Thursday, December 17, 2009


164_beef_bourguignon_p440, originally uploaded by thompswl.
Several months ago I promised to cook one Julia Child recipe every two weeks...then law school got in the way. What better way to celebrate the end of my semester then with Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon? I'm currently living in my parent's very charming carriage house, so my Mom and I decided to undertake this one together. In the end my Mom did more of the work since I decided to make Martha's Pistachio Dacquoise for dessert. I must say Julia's recipes are much more straight forward than Martha's but I'll share my troubles and triumphs with the Dacquoise in my next post. Back to the Boeuf. Some tips, make sure you have several huge pots, give yourself all afternoon, and don't fret if you can't find huge slabs of bacon the regular stuff works just fine. Julia traditionally serves her Bourguignon with potatoes but I thought it would be better over wide egg noodles. The photo I'm using isn't my Boeuf Bourguignon as I never got a very appetizing shot. It isn't the prettiest dinner, but it really is amazingly delicious.

Boeuf Bourguignon:

6 ounces bacon
1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
Crumbled bay leaf
Blanched bacon rind
18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
Parsley sprigs
Remove rind from bacon, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers
very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

When the melt is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For immediate serving: Covet the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Copyright © 1961, 1983, 2001 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted by arrangement with the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.


Charleston Farmers Market Squash, originally uploaded by thompswl.
I've been wanting to try a Giada De Laurentis recipe for a while now and thought this one seemed appropriate given the cool fall weather. Although it takes a while to make, (don't start at 11pm) I think the result is worth the effort? I love butternut squash and it's always fun to take a classic recipe and give it a new twist. As a warning, the consistency is very different than that of traditional lasagna. The recipe says that it serves 8-10, I think a closer approximation is 10-20. Maybe I just got a particularly large squash? I made a few changes to the recipe substituting Barilla lasagna noodles for the no-boil variety (I don't like them), and I used ginger snaps instead of amaretti cookies because the only store open 24hrs didn't have them. I also baked the squash in the oven for an hour instead cutting it and cooking it on the stove top (I think it is easier) While the lasagna tastes delicious it isn't very pretty, a bit of a disclaimer for those of you that care about presentation. And Craig, just for you a video!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.


One of my best friends and a truly gifted cook has started a sure to check it out. I have first hand knowledge that the Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake is incredible.

Dutch Apple Pancakes

Apple Pancakes, originally uploaded by thompswl.

I'm deep into study mode with finals fast approaching (too fast I fear) but that didn't stop me from indulging in this delightful treat! Apple pancakes have been a bit of an exam tradition since my first introduction junior year at Miami. While not exactly a heathy treat I like to think that they are a good alternative to the red bull, and M & M diet I fall prey to during finals. After all they have apples, right? No recipe ever puts enough brown sugar or cinnamon in for my liking so I just add generous amounts of both. The key to the recipe is adding the brown sugar on top of the apples as soon as they begin to get soft in the pan. I used about 1/2 cup, use more or less depending on how sweet you want your Dutch Baby.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick/2 oz./56g) unsalted butter
1 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Put oven rack in middle position of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C.

Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over moderate heat, then transfer 2 tablespoons to a blender. Add apple wedges to skillet and cook, turning over once, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

While apple is cooking, add milk, flour, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt to butter in blender and blend until smooth.

Pour batter over apple and transfer skillet to oven. Bake in preheated oven until pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.

Makes 2-4 servings.