Christina’s Boeuf Bourguignon

bouef bourguignon
Boeuf Bourguignon (Photo credit: Klara Kim)

As we move out of holiday time and into the depths of winter, now’s a great time to think about hearty dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon.

Ours is a pretty standard recipe but the key thing is leaving it on the stove overnight. Once you’ve simmered it for around 90 minutes, just remove it from the direct heat and leave it until the next day until about 30 minutes before you want to serve. The resting time makes a huge difference to the final taste.

Technically it will be ready to serve once you’ve added the sautéed mushrooms (and it will taste nice) but to really make it great, make it a day early.

Ingredients
675g stewing steak – don’t be tempted to get a lean cut of meat. It needs the fat to help soften the meat.
225g white mushrooms
3-4 slices bacon (American bacon if you have it)
1 3/4 cups red wine (Burgundy)
1-2 tablespoons butter
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon thyme
salt & pepper

Directions
Cube the meat and brown in the butter. Set aside into a large casserole dish.

Peel carrot, chop onions and cut bacon into short strips. Add to the same skillet you used to brown the meat and saute until the vegetables are soft. Add to the meat.

Season the meat mixture with salt, pepper and thyme. Add tomato paste and the bay leaf and stir together.

Add all the wine and cook over a medium heat for around 90 minutes and then remove from heat. For best results, just leave it in the dish on the stove overnight. Sitting out overnight won’t hurt anything and it will allow time for the flavours to infuse with each other.

Clean and saute mushrooms and add to the casserole dish 30 minutes before serving time. Warm and serve.

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What do you think about leaving food on the stove overnight? Let us know in the comments!

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Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

vanilla-beanFor the foodies out there this will probably be old hat but I thought I’d post it anyway. Vanilla extract is something Chris made a few years back and it’s got to be one of the easiest things to make (and one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ recipes) we know.

Seriously, it really is overkill to do the whole “Ingredients / Directions” thing but I will just for continuity.

In our experience, the hardest part of the entire recipe is waiting for it be ready to use!

TOP TIP – homemade vanilla extract is a great thing to give as a holiday gift. You do all the work in May, then when December rolls around everything will be done – saving time, money and a huge amount of stress. Bonus! We bought the vodka in bulk and picked up some posh 500ml bottles to give away as gifts. It’s more cost-effective to buy the vodka in large amounts and 500ml makes a nice gift size.

Ingredients
500ml vodka – just get the cheap stuff it won’t make any difference to the final result.
3-4 raw vanilla pods

Directions
With a sharp knife, split the vanilla pods lengthways. Do not remove the seeds.

Open the bottle of vodka and add the vanilla pods. Reseal. Let the vanilla pods steep for at least 4 months, but we’d recommend 6 months. Technically there’s no need to shake the bottle during that time but it won’t hurt anything if you do.

After 4-5 months your homemade vanilla extract will be ready to use. No more store bought extract! Use exactly as you would any other vanilla extract – no adjustment is necessary.

Oh, and by the way – if you leave the pods in the bottle, you can just keep topping it up with more vodka after you use some and it will ‘refresh’ itself for quite a while.

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Have you ever made your own vanilla extract? Did you notice a difference? Let us know in the comments!

Rating Buttons

Hi everyone! At the risk of being over-confident we’ve added rating stars to all our posts. If you use them for us it will give us an idea of what type of content you enjoy and what you don’t. 

Here’s a nice picture to go along with the post just so you haven’t totally wasted your time.

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Foodie Advent Calendar

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Homemade Southern Cornbread

cornbreadCornbread is definitely a Southern specialty that warrants a homemade, scratch recipe – particularly considering you can’t buy the dry mix anywhere in the UK.

We originally had to come up with our own recipe for cornbread because we needed the dry portion of the mix for our Cornbread Casserole recipe. In fact, a lot of the recipes we’ll post are for basics that any American would be able to go to the store and buy (but should make at home). Anyway, I digress.

Here’s how we do it.

Ingredients
290 ml milk
225 g coarse cornmeal (maize flour for polenta)
55 g  plain flower
55 g unsalted butter – melted and cooled
2 eggs – lightly beaten
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon caster sugar

Personally, I prefer plain cornbread but lots of people add other ingredients like jalapeño peppers. Feel free to experiment with adding other things and let us know in the comments how it tastes!

Directions
Preheat oven to 200C (400F)

Sift the cornmeal flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the caster sugar, making a well in the centre. Now, if all you need is the dry mix to use in another recipe, you can stop here. This is the basic mix. If you want to continue making a batch of cornbread, add the wet ingredients into the well and mix thoroughly.

Right. There are a couple of different ways to cook the cornbread from this point.

Traditional Southern cornbread pan
Traditional Southern cornbread pan

The traditional way is to pour the mixture into a pre-heated, oiled cornbread tin. Cornbread tin are a bit like muffin tins but they are usually made of iron and have little indentations shaped like ears of corn. (see image) The other way would be to just use a loaf tin about 9×5 or a muffin tray.

If you use a traditional pan, make sure it is piping hot with a bit of oil in the pan. (Like you would cook a Yorkshire Pudding) The hot oil will fry the bottom slightly and make the outside nice and crispy while the centre stays nice and soft. Cooking time will be around 20-25 minutes.

If you use a standard loaf tin make sure to butter the dish first and just pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35-45 minutes. If you use a muffin tin you should reduce the cooking time to around 20-25 minutes.

That’s it! Serve immediately or save it ’till later. Just don’t let it hang around too long. Happy baking!

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Have you ever had cornbread? Do you like it? Let us know in the comments!

Terrific Turkey Stuffing

sage-and-onion-stuffingWe have been making this stuffing for over 10 years now and it’s been a great hit every time we have made it. It’s a great way to enhance a normal box of stuffing to make it taste fresh and luxurious. The recipe can be prepped in about 30 minutes, most of which is chopping vegetables. Cooking time is around 30 minutes.

(serving size 10 or one 12-16 lb turkey)

Ingredients
1 box (160 g) dry stuffing mix – we usually get a box of Paxo Sage & Onion with Apple although we have tried others over time
160 g spicy sausage with casings removed – we prefer Italian sausage if we can find it but any spicy sausage will do
170 ml chicken stock
125 ml orange liqueur – it doesn’t matter what type
85 g celery – finely chopped
50 g raisins
40 g pecans, crushed or chopped
40 g unsalted butter
1/2 a large onion – finely chopped
1 1/2 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 g fresh sage – chopped

Directions
To start off with, preheat the oven to 180C (350F)

Heat the raisins in a small pan with all of the liqueur. Heat just to the boiling point then remove from the heat and set aside.

Next, use half the butter to cook the onions and celery in a frying pan. Cook the onions until just clear and soft. (Usually around 10 minutes) Once cooked, put it into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Don’t clean the pan.

Using the same pan you cooked the onions and celery in, cook the sausage until it’s brown. Drain any excess fat and add to the onion mixture.

Use some of the remaining butter to line the inside of a baking dish and gently melt what’s left.

Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Bake for 30 minutes and serve immediately.

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Do you have any tips on how to improve store bought stuffing? Let us know in the comments!