Easy Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

Easy Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

Beef Burgundy on Polenta

Warm weather’s on its way and with that, the end of slowly simmered or roasted dishes at our home. In anticipation of warmer days, I decided to make one of my favorite cold weather dishes: Boeuf Bourguignon or just beef cooked in Burgundy wine (I actually like a heavier wine for this dish, don’t judge).

If you haven’t invested in a heavy duty cast iron Dutch oven, just do it. You’ll use it all the time. If you want to, you could make the recipe through step 4 and throw everything in a slow cooker to cook for 8 hours. Up to you….I just love the long, slow simmered cook and the periodic stirring of the pot.

For you purists, this isn’t a very traditional recipe, just go along, it’s tasty. I served this dish over my Easy Creamy Polenta.

Ingredients:

  • 9 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 3 pounds beef chuck, cubed into large bite size pieces (you can find this already done in your grocery store)
  • 4 slices slab bacon, diced
  • 1 large Spanish onion, medium diced
  • 2 carrots, medium diced
  • 3 celery ribs, medium diced
  • 1 pound Cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 cups Cabernet Sauvignon or other dry full-bodied red wine
  • 32 ounces beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme

Directions:

  1. Warm 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
  2. Add the salt and pepper to the flour then sprinkle over the beef. Toss to coat then shake beef pieces to remove excess flour.
  3. Sear half the beef in the hot oil until browned, about 4 minutes total and then remove to a platter. Repeat with the second half of the beef and 3 more tablespoons of oil and transfer to the first batch of beef on the platter and set aside.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the bacon and cook stirring occasionally until a little browned, 4 minutes. Add the onions, the carrots and the celery to the bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the wine and broth and scrape all the brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the beef back to the pot with the bay leaves and the thyme.
  5. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover tightly and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to low and cook for another 2 hours, covered.
  6. At this point, you can serve the beef or cool the pot completely and refrigerate overnight. To reheat the next day, an hour prior to serving, take the pot out of the fridge and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Warm the beef in the oven for about an hour, basting the meat with the sauce every 15 minutes.

Makes 6 hearty servings.

Easy Beef Burgundy (Boeuf Bourguignon)
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Ingredients
  1. • 9 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  2. • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, for dredging
  3. • 1 tsp. each salt and pepper
  4. • 3 pounds beef chuck, cubed into large bite size pieces (you can find this already done in your grocery store)
  5. • 4 slices slab bacon, diced
  6. • 1 large Spanish onion, medium diced
  7. • 2 carrots, medium diced
  8. • 3 celery ribs, medium diced
  9. • 1 pound Cremini mushrooms, chopped
  10. • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  11. • 3 cups Cabernet Sauvignon or other dry full-bodied red wine
  12. • 32 ounces beef broth
  13. • 2 bay leaves
  14. • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. 1. Warm 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
  2. 2. Add the salt and pepper to the flour then sprinkle over the beef. Toss to coat then shake beef pieces to remove excess flour.
  3. 3. Sear half the beef in the hot oil until browned, about 4 minutes total and then remove to a platter. Repeat with the second half of the beef and 3 more tablespoons of oil and transfer to the first batch of beef on the platter and set aside.
  4. 4. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the bacon and cook stirring occasionally until a little browned, 4 minutes. Add the onions, the carrots and the celery to the bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the wine and broth and scrape all the brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the beef back to the pot with the bay leaves and the thyme.
  5. 5. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover tightly and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to low and cook for another 2 hours, covered.
  6. 6. At this point, you can serve the beef or cool the pot completely and refrigerate overnight. To reheat the next day, an hour prior to serving, take the pot out of the fridge and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Warm the beef in the oven for about an hour, basting the meat with the sauce every 15 minutes.
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Creamy Soft Polenta

Creamy Soft Polenta

Polenta is comfort in a bowl and ultra-easy to make. It’s a perfect complement for hearty toppings like short ribs, boeuf Bourguignon or sautéed mixed mushrooms. It’s also delicious served on its own with an extra grating of Parmesan.

This week, I served my polenta with rich, delectable boeuf Bourguignon (beef in Burgundy sauce) and it was fabulous. Since it was just two of us, I simply halved the below recipe. The polenta will congeal into the shape of the dish it’s stored in so I often make the recipe below and store the leftovers in a square container in the fridge then ‘unmold’, cut into squares and pan fry slabs of cheesy deliciousness to serve with grilled Portobello mushrooms.

I use a combination of medium and finely-ground corn meal for smoothness with just a bit of texture but you can use a cup of either one instead. No need to buy two kinds of corn meal if you don’t want to.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup medium stone ground corn meal
  • ½ cup fine stone ground corn meal   
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 1 Tbsp. for garnish
  • 1 cup white cheddar (optional but best)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Polenta on Beef Burgundy

Directions:

  1. Over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and reduce heat to medium. While whisking, add the corn meal in a slow, steady stream. Whisk vigorously for a minute, until thickened a bit. Lower heat to medium-low and cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring every minute or so in order to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the butter and stir until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the Parmesan and stir until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the cheddar (if using) and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Serve immediately with a dusting of pepper and the reserved Parmesan.

Makes 4 servings.

Easy Creamy Polenta
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Ingredients
  1. • 4 cups water
  2. • 1 tsp. salt
  3. • ½ cup medium stone ground corn meal
  4. • ½ cup fine stone ground corn meal
  5. • 4 Tbsp. butter
  6. • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 1 Tbsp. for garnish
  7. • 1 cup white cheddar (optional but best)
  8. • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. 1. Over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and reduce heat to medium. While whisking, add the corn meal in a slow, steady stream. Whisk vigorously for a minute, until thickened a bit. Lower heat to medium-low and cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring every minute or so in order to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan.
  2. 2. Add the butter and stir until fully incorporated.
  3. 3. Add the Parmesan and stir until fully incorporated.
  4. 4. Add the cheddar (if using) and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. 5. Serve immediately with a dusting of pepper.
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Crustless Chipotle Cheesy Quiches

Crustless Chipotle Cheesy Quiches

cooked-quichesI’m one of the ambassadors for #FoodieChats, a Monday evening Twitter chat where we socialize with thousands of foodies about all things food! Every week, we welcome a sponsor who informs us, in a fun way, about its products or services. This week, Sartori Cheese is our sponsor, and eventhough I don’t do a lot of product reviews, when Sartori Cheese offered to send me a few of their cheeses, I accepted – who doesn’t love cheese!

My really tough task, was to come up with a recipe featuring the delish cheeses sent to me. REALLY tough…not! I actually came up with two recipes, and I’m sharing the first one below. It’s a quick dish you can make on Sundays that are fast to reheat in the microwave during those busy weekday mornings.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat 6 of the cups of a 12 muffin pan with cooking spray, be generous.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl (for easy pouring, I use an 8-cup measuring cup), whisk the eggs with the water, salt and pepper until fully blended, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour an equal amount of the egg mixture into the 6 muffin cups.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese equally over the egg mixture.
  6. Place the muffin pan on a sheet tray (in case of drips) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the egg is no longer runny – the quiches will be puffy like a soufflé.
  7. Allow the quiches to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes then unmold and let cool completely.
  8. Store the quiches in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use – up to a week.
  9. To reheat, place two quiches on a plate, cover with a paper towel and microwave for 60-90 seconds.

Makes 3 servings (2 quiches each).

About Sartori

Sartori, a fourth-generation family owned company, has proudly produced award-winning, artisan cheese for customers worldwide since 1939. Rooted in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Sartori’s emphasis on a high-quality and handcrafted approach to cheesemaking is a timeless family tradition. For more information, please visit www.sartoricheese.com.

Cheers,

Veronique

Sugarpova Chocolate Mousse

Sugarpova Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse CupA few weeks ago, I was approached by a new chocolate line to create an exclusive recipe using its product. I don’t typically do product reviews, but I was intrigued since the new brand, Sugarpova Premium Chocolates, is by Maria Sharapova, the international tennis sensation, who is the company’s founder.

Sugarpova offers a decadent collection of 100g chocolate bars in Dark, Milk, Dark with Toasted Coconut and Milk with Strawberry. The unique product is non-GMO, Certified Kosher, Halal and made with natural ingredients. The bars have a suggested retail price of $3.99 to $4.99 and are available at www.sugarpova.com.

The samples I received were:

Sugarpova Bars

DARK CHOCOLATE COCONUT – “50% cocoa dark chocolate is made all the richer with the delightful addition of toasted coconut. A match made in heaven, you’re sure to fall in love with this tempting combination”.

MILK CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY – “Is there anything better than chocolate dipped strawberries? Treat yourself to a taste of luxury anytime with the only bar that combines creamy milk chocolate with the flavor of fresh strawberries”.

70% COCOA DARK CHOCOLATE – “Kick back, relax, and indulge in the full-bodied flavor of 70% premium dark chocolate. Not too sweet, it engages all your senses with every perfect bite”.

MILK CHOCOLATE – “Take a break from the hustle and bustle with a smooth, creamy bite of premium milk chocolate. We won’t tell if it ends up being more than just one bite”.

I wanted to use as many of the bars as I could in my recipe, but since I’m not a coconut fan, I skipped using that one. I thought of doing a mousse as soon as I saw the chocolate/strawberry bar – what a great compliment in flavors! I combined the strawberry bar with the milk chocolate one in the mousse and topped each serving with a healthy grating of the dark chocolate. I plated a couple different ways to showcase the mousse in various portion sizes and appearance.

Ingredients:

  • 1 100g Sugarpova Milk Chocolate bar and 1 100g Sugarpova Milk Chocolate Strawberry bar, chopped into small pieces (could also use 200g semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1-ounce piece of Sugarpova Dark Chocolate, optional

Directions:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to cook for another 30 seconds. Allow to cool while proceeding with the following steps.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the tablespoon of sugar to the cream. Beat for 2-3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  3. In a metal or heat-resistant glass bowl placed over a saucepan of barely simmering water, combine the remaining sugar and the egg yolks. Whisk the mixture for 3 minutes until smooth, fluffy and doubled in volume.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, combine the melted and cooled chocolate with the yolk mixture until no eggy streaks are left.
  5. Gently fold half the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Once fully combined, add the remaining whipped cream and again, gently fold in. Don’t overmix, you want this light and fluffy – a few darker chocolate streaks are okay.
  6. Pipe or spoon the mousse into single-serving size dishes or glasses and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. The mixture will feel a bit runny but that’s okay, the mousse will stiffen after chilling.
  7. Grate the dark chocolate over the individual mousse cups and serve.

About Sugarpova: Sugarpova continues to have double-digit growth year after year since its launch. Currently, the brand has retail penetration in 22 countries all over the world and is sold in a variety of retail partners and online. The founder and international tennis sensation is Maria Sharapova, whose sweet tooth and love for little indulgences, motivated her to create a candy company specializing in gummies and sweets of quality and craftsmanship. For more information, visit http://www.sugarpova.com.

Cheers,

Veronique

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Day 6 of my “12 Days of Baked Goods” series!

Flourless Chocolate CakeA few weeks back, I had the pleasure of lunching at the adorable (and delicious) Choc-O-Pain French Bakery & Café in Hoboken, NJ (see my review for Jersey Bites). While there, I had the chance to sample the decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake that’s made with high-quality chocolate and creates a cake that’s both fudgy and cake-like.

I was able to get the scaled down recipe from the fine folks at Choc-O-Pain and am sharing with you. Note that I upped the chocolate to 6 ounces and it created a more fudgy than cake-like texture, which was also AMAZING. A light dusting of powdered sugar and you’ve got a perfect holiday dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup pure cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Butter or coat in cooking spray an 8-inch round cake pan and line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
  3. Melt chocolate and butter in a large bowl over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl, risking scorching.
  4. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together sugar, salt and eggs. When thoroughly incorporated, carefully whisk in cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Pour melted mixture into cocoa, sugar mixture, mix thoroughly.
  5. Fill the cake pan with batter. Bake until center springs back (about 25-30 minutes). Allow to cool.
  6. Dust the cake with the powdered sugar, if using.

Yield: Makes one 8-inch cake and can easily serve 8-10.

Simple French Recipes for Bastille Day

Bastille DayDo you need an excuse to eat delicious French food? Bastille Day, today July 14, just might be the answer!

Bastille Day commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. Festivities and official ceremonies are held all over France1.

Here are 10 simple recipes for popular French dishes that you can make an enjoy any day of the year.

Vive la France – or at least French food!

Santé,

Veronique

Source: 1 Wikipedia

Basic Crepe Batter Recipe

Basic Crepe Batter Recipe

Crepe with Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar

Crepe with Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar

This simple batter is best made the day before and refrigerated.  Great stuffed with hazelnut spread and raspberries.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Stir together flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Add milk, oil and eggs.  Mix well until the batter is smooth.  Let rest in refrigerator for at least an hour or ideally overnight.
  3. Heat large frying pan on medium-high heat.  Add 1 tsp vegetable oil.  Add ¼ of the crepe batter and swirl plan to create a thin crepe. Cook 1 minute on each side and serve with favorite topping.

Makes 4 crepes.

Lobster Thermidor Dip

Lobster Thermidor Dip

Lobster Thermidor DipWhen I was a small kid growing up in Quebec in the late 70s and early 80s, THE indulgent, luxurious dish one could treat herself to was Lobster Thermidor. I remember my mom raving about it and all I knew is that only the best restaurants served it.

According to Wikipedia, “Lobster Thermidor was created in 1894 by Marie’s, a Parisian restaurant near the theatre Comédie Française, to honor the opening of the play Thermidor by Victorien Sardou”.

In this dip, I used some of the flavors of the original dish to create a casual way to enjoy it. Don’t have any lobster on hand? Don’t fret – just use crab or shrimps.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry or brandy
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs. minced flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup heavy cream (could use light cream)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cooked fresh lobster meat, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and sauté 1 minute, stirring to ensure even cooking. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Add the sherry (or brandy), the white wine and the chicken broth and simmer 4 minutes, whisking frequently.
  2. Add the Parmesan cheese, the parsley, the cream and the Dijon mustard and simmer over medium-low heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with the salt and pepper.
  3. Add the lobster meat and gently stir to coat with the sauce.
  4. Pour the lobster mixture in a shallow, oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese and place under broiler for 1 minute or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. 
  5. Serve with crackers and crudités.

6 servings.

Meyer Lemon Madelaines

Meyer Lemon Madelaines

Meyer LemonsI just can’t help myself when I see Meyer lemons in the grocery store – I need to get them! Does it matter I had no plans to bake last weekend? No! I went ahead and bought a big bag of the bright yellow, juicy and sweet lemons.

While I would typically go for my standard Meyer Lemon Tart, I was in the mood for cookies, so when I saw this recipe by The Little Kitchen, I jumped at the chance to try my antique madeleine pan.

One tip, you might be tempted to overfill the madeleine pan with batter – don’t! You want a somewhat thin cookie that’ll be crisp on the outside (see photo below). Also, if you have two madeleine pans, you can bake all the cookies at once. I only have one pan, so I need to bake one batch, wait for the pan to cool then rebutter and flour for the second batch.

Right amount of batter

Right amount of batter

Madelaines Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. zest of two Meyer lemons
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
  • ½ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt

Meyer Lemon Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
Glazed Meyer Lemon Madelaines

Glazed Meyer Lemon Madelaines

Madelaines Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a madeleine pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt). Set aside.
  3. In another medium bowl, add sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix together with a rubber spatula. Using a whisk, add the eggs, one at a time, to the sugar mixture. Whisk in melted butter, lemon juice and the Greek yogurt. In two batches, fold in flour mixture being careful not to over combine. Chill the batter for 5 to 10 minutes in the refrigerator.
  4. Using a teaspoon as a measure, spoon batter into Madeleine pan cavities. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes.
  5. Cool for 1 minute then flip over onto a baking rack and allow to cool for two minutes. Once cool enough to handle, wash you pan, butter and flour it and bake the second dozen cookies.  

Meyer Lemon Glaze Directions (While the cookies cool, make the glaze):

  1. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk and whisk until a smooth glaze has formed, about 1 minute.
  2. Drip the glaze over the cookies with a spoon and serve immediately. If storing cookies, don’t add glaze until ready to serve. Cookies are best when served right after baking.

Makes 2 dozen madelaines.

Seared Duck Magrets (Duck Breasts)

Seared Duck Magrets (Duck Breasts)

Seared DuckA few weeks back, I was sent some samples of Maple Leaf Farms duck that I literally prepared multiple ways. As simple as it is, I just find seared duck magrets/breasts to be one of my very favorite dishes, to make and eat.

I served this duck over a simply-prepared Porcini Mushroom Risotto but it would have also been great served with Duck Fat and Bacon Fingerling Potatoes using the duck fat rendered from cooking the magrets.

Duck Searing

Duck Searing

Ingredients:

  • 2 7 – 8-ounce magrets de canard (duck breasts)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Garlic cloves cut in matchstick pieces
  • 4-5 springs of fresh thyme
  • Sauce au Cassis
Duck Basting

Duck Basting

Directions:

  1. With the duck magrets cold from the refrigerator, use a sharp knife to score the layer of fat on the top of the duck diagonally to create a crisscross pattern – cut halfway through the fat but not into the meat.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Massage the salt all over the duck breasts. In a cold heavy-duty, oven-proof skillet, place the duck breasts, fat side-down, over medium-low heat. Allow the duck fat to render slowly for about 5 minutes, draining the fat from the pan into a heat-proof container for later use.
  4. Add the butter, garlic and thyme to the pan and turn the heat up to medium and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, basting the duck with the butter/garlic/thyme mixture, until the skin has browned and is crispy. Flip the duck to flesh-side down and place the skillet in the oven for about 5 minutes, until medium-rare (about 130 degrees on a thermometer).
  5. Place the duck on a platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Turn the duck skin side down on a cutting board and slice thinly.
  7. Serve with the Sauce de Cassis.

Makes 2 generous servings.