Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Beef Bourguignon

Source: Ina Garten

My husband and I recently went to Vegas and had a fabulous meal at Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris hotel. The entire meal was amazing, but in particular, their beef bourguignon blew my mind. It was so tender, so flavorful, so incredible. It took everything in me to not lick the plate! I have been thinking about this dish since then, and decided to give this version a go.


I don't mean to yell at you, really. But this is so fantastic and so special. I want to shout it from the rooftops. "I LOVE YOUR BEEF BOURGUIGNON, INA!"

The revisions I made were using brandy instead of cognac, and using turkey bacon instead of real bacon. It goes without saying this isn't a Weight Watchers meal. A lot of reviewers on the Food Network suggested things like letting the stew cool and skimming off the fat, using turkey bacon, and using a cornstarch slurry instead of the butter/flour mixture. But I say, what the hell. As long as you're not eating this EVERY day, you'll be fine.

If using turkey bacon, note it won't render as much fat as regular bacon. Adjust the heat in the pan as necessary.

I also left the pot in the oven for 2 hours. My suggestion would be to check on it after the recommended time, and then check every half hour until the meat is as tender as you'd like it.

We added in the pearl onions at the end, but I think next time we may leave them out. Neither of us ate them.

Instead of the bread, I made egg noodles as the stew was simmering the last 15 minutes, and then tossed them with a bit of butter and fresh minced parsley. Yum!

Beef Bourguignon


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
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir (I used a Pinot)
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
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 pearl onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Herb-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with Orzo

Source: Annie's Eats

I'm always looking for a new, easy chicken recipe. I love chicken - it's lean, easy to cook with, and I always have some! This recipe was simple and quite good!

Just last week my husband mentioned, "I never thought you would really COOK when I met you." That's true, I never used to actually make dinners! Throughout the years, I've been cooking more and more, and actually learning along the way. I've always said I can READ a recipe, but I really can't create anything new. The reason I bring up all this when I ate this recipe I thought, "Hmmm...I think some crushed tomatoes would be really good instead of the diced tomatoes, and maybe a little bit of white wine." It's kind of cool to me I'm getting to the point where I can actually TASTE something and think about how I could change it :)

Herb-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with Orzo

8 oz. orzo pasta, uncooked
2 chicken breasts, butterflied into halves (4 pieces total)
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups broccoli florets
½ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.

2. Season both sides of the chicken breast halves with salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly with the Herbes de Provence. Heat the olive oil in a 12- or 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breast halves to the pan and cook about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallot to the pan and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute, until fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes with juices and the broccoli florets to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer over medium-low. Add the chicken breasts and any accumulated juices back into the pan. Cover and let cook until the broccoli florets are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Stir in the cooked orzo, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Mix until well blended and the cheese has melted. If necessary, add some of the reserved pasta water to smooth out the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chicken Stew

Source: Elly Says Opa

This is one of those great, use-it-up recipes. You can toss pretty much ANYTHING from your fridge in this stew. Also, take out the potatoes and add noodles and you have a simple chicken soup recipe!

Chicken Stew

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 pound chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
4 oz. white or crimini mushrooms
1/2 lb. baby redskin potatoes, halved (skin-on)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
corn starch slurry (optional)

1. In a smallish stockpot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken pieces, just to brown, and then remove them. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Stir in the carrots, celery and garlic until the garlic is just fragrant, about a minute.

2. Pour the wine into the pot to deglaze, being sure to get the browned chicken bits off the bottom of the pot. Reduce the wine slightly over medium high heat.

3. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, potatoes, chicken, mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer until potatoes are fork tender and chicken is cooked through.

If you want, add a corn starch slurry at this point and boil about a minute uncovered.

Stir in the peas and serve.