Tag Archives: French

Beef Bourguignon

This is one of our favorite recipes. It’s time-consuming to prepare, but absolutely delicious. The ingredients:

  • Beef, 3 pounds, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Bacon, thick-cut, 6-8 slices
  • Red wine, 2 cups, divided
  • Onions, 2 medium, thinly sliced
  • Carrots, 4 medium, diced
  • Celery, 3 stalks, diced
  • Mushrooms, 1 pound, quartered
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
  • Tomato paste, 1 tablespoon (or more, if you don’t want to waste the rest)
  • Chicken broth, 1-2 cups
  • Thyme, 3-4 sprigs, fresh
  • Bay leaf, 1

You may also want to serve with paste, or a baguette, or with chopped parsley to garnish.

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The ingredients.

The first step is to chop up the bacon, and fry it, like so:

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Bacon in a pan.

Remove the bacon from the pan – you’ll add it later. And remove most of the bacon grease as well; leave just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

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Bacon outside a pan.

Prepare your beef with as much salt and pepper as you prefer.

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Peppered beef!

Then begin to sear the cubes in batches. Don’t crowd the meat, and be sure to let it char a bit before you dislodge it. You’re not actually trying to cook it thoroughly; instead, you’re simply searing it in the bacon fat.

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Deliciousness.

Once you’re done with a batch, put the cubes in your slow cooker.

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In the slow cooker.

Add a bit of the wine to the pan, a quarter cup each time, to dislodge and scrape off whatever bits of meat may remain, pour/scrape those into the slow cooker, as well. Continue until all the beef is prepared.

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Cleaning the pan with wine.

Next, prepare your carrots, celery, and onion.

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Veggies, sweet veggies.

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Oh, and onions too.

Fry the onion in some more of the bacon grease until it’s browned, and then add in the carrots and the celery; cook until soft.

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Now they’re golden.

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Cooked in bacon grease.

Then add in a few more ingredients – the garlic and the tomato paste. Cook until fragrant, and then add the whole mixture to the slow cooker.

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With garlic and tomato paste.

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Then into the slow cooker.

Make sure the pan is clean, and then add more of the bacon grease; add the mushrooms when it’s warm, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt (to help release the liquid from the mushrooms). Cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Then set the mushrooms aside – you’ll add them later, just like the bacon.

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Before.

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And after.

As for the stuff in the slow cooker, you slow cook it. Covered, on low, for 8 hours or so. Before you do, add in a teaspoon of salt, the bay leaf, and the sprigs of thyme. Also pour in the rest of the wine and the chicken broth; the liquid should come about three-quarters of the way to the top of the ingredients.

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Slow cooking.

Then, in 6-8 hours, mix in the mushrooms and the bacon, and enjoy (perhaps with pasta or good bread). It’s delicious!

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Croque-Monsieur

When I was in France, I fell in love with the Croque-Monsieur sandwich, and I tried to find a recipe that would allow me to make its deliciousness myself. This is that recipe. The ingredients:

  • White loaf bread, like French or Italian, sliced (NOT sourdough)
  • Sliced ham
  • Dijon mustard
  • Gruyère cheese, 6 oz, grated
  • Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup, grated
  • Milk, 1.5 cups
  • Flour, 2 tablespoons
  • Butter, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Nutmeg (to taste)
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The ingredients.

You may find that the Gruyère cheese is a bit hard to find. And expensive. We got ours at Aldi, where it’s tolerable.

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The Gruyère.

First, grate the cheeses, slice the bread, etc etc.

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Grated cheeses.

Then put the butter in the pan and melt over low heat. We’re going to make a béchamel sauce with which to coat the sandwiches.

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Melting butter.

Meanwhile, you can start toasting some bread.

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Toasty.

Melt the butter until it just starts to bubble. Then add the flour and whisk until smooth.

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Bubbly butter.

Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, until it thickens.

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Milk added.

Remove from the heat, add your salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and then stir in the parmesan and 1/4 cup of the Gruyère. They should melt , even though heat is no longer being applied, and further thicken up the sauce.

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The sauce.

Next, coat the toasted bread with a thin layer of mustard.

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Mustard!

Then add ham, and before putting the two halves of the sandwich together, add in some of the grated Gruyère.

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Sandwich assembly.

Add more of the Gruyère on top, and then also spoon over with a healthy portion of the sauce.

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Add stuff on top.

Finally, bake for five minutes at 400 degrees, and then broil for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the cheese topping is bubbly and browned. Then, enjoy!

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Bake, and then broil.

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So much yumminess.

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