Meet my Beef Burgundy (Boeuf Bourguignon)

wpid-wp-1417383482982.jpegI believe this is one of the most popular French dish known in the USA. It is traditionally cooked with red wine from Bourgogne (Burgundy region). This region of France is famous for it great wine, and its great beef, therefore you can imagine that the better wine and the better beef: the better the meal!

In my youth, I remember my family eating this sometimes on Sunday lunch, in fall and winter. We would go to mass for the 10 AM service, while the stew would be simmering. Once back home and hungry, we would be greeted by the familiar and promising smell…  My mum would make sure there was enough to have second serve, and usually served it with either boiled potatoes, pasta or plain rice.

Time has past, and I had a chance to taste many Bourguignon, from other friends and family, top restaurant tables, or hidden countryside restaurants… I experimented several variations and I am happy to offer below my recipe. This is the way I like it, with Read the rest of this entry »


The Pot-au-Feu (Pot on the fire): a warming family beef and vegetable stew

The “Pot-au-Feu”‘s origin can be found from the 17th century in France, about the same period as the “Poule au Pot”. This is a peasant dish, that later became popular in richer circles too. The basic recipe uses low cost meat, mostly beef and winter vegetables. We can assume that in the 17th century, it was an opportunity to eat the least presentable or leftover pieces of meat, as well as using whatever vegetables were easily grown in the family garden. According to chef Raymond Blanc, pot-au-feu is “the quintessence of French family cuisine, it is the most celebrated dish in France. It honours the tables of the rich and poor alike.”

Le Christ chez Marthe et Marie, detail, Jos Goemaer. circa 1600.

Le Christ chez Marthe et Marie, detail, Jos Goemaer. circa 1600.

Growing up in France, I definitely relate my memories of Pot-au-Feu to a Sunday lunch with the family gathered. The leftover were eaten cold the day after. (I am not crazy about having it cold, but since my very French husband loves it, I guess there is something worth a try!) Traditionally, we had first a bowl of the broth as a starter and then our serving of stew with all you can eat strong Dijon mustard and gherkins. As a child, I was not very attracted by the bone marrow that my mum and dad enjoyed spreading on warm toasted country bread, with a little coarse salt. But as a grown-up, I get it… I would say it is the French equivalent to Pork rinds…

This Pot-au-Feu recipe is broken down in easy fail-proof steps. I am doing my best for anyone who follows the steps to feel confident in the result. IT WLL TASTE WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE. Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, I wrote the optional ones in blue. Since there is not much short-cut to the cooking time, I am suggesting that you either: Read the rest of this entry »