I will never be able to give up eating winter dishes all year round. There is just something therapeutic about a pot of soup boiling or some beef ribs braising on the stove. Plus the way it makes the house smell beats any fragrance that Febreeze can ever make. However, if they could somehow manage to duplicate that wonderful bacon smell I would never leave the house.
Thankfully Saturday was the perfect sunny low 70s degree day and I was able to start on some outdoor tasks. I rented a power thatcher and just beat the living hell out of my yard. There is something else that is therapeutic about tools that require gas to operate and could put you in a hospital. I was more shocked by the amount of thatch that it pulled up and it filled a 3×3 compost bin more than halfway. If you do not know thatch is that nasty dead grass layer that gets matted down. Every couple of years it is good to remove it so the soil can be exposed and also makes it easier for fertilizer to get to the roots. On a side note does anyone have any good recipes for organic fertilizer?
Sunday we once again were faced with a large amount of rain. The best part was softball practice was canceled but I was stuck inside all day long. My mind started gravitating towards beef stew so time to visit the fridge and freezer to see what do I have available.
Beef Bourguignon is a classic French dish. The core of Beef Bourguignon is beef braised in red wine and garnished with pearl onions and mushrooms. I took a few liberties from the core dish such as I was to lazy to seperatly braise the pearl onions and the mushrooms in beef stock.
I am still amazed daily as I read other blogs how many people live in fear of changing around a recipe especially a classic. Recipes are meant to be adapted to your tastes! Heck the reason why some of the classic dishes did not include other ingredients is because the ingredient was unavailable. Unlike today where I can get avocado all year round even though I have never seen an avocado tree.
Do not fear people a ruler wielding nun is not going to break through your front door and start smacking your knuckles because you did not put exactly 223.5 grams of egg noodles in your dish.
This reminds me of an e-mail I received a couple weeks ago:
“Did you ever hear about the Mom who always cut the end off the ham prior to cooking her famous ham dinner? Her kids asked her why exactly she did that and she replied, “that is the way my Mom always prepared it”. After 20 minutes or so, as she reflected, she phoned her Mom and asked why exactly the ham got cut prior to putting in the pan for baking? Her Mom chuckled on the other line and then explained that often the hams she bought just didn’t fit into the pan quite right, and so she cut the end off to make it fit”
For this recipe you will need:
- 2 lbs of chuck roast cut into bite size pieces
- 1 bottle of wine
- 5 cloves of garlic diced
- 2 cups of chicken, beef, or veal stock (I used veal stock)
- 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- heavy pinch of crushed red pepper
- Couple good handfuls of peeled pearl or cipollini onions cut into bite size pieces
- 3 carrots cut into bite size pieces
- 2 stalks of celery cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes cut into bite size pieces
- Package of mushrooms cut into bite size pieces
- Couple potatoes cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup of frozen peas
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- High temperature oil and butter or leftover bacon grease
- All purpose flour
Toss the pieces of chuck roast in salt, pepper, and flour and shake off the excess. In your favorite Dutch oven over medium-high add in a good squirt of oil along with two tablespoons of either bacon grease or butter. Working in batches brown the chuck roast all over. After all the chuck roast has been browned add in the garlic, paprika, and tomato paste and cook for another minute.
Add the chuck roast back into the Dutch oven along with the bottle of wine, stock, oregano, thyme, rosemary, worcestershire sauce, and crushed red pepper. Let this mixture come to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let it cook for two hours. If you attempt to taste the sauce it will taste very bitter from the wine however, your patience will be rewarded.
Add to the pot the sun dried tomatoes, onions, celery, potatoes, and carrots. Bring the mixture back to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and let it cook for another 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes uncover the Dutch oven and add in the peas and cook for another 8 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the flavors. If the sauce tastes bitter add a squirt of honey.
Serve and enjoy!