Ah, turns out that winter has arrived in Minnesota more than a month early. Not good news for those of us who dislike living in cold, colorless darkness for half the year, sigh. But we make the best of it, hearty souls and all that, blah, blah, blah. Please bear with me while I use a warm kitchen and cozy soups and stews to prevent myself from losing my mind. (Hot yoga and long baths help too...)
At least someone likes the snow. (Puppy Louis is so cute in it that he almost has me liking it too. Almost.)
So, boeuf bourguignon, on my radar not just because of the weather, but also because it's gotten a lot of buzz post-Julie & Julia (the movie). And deservedly so - beef braised in wine with bacon, mushrooms, and onions, rich and decadent and deeply beefy, is perfect on a snowy October's day. The French may not eat it much these days, but we Americans do and how lucky for us. As Julia writes it, it's a somewhat complicated recipe, but I've pared it down by a few steps and lost none of the delicious flavor. For one, there's really no need to boil the bacon before browning it. And coating the sauteed beef in flour, then roasting it for a few minutes before plunging it into the wine, is unnecessary - the flour is there to thicken the sauce a bit, and can quite easily just be sprinkled into the pan before whisking in the liquid. I also cut the meat into larger pieces than called for - I find braising meat in pieces smaller than 4-inches square tends to dry it out (I carve/pull the meat into bite-size pieces to serve). Nothing major, just little tweaks here and there that streamline things a bit and make the recipe very nice for a relaxed, Sunday afternoon's braise.
Recipe here. (Gratuitous puppy in the snow pics below.)