HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Burgundy Beef Stew adapted from Saveur's "New Comfort Food"


Confession Time:  Those vegetables that look like potatoes?
They are potatoes served alongside the dish the night before.
Since I didn't get a photograph then, this picture was taken the next day
with the leftovers potatoes added to the stew.


         When we entertain, I love to do things that will keep me out of the kitchen once the guests have arrived.  And in winter, a great braise is a perfect way to do it.  And if you’re choosing a great beef dish, Boeuf Bourguignon is an obvious choice.  However, who can forget Julie and Julia, the movie where the young blogger cooks her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking?  In case you have forgotten, Julie was doing fine until the day she arrived at Julia’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon.   There she failed miserably. I am not entirely sure of the details but Julie fell asleep and the stew went awry.  As ridiculous as it sounds, that scared me off Julia’s recipe. Instead, I pulled out Saveur’s “The New Comfort Food. Home Cooking from around the World” (Chronicle Books 2011). I have used this cookbook with great success. In fact, I find Saveur and James Oseland, editor of both this book and the magazine, are completely trustworthy where recipes are concerned.  This recipe was listed as “Burgundy-Style Beef Stew”.  There’s not necessarily a lot different about it from the recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon.  At least there wasn’t until I started fiddling with it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

90 Minute Coq au Vin from Cook's Illustrated


  
Julia Child with her "Coq"
         Cold winter nights are made for eating Coq au Vin.  And on a cold winter afternoon, the aroma of this great French classic cooking fills the kitchen with comfort.   A “Coq” is French for rooster and there lies the rub. In France, roosters were kept as long as they were good breeders.  They lived for several years before they were slaughtered.  They needed long and slow braising—often four hours on the stove--before they could be considered edible.   Red wine not only added flavor, it helped tenderize the old meat of the rooster.  Julia Child is credited with introducing Americans to the dish.  It was one of her signatures.  Wisely, Julia eschewed using roosters or capons and instead used a whole, young, cut-up chicken, something the French had also glommed onto by this time.   This greatly affected the cooking hours for the better.  Julia’s original recipe can be on the table in about 2 1/2 hours.  That may not sound like an unreasonable amount of time for something that is this good.  But in 2006, Cook’s Illustrated decided that this “basic chicken stew” shouldn’t even take that long to cook.  So they set about to make it start to finish in 90 minutes.  And I have to say, they did a bang up job.