Monday, March 7, 2011

An Invasion

     Today, our home was invaded by thirteen year old boys. It was actually a dinner party for my brother and five of his friends. So, I spent the day cooking for them. Kind of. I made the carrot cake last night, as you know, and my mom did all the prep for the main entree we prepared. So really, I was quite lazy. But, this main entree we made is a food that is quite famous, especially if you like Julia Child and have watched "Julie and Julia" or both. It is boeuf bourguignon!

     It is basically beef stewed for a couple of hours with garlic and carrots and onions and herbs and loads of red wine. Yummy. When I watched it being made in "Julie and Julia," it seemed hard. Something where lots of things could go wrong. But, it is not! Granted, I didn't use Julia Child's recipe, so maybe that one is fussier. The recipe my mom wanted to try is from "The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook," which has recipes by quartier in Paris. It is very cool, and you should check it out.

     Anyway, so we cut up carrots and onions and a beef shank. I browned the beef up, and then we let it stew. Meanwhile, I watched lots of Friends and NCIS. I do love cooking. Isn't it so therapeutic to just let things simmer? You don't have to do anything, and you get lovely smells wafting through the air. It makes me happy.

The finished carrot cake by the way. In case you were missing it :)
     So, the thirteen year olds chowed down on my fancy Frenchy dish. Don't believe me - it's not fancy at all, just homey goodness. Just melt in your mouth beef, soft carrots, and a gravy with sweetness and a great depth of flavor. I want more...But to get back to the point, the boys seemed to enjoy the dish, considering how little is now left. There was another dish on the table as well, but you will have to wait till tomorrow to see that one. Just enjoy what you get for now: really good Meat.

Boeuf Bourguignon 
Adapted from "The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook" by Danyel Couet 

1 Spicy Italian Pork Sausage 
2 lb Beef Shank 
1 tsp Salt 
1 tsp Pepper 
4 small Carrots 
2 tbsp Butter 
1 Large Onion, Minced 
5 Garlic Cloves, Sliced  
1 bottle (good if possible) Red Wine 
2 Bay Leaves 
1 tsp Dried Herb Mix 
1 cup Chicken Stock 
1/4 cup Parsley, Chopped 
4 in Baguette or Similar Hard Loaf
1 tbsp Olive Oil  


First, cut the beef into 2'' cubes and pat all the pieces dry with a paper towel. Add the salt and pepper to them and turn the pieces, so they are all seasoned. Also, chop the sausages into small pieces and the carrots into 1'' pieces.

You want the bread to be croutons. So, cut it into 1'' cubes. Pan fry the cubes in a little olive oil until they are crisp. Then, set them aside.

Making the Bourguignon:

First, heat a little oil in a very large saucepan and fry up the sausages. Take them out of the pan and set them aside. Then, heat the butter at medium heat in the same pan. Add the beef, and brown the pieces of meat on all sides. Don't crowd the pan, do it in two batches or more if you need to. Once the beef is browned, add the carrots, onion, and garlic. Fry at medium heat while stirring. After a few minutes, add the bottle of wine. Stir and scrape the pan to loosen any meat juices, then add the bay leaves and herb mixture. Pour in enough chicken broth that the meat is completely covered. After making sure that everything is thoroughly combined, cover the pot and let  simmer for two hours. Then, uncover, and take the pieces of meat and carrot out into a different bowl. Add the parsley to the remaining liquid, stir it in, raise the heat to medium high, and boil the liquid off until it has a "syrupy" consistency (which I took as - until it is slightly thick). Add a few pinches of salt, to taste, and then mix the meat and carrots back in. Heat everything up till it is hot again, and top it with croutons. Now, you are ready to serve! I suggest with mashed potatoes. 


  1. I'm with Govind and he just gave me the url. Awesome blog, interesting and especially great pictures. I can see that the beautiful picture of me is a very important part!


  2. The beautiful picture of you is the most important! Thanks again for being on the blog, and show the others if they are interested. I'm glad you liked it :)