Beef Bourguignon

I’d like to know who decided to spell Bourguignon that way. I understand it’s French so I’m really in no position to judge, but really? That was what you came up with? Surely we could cut out a few letters.
Still, this is a lovely dish. I never use the word lovely but I think that’s how Julia Childs would describe it. This recipe is a merger of Julia, Ina Garten, and Dorie Greenspan inputs – 3 of my favorite cooking ladies. Make this on a cold fall or winter day, serve with a good bottle of red wine and enjoy.
Recipe
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 small red potatoes, cut in half
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
  • Bay leaf
Start by heating the olive oil in a dutch oven over the stove, over high heat.  Cook the bacon, then transfer to a plate. Use the bacon fat to cook the beef. Pat the meat dry, then brown each side, working in batches if you need to. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the carrots, sweet onions, and potatoes to the pot, cooking for about 15 minutes.
Add the meat back to the pot, then add the cognac, tomato paste, garlic and thyme.  
Pour in a whole bottle of wine….I used Marc Cellars Pinot Noir.
Add the beef broth until everything is just about covered.
Add a couple bay leaves. Mix the flour and butter together, and stir into the sauce. Bring the stew to a low boil.  Meanwhile, cook the mushroom. I sauteed them in butter for about 5 minutes.
Drop them into the Beef Bourguignon, and add the frozen onions. Place the bacon back into the stew. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for about 2 hours.  Return the sauce to medium-high heat over the stove, and boil to thicken the sauce. If sauce is not thickening fast enough, you may add more flour and boil down (you will want to mix the flour with a little water before adding to the dish). Serve with country french bread for dipping.
apple-and-onion-stuffed-pork-chops

This recipe goes against everything I believe in as a cook. It is easy, fast, healthy, and cheap.  And yet it might be my favorite thing on this blog so far.  If you can put your goal to spend money, calories, and time on a meal aside for one night – make this, you won’t regret it.

Recipe:

  • 2 bone-in pork chops, at least 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup chopped apple (I used honey crisp because they make me happy)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup torn bread, more if desired
  • Apple Juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut slits in the pork chops to create pockets for the stuffing, and place in a baking dish (this part is slightly annoying, but you can do it!). Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the apples, onions, and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are done but still slightly crisp. Right now your kitchen will smell like Fall in a Pan.

Add in the torn bread, and drizzle a little bit of chicken broth and apple juice in the pan, just enough to wet the bread. Gross, I don’t like that sentence. Stir around until bread is totally saturated and stuffing-like.

Next, remove from heat and fill each pork pocket (say that 3 times really fast, it’s fun) – with the stuffing. You will have some leftover, but that is wonderful because you will want to eat it by the handful. Keep that in the pan and save for later.

No, that picture was not taken by a trained professional. Place the pork chops back in the baking dish. Pour apple juice over the pork to let it marinate while it cooks – I use about 2-3 cups. You can also add a little chicken broth if you desire. You don’t want it to cover the pork completely, but you want it to form a layer on the bottom of the dish about 1/2-3/4 inch thick.

Place the pork in the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 45 minutes to one hour (for thicker chops).

Heat up the remaining stuffing, and serve!!

Apricot Balsamic Pork Chops

apricot-balsamic-pork-chops
Fall is my favorite season. The changing of the leaves, the crisp cool air in the morning, and the unmistakable smell of winter coming. Unfortunately, Dallas doesn’t experience any of these. The temperature is 75 every day and the only leaves changing color are the ones dying from the brutal summer. Sad.
So, if fall can’t come to Texas, I can at least have it in my kitchen. This recipe is fragrant, deeply flavorful, and hearty – a perfect fall comfort food. The sauce is the highlight of this dinner – I think it would be equally good on chicken, if you prefer that.
Recipe:
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Sprig thyme leaf
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 heaping tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 pork chops, about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Dust the pork chops with flour (if cooking gluten-free, you could definitely skip this part).  Place the pork in the pot and brown all sides.
Transfer the pork to a plate.  In the same pot, cook the diced onion in the butter, about 10 minutes.
Pour in the balsamic, and let it reduce a little – just a few minutes. Add thyme, apricot preserves, and brown sugar.
Stir the sauce until combined, and simmer for a few minutes longer. Add the pork chops back into the pot, and add the chicken broth.
Simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
I served this with asparagus risotto, a salad, and a great bottle of red wine! We also turned down the A/C really low and made a fire. Fall has arrived at 5815 Velasco, even if it’s man made.
grilled-lamb-chops-with-rosemary
I had no idea grilled lamb chops were so easy. Turns out, they’re the easiest thing on this blog. Lamb has a very distinct flavor so it doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles.
I bought 8 lamb chops from Central Market, and let them sit at room temperature for about a half hour before grilling. I heated the grill to high, and picked fresh rosemary from my miniature herb garden. Well, it was a miniature herb garden until my basil plant grew into the size of a small evergreen, thanks to my husband’s diligent watering and manicuring of his beautiful yard. Anyway, I digress.
I chopped up about 1/4 cup rosemary (a food processor is the easiest way to chop into very small pieces), then mixed with 2 teaspoons salt.  I brushed the lamb chops with olive oil, then with the rosemary salt.  Of course, you need to add pepper too.
Place the lamb chops on the hot grill. Close the cover, and grill for exactly 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, flip over and grill for 3 minutes. Remove from grill, and let sit for a few minutes before serving.  These turned out perfectly medium to medium-rare, which is the best way to eat lamb.
Yes, those are shrimp hanging out with the lamb. Very strange combo but I had a few left over so I let them join the party.
peach-whiskey-barbecue-chicken
If you love a sweet and tangy barbecue flavor, you will love this recipe. Loooove this recipe.  If you don’t love a sweet and tangy barbecue flavor, I don’t want to know you.Recipe

  • 2-3 lbs bone-in chicken breasts, thighs, or legs (I prefer skin off)
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • Several tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • ~1/2 cup to 1 cup whiskey (or however much you have)
  • 1 jar peach preserves
  • 1 bottle sweet barbecue sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • S&P to taste
Start by heating the olive oil and butter in a large pot.
I used a combo of drumsticks, thighs, and breasts. I thought the drumsticks were the best. The breasts were definitely the least tender/moist. I bought them with bone-in and skin-on, but I had the butcher remove the skin. I feel like the sauce gets to the meat easier that way.  Place the chicken in the pot and brown on all sides.
 Remove the chicken to a plate. Add in the onions. Let them cook until translucent.
Next, good ol’ Jack shows up to the party. I do not like the flavor of jack daniels, but trust me you will in this recipe. Jack did some amazing things to this chicken.
 Pour in a bunch…and let it reduce a little.
 Take out a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce – ours is Austin’s Own or Rufus Teague (honey sweet).
 Pour in the whole bottle. Stir around.
 Next, add a whole jar of peach preserves. Yes this jar says peach and mango. That was a mistake. A lovely mistake.
Fill the peach jar halfway with water, dump it in.  Sprinkle in some Worcestershire.  Whisk it alllll together. Add the chicken back in. Right now your kitchen will smell so good you’ll want to marry it.
 Finally, throw it in the oven at 300 for 1 1/2 hours so the chicken gets very tender and delicious. If you don’t have that much time, I think you could bump it up to 325 for an hour.
 Pure awesomeness.
asparagus-and-mushroom-risotto

I went on a major risotto kick in Italy. I seriously couldn’t stop eating it – suddenly I wanted it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with shrimp, with marinara, with asparagus, with squash. Lobster? Throw it in there, I’ll eat it.

I am back from Italy now, and back to reality. At least risotto reality. Shrimp and lobster seem a little time intensive when not prepared by the authentic Italian chefs of Lake Como, and I don’t think I could get John to eat butternut squash risotto (though I intend to try). Thus, that leaves me with asparagus risotto – simple, delicious, and a real crowd pleaser. Yes, I’ll make that.  Added bonus: Risotto is naturally gluten-free, for those concerned.

Even though there are a million things you can do to dress up risotto, it is all cooked the same way for the most part. You melt a little butter, coat the risotto in it, and then continuously add liquid (chicken broth is the best choice) for about 20 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked. Here, I will outline the whole process for you, as I didn’t realize it was that simple until I made 6 different varieties and connected the dots. Ahhhh, boy am I smart.

Let’s get started….

Recipe:

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons 1 tsp melted butter
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

First, prepare the asparagus. Chop them into about 1/2 inch pieces (or larger if you prefer – I don’t know how big your mouth is). Bring a pot of water to boiling; throw the asparagus in there and blanch for 2 minutes.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and immediately throw them into a bowl of ice water. This keeps them looking green and pretty, which you would recognize in the photo below if I were a better photographer. Bright green.  Drain and set aside.

Melt 3 T of the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for a few minutes until translucent
 
Add the arborio rice, and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the stock in a large pot (if cooking gluten-free, use gluten free stock).

Next, add the wine, and stir until absorbed by the rice. From there, add the heated stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring each time until absorbed. The amount of stock in the recipe is approximate; continue cooking rice and adding stock for about 15-20 minutes, until the rice is tender (but not mushy). I used exactly 3 1/2 cups stock and it turned out perfect. During the last round of adding chicken broth, I threw in the mushrooms so they would cook in the broth for a couple of minutes. When the rest of the broth is absorbed, add the asparagus and turn off the heat. Stir in the remaining butter and parmesan.  Generously salt and pepper.

Serve immediately. Or, serve to yourself chilled the following day. Or the next day. Thank you, Italy, for reminding me why we should all be eating more risotto.
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