*tap* *tap* Is This Thing On?
|What the hell is wrong with me?? Where the hell have I been?? Is the love affair with my blog waning? Am I getting that 7 year itch 5 years early? Have I stopped cooking and/or baking? I mean, seriously, WTF?|
I don't have a good answer. I've got at least 4 recipes I'd like to share, but the thought of sitting down and writing about them hasn't been a priority for me lately.. and really, I don't know why so much. Lots of little things, I guess?
Anyhoo, I'm hoping that my leave of absense (of sorts) is over and that I'll fall right back into my normal groove.. at least an update once a week for cryin' out loud. Hopefully more though. ;)
Have you missed me???? Ya'll had better of missed me. Yeah.. I'm looking at YOU.
Okay well the first recipe I want to share has probably gone around the foodie blog circuit many a-times. It's an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe. Her Beef Bourguignon. Holy cow. I'm pretty sure she is known for her take on this classic French dish, and she should be.. it was.. delectable.
This is a very easy stew to put together and there aren't any fancy tricks or techniques to making melt in your mouth beef & veggies in a delicious gravy - but for me it was an awe inspiring occasion as this Beef Bourguignon was the recipe I chose to christen my brand spankin' new 4 quart cast iron dutch oven. WOOT! If you people had any idea how badly I've wanted one (all) of these things, you'd be shocked. Or maybe you'd be shocked because no matter how badly I've wanted one, and even if I could afford one.. I refused to spend $200.00 on a Le Creuset dutch oven. I know! I know.. the money is well worth it.. they last forever and a day.. I know all of this, but still just the thought of laying down close to a car payment for a pot.. *shudder*
Well on our last day together, Helene and I (after dropping Mary off at the airport) decided to go see what Crate and Barrel had to offer.. you know, I always poo-poo this store - over priced crap! But what I never remember is that every time I've went in, I've managed to find the deal of the year. And their stuff really isn't crap - I'm just jealous that I don't have a $500 a month budget for kitchen gadgets & equipment, dinnerware, glasses and oh anything else that sends me in delicious shivers as I imagine how good it'd look in my wee kitchen.
And imagine my complete shock and utter delight when I found a Mario Batali cast iron, enamel coated, 4 quart dutch oven in a shade of red that matched my kitchen walls perfectly? 'kay now imagine how I peed my pants when I saw it was over 50% off - and I got the thing for $59.99!! Yes, Kmart shoppers - I found the blue light special!!! Le Creuset Le Schmeuset :P
Here.. drool with me!
Oh yeah, I totally believe that my Beef Bourguignon tasted that much better all because of my new Dutch oven! squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Courtesy of Ina Garten and FoodTV
1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced (I used 1 lg. Spanish onion)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac (I omitted)
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir (I went with Pinot Noir)
1 can (2 cups) beef broth (I went with beef stock)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.
My Notes: Okay the only thing that didn't work for me was the gravy thickening after I threw in the butter/flour mixture. So what I did was take a ladle full of the thin gravy and mixed it with a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl until it was smooth. Then I poured it back into the pot and continued to cook until the gravy thickened - about 3 minutes.
And my only suggestion for next time would be - unless you are a HUGE pearl onion fan? I'd cut that down to 1/2 pound or even a 1/4 pound - because 1 pound was way, way too many onions. =)
Not only did I choose this recipe to make to christen my sexy hot new Dutch oven, but this recipe also fell right into place when figuring out a weekly meal plan for $40.00 - which just happens to be this month's theme for that sexy thang, Sara's Weekend Cookbook Challenge! How good am I? AND it's an EARLY submission! Let's all wait for Sara to regain her composure and pick her cute lil butt up off of the floor... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
Okay! I decided to take this challenge to see if I really could figure out a weekly plan for $40.00 - and if so, then why the hell are my grocery bills so freakin' high?? Well.. I don't think I could do this every week. To come in at $40, we had to eat the Beef Bourguignon two nights in a row. That's something that doesn't happen in my household often. Hubbs is a strict non-believer in left overs. Yeah, he makes not wasting food a bit of an art for me. Thank God for my mommie and my co-workers. *sigh* But this stew was so amazingly good, that he did not complain.
Okay here's my menu:
Grand Total: $39.00! Not too shabby, eh? :D
Start looking on WCC and this month's hostess, Cady of $40 a Week's blogs around the 19th for the round up - should be quite interesting to see what everyone's meal plans look like. Also - if you are interested in participating (and you should be!) get your submissions to Cady at "gambini at gmail dot com" on or before Nov. 18th =)