There was always a lot of chatter and laughter coming from our kitchen. These Sundays sharing recipes were a lot more than just about food: it formed a bond between them that kept our family close.
My mother moved back to Japan in 1996, taking with her the recipe card box she had used throughout her 25 years in Canada. French and Italian recipes mostly, along with some old American classics like ambrosia. She rarely cooks these days but whenever I come visit, she always asks me to make boeuf bourguignon. My recipe is different than hers but the basic flavors I tried to achieve come from her version. It was a trial and error of dry vs soupy, bland vs too salty, that eventually found grace and balance. This is the updated version of my first boeuf bourguignon recipe.
A classic boeuf bourguignon has a higher ratio of beef vs carrots but I prefer it equally half and half.
Suggestions for a classy French dinner at home:
Start dinner with a braised frisee salad, follow with boeuf bourguignon and finish with a fruit sorbet. If you live near a bakery, a chocolate eclair or milles-feuilles are famous French desserts. Bon appetit!
- 6 carrots, peeled and chopped bite size
- 1 lb beef (stewing beef), chopped bite size
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cup red wine (your favorite bottle)
- 2 cup beef broth (optional, you can use water)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- - Put the chopped beef in a mixing bowl and dust with some flour. You want the beef to be coated with flour.
- - In a large pot over high heat, add olive oil, beef and cook until golden brown. Don't over crowd the pot - overcrowding lowers the temperature of the pot, which will prevent your meat from turning a nice dark brown color. You may need to do this in batches.
- - Remove the beef and set aside. Lower the heat to medium/high and add onions.
- - Dust with a little flour (about 1 tsp). Cook for a few minutes until onions are a golden color (7-10 minutes).
- - Put the beef back in the pot and add wine. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring well (including the burned bits at the bottom of your pot).
- - Add carrots and beef broth and enough water to cover the veggies and beef. You want the water to surpass the veggies and beef by about ⅓.
- - Add dried oregano, stir and bring to boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Check on your stew every 20 minutes or so, giving it a stir.
- - Take the lid off and cook uncovered for another hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- - Check on the thickness of the sauce. It should be thinner than gravy but thicker than soup. If you feel it needs more time, cook for another 15 minutes.
- - Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
This recipe serves 4-6 people.