There were the many scenes of chefs Hassan and Marguerite foraging wild mushrooms and the turning point where papa eats beef stew (beouf bourguignon) prepared by his son chef Hassan under the tutelage of his restaurant combat Madame Mallory and approves... both sides unite. And those elements my friends, are the inspiration behind my dishes tonight with my family!  

Beouf Bourguignon is a delicious famous French slow-simmering beef stew made with red wine, bacon, onions and mushrooms. Properly done and flavoured it is truly one of the most wonderful tasting beef dishes out there. Boiled potatoes are traditionally served and buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted, with a side of green peas. Taking my queues a la Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I arrived at this recipe, but there are many ways than one to achieve a great beouf bourguignon. My husband was pleasantly surprised tonight... growing up around French food in Montreal, Quebec, it is one of his all-time favourite dishes!

Beouf Bourguignon
Makes 6 servings

1 tsp. oil
6 slices bacon, chopped 
3 lbs. stewing beef (rump roast, sirloin tip, top or bottom rounds are in order of best choice), cut into 2" cubes.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 carrots, sliced 
2 Tbsp. flour
1 or 2 cups red wine (you may want to use 1 cup if you are serving to young children)
3 to 4 cups beef broth
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 cups small pearl onions, sauteed in 1 Tbsp. butter until browned about 10 minutes.
225 g white mushrooms, quartered
Italian parsley, chopped for garnish

Add 1 tsp. oil in skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the bacon about two minutes until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon into a pot; reheat until heat is smoking hot and start to sauté the beef in batches browning each side for two minutes- do not overcrowd. Set aside on a plate and repeat with the rest of the meat. The browning is a key part of the recipe as it imparts a caramelized taste and creates yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan that begins the sauce.

Add more oil if necessary and sauté the sliced onions and carrots. Return the beef and bacon to the skillet and toss with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the flour and toss to coat the beef and cook for a few minutes to crust the beef; add and toss with garlic and herbs. Add the (see cook's note) *pearl onions, *mushrooms, tomato paste and stir in the wine and broth to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil over the stove, cover and let simmer on low heat for 2-1/2 hours. The meat is done when the beef is easily pierced with a fork. Serve hot.

Make In Advance TIP: Cook ahead, cool and refrigerate to let flavours develop. About 20 minutes before serving, bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 15 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
TIP: If doing this in a slow-cooker, time-frame is the same on high-heat or six hours under low.

*Cook's Note: To keep things simple, I added mushrooms early with the cooking, however, traditionalists will tell you to blanch the mushrooms and throw them in during the last ten minutes so they retain their shape and texture. It depends on how you like your mushrooms and how easy you want to make your life. Pearl onions could also be added during the last 1/2 hour.

Voila!! Beouf bourguignon served over egg noodles and a side of peas. 
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a slice of garlic toast.

My second recipe is a quick side of sautéed mushrooms to serve over toasted baguette slices. Successfully sautéed mushrooms are lightly brown and exude juices when being cooked; to achieve this the mushrooms must be dry, the butter very hot, and the mushrooms must not crowd the pan, or their juices escape and they steam rather than fry and brown.

Butter Sautéed Mushrooms

1/2 lb. of mixed mushrooms (chanterelles, oyster, white and cremini), wiped with paper towel, left whole if small, sliced if large. TIP: washing mushrooms soak in water and doesn't lend well in this recipe
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 or 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onions or shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
a few dash of dried thyme (optional)
salt and black pepper
chopped parsley to garnish

Heat oil and butter in skillet/pan on high heat until butter foam begins to subside, indicating that it is hot enough; add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the skillet for four to five minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown lightly; then add the onions/shallots and garlic and cook over moderate heat for two minutes. Season to taste, garnish with parsley and serve as a side or on top of baguette slices.

My boys having a jolly time!! My little one Matias took one whiff of his plate and said "Mmmmm!" Bon Appétit!

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