January 27, 2008

"Love, Honor, and WHAT!?!?

The Scene: A dark and rainy day. A man. A woman. Standing in the kitchen. The man is restless, talking, hungry. The woman is listening with her usual good cheer and patience. She is sniffling, hair in a deranged ponytail, and in her robe, because she has been fighting a cold for a couple of days. But she gazes with adoration at the man.

He: “So, when you are going to make that beef stuff again???”

She: (with a light background of harp music and chirping birds) “Why, darling, whatever do you mean?”

He: “You know! That stew that woman, uh, what’s-her-name, makes? Bare Feet Princess? Whatever food show you watch all the time – the really good meat stew! Come on, that stuff is good! I’m really hungry!”

She: (cute little clouds of happiness and rainbows surrounding her angelic face) “Why sweetheart, I think who you mean is, “The Barefoot Contessa” and you probably are remembering the "Beef Bourguignon"! I’ve made that a number of times and you loved it!”

He: “Yeah. Whatever. Make that.”

She: (tiny feathers of angel wings sprouting from her shoulders) “Why, my pumpkin, I would be so honored to prepare that for you! Shall I get you a beer and rub your feet before I begin? And then, while you’re napping on the couch with a bag of Fritos on your stomach, I’ll start a load of laundry and then I’ll run to the supermarket in this pouring rain to get all the ingredients and I will also get you some hunting magazines, 12 Snicker bars, and some Slim Jims – is that ok, my peach popsicle??”

Background noise of flying wooden spoon hitting a soft surface and then....a yowl.

Fade to the man and woman walking into Olive Garden, mid-afternoon. Man is looking a bit....under the weather. He is holding umbrella over the woman’s head and mumbling.
The woman glances up and smiles ever so sweetly. He holds the door open for her. They disappear into the restaurant. (Hallelujah chorus in the background.)

For all you kitchen saints out there, I offer this insanely delicious Beef Bourguignon recipe from Ina Garten. (from the book below) This is such a pleasure to make and serve…it really deserves a…very appreciative audience. If you get my drift.

Ina would never put up with any husband nonsense, I just know it. She’d just go out to dinner with one of her decorator pals.

“Beef Bourguignon – Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)”

Serves 6

1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 ½ pounds chuck beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 10inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
½ cup Cognac
1 bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced.

For serving:
Country bread or Sour Dough bread toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove.
½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon, and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan, and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minutes. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 ¼ hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork, and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of garlic bread, and sprinkle with parsley.

If I feel better tomorrow,

I'm making this. I may share.


Emiline said...

Bravo! That was a good little play you wrote. You're a fabulous author!
I adore Ina and all of her recipes.
I've never made beef bourguignon, but I want to. I've never made coq au vin, either. What's up with that?

Hope you feel better. It seems like everyone is sick.

Jenny said...

Catherine you are hillarious! I thoroughly enjoyed the story, too funny! I've seen that show when Ina makes that Beef Bourguignon, always makes my mouth water.

Get well soon girl!

You going to join the Daring Bakers? It's fun to see everyone's take on the same recipe.

Catherine said...

Thanks! I think I was a little foggy from being a bit sick, so just a little nuts!
That recipe is so good...and if you need a great coq au vin, Anthony Boudain's recipe is awesome!
I am better! Internet back up!!!

Catherine said...

Aw, shucks. You know that I may be exaggerating just a bit! Kurt is really a great Dad and perfect husband! I just keep that wooden spoon handy!
That Ina is my idol...how does she stay so cool, calm, and collected??
And that house of hers! Beautiful!

Catalyst said...

how does she stay so cool, calm, and collected?

Same way she cures her cold. She's Italian. She drinks red wine all day!

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"The Dish" by Catherine Wilkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.