Monday, May 14, 2012

The Daring Cooks' May 2012 - Bouef Bourguignon

Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

This was a great challenge for me just at the moment. Firstly the weather is turning colder here in Sydney, so a lovely beefy stew is pretty appetising. It also makes 6 portions, so I could use it to add to my stash of frozen dinners. I recently discovered that it is a good idea to not cook dinner from scratch on the same day I clean the house - it only took me 5 months of staying at home to work that one out. 

The version of Boeuf Bourguignon suggested by the host is what I would call elaborate, in that it required the beef, the onions and the mushrooms to each be cooked separately and then combined together. The recipe is based on one from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which it goes without saying does not steer you wrong. So I was happy to follow the copious instructions, although I did note that there is a BB recipe in Stephanie Alexander's The Cooks Companion, which is also very reliable, and quite a bit simpler.  

My execution of this recipe provides a good illustration of my life at the moment. I spent most of the morning weighing, peeling and chopping the various components, in between feeds and naps and cuddles. Then I popped the meat in the oven and headed out to playgroup. It was supposed to cook for 3- 4 hours, which is roughly how long it takes me to walk to playgroup, play and walk back. But it was a lovely sunny day, the playgroupies wanted to stay longer than usual and I was the only committee member there, so I had to wait until everyone left. Then little mister fell asleep on the walk home and as decent naps are rather hard to come by for us, I was reluctant to go inside and tend to the BB until he woke up. So by time I got to it, it had been stewing away for 5 hours. There was not much sauce left and the meat was falling apart but it was far from ruined, so I was happy. 

Rather fortuitously I had leftovers of two delicious starchy sides to serve with the BB. Some parsnip dumplings left over from this recipe. And some leftover swede and potato cake leftover from this recipe. (Just quickly, isn't the internet amazing? Is there are recipe that you can't find a link to these days?)

So a few hours later, after our bath-feed-story-bed routine, it was nice and simple to reheat, add some veg and there we had a pretty amazing dinner. 

I can't recall now, but it is likely that we got about three quarters of the way through the meal before being summoned to the baby's room for a little more settling. "I'll go", "No, I'll go", "No its okay, you finish your dinner." Life is good. 

A big thank you to Fabi for hosting this challenge. I will think of you on housecleaning days in the coming weeks when I am eating delicious Boeuf Bourguignon for dinner without having to lift a finger.  


  1. I'm glad you got most of your way through dinner, plus had some leftovers :) Oh, and I nearly overcooked mine, too. Easy to do, it would seem!

  2. Yikes, prolonging a nap versus tending to the stew. That's a tough one. I'm glad it worked out! :-)

  3. All works out in the end! Nice BB.

  4. I am with you - I'd protect the nap and let the stew... well... stew :) Glad you had a good playgroup, productive and and delicious meal all on the same day!! :)

  5. The beef looks so tender! I'm glad your dish worked out well in the end. Nap and a delicious meal. Win win! p.s. those parnsip dumplings sounds wonderful.

  6. Yum, I can just imagine how tender and flavorful the beef is after 5 hours. It looks delicious!