Tag Archives: Wine

Bunky had a little lamb…problem!

I recently hosted a lovely dinner party for several of our good friends. I had promised one of them that I would make my somewhat famous braised lamb shanks (they will be way more famous after this blog!) ;). As I generally do with dinner parties, I had planned out the menu and had my list of to-dos. One of course, was to order the lamb shanks, which I did days in advance. Little did I know the disaster that would ensue!

I had the choice of placing my order at Whole Foods, Harry’s or a store I will not name. I chose the no name place because I was rather favoring them lately. I found their produce was beautiful and fresh and the prices were good. So when I called around and I could get Australian or New Zealand lamb shanks at any or all of the above stores at the same price, I thought, heh, I’ll give the littler guy my biz!

Their meat department assured me that they carried Australian lamb, so that is what I would be getting at $5.99/pound. I would pick them up Wednesday so that I could cook them Thursday, let them sit overnight and then reheat and finish the dish Friday before our guests would arrive.

Well, what to my wondering eyes should appear when I went to open that package on Wednesday (instead of Thursday), than USDA stamped all over the shrink-wrap?? Now I don’t know about you, but if I see USDA on my meat, I think it probably means it is from the United States! It might not have been a big deal, but it really bothered me that I was hoodwinked by the meat man! If you can’t trust your butcher, who can you trust?! I had prepared a big fat pot full of pricey wine, aromatics and my last frozen container of homemade chicken stock. You are truly messing with the wrong woman when you use my homemade chicken stock! Everything was ready and all I needed was some Australian lamb shanks! These American guys were not going in that pot!

Mr. Butcher Man had stood right there in front of me and my hubby as he wrapped those big hunks of shanks in that brown paper packaging and assured me that they were Australian, because of course, I was asking just to be sure. I bet he was smiling too (thinking “sucker”!), although I did not notice! I do not like the US lamb that I have tasted. I prefer lamb from New Zealand and Australia, so if I am going to the trouble to fix and eat this stuff, I wanna like it! And at $72.00 for the shanks and a near heart attack at that price, I should get what I ordered.

I could spend an entire blog post (and I just might) telling you all about that day. The only good news is that after getting the shanks home, I decided to go ahead and give myself one extra day and cook them on Wednesday instead of Thursday. Well, it was a REALLY good thing! Of course, I called the no name store and was informed that yes indeedy, the lamb was of US origin (NO!!! You are kidding me!!!). Then my patience was driven to the breaking point as I called and drove all over Atlanta to find out that almost everyone was sold out of lamb shanks until Friday.

I finally ended up at the DeKalb Farmer’s Market (which is very cool place, by the way!). They had just 6 shanks left and told me they were Australian. I assume they were honest about it, but who knows…I’m not buying what the butchers tell me anymore! I had to get lamb in some form in the pot full of $30 worth of wine, etc.! And I was so upset at the other store, they got their ole lamb back! Thank goodness, I had one extra day to correct the mess.

I know one thing, I will never again promise any particular food to anyone for a dinner party. I will always ask if there are allergies or dislikes, but folks coming to my house are going to eat what I fix or go home hungry! The hunt for the lamb was a disaster of major proportions.

I don't like them, so they get their own picture!

On the bright side, the dish was amazing once I finally got to the end result! I use Tom Valenti’s recipe that has been around for a long time. I have tried several other recipes, but enjoy the flavors in this one the best. I like to make the dish at least a day ahead so that the flavors come together (it’s a darn good thing, especially with this crisis!).

This is a fabulous make ahead dish for entertaining. I have made several adjustments to the original recipe. I have noted them with a **. I prepare the shanks a day or two ahead and then puree the sauce and finish them in a Dutch oven before serving them to your guests.

Braised Lamb Shanks
Adapted from Tom Valenti’s Lamb Shanks
Originally appeared in Parade, March 2002

My changes are noted with **

6 lamb foreshanks
Coarse salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 whole black peppercorns
3 anchovy fillets
1 whole head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 cups red wine
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups beef broth and 2 cups chicken (I use Pacific Organic Beef Broth and Homemade Chicken Stock)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.

They were nice looking lamb shanks, wherever they came from!

2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion; cook until very soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the tomato paste and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, anchovies, and garlic; cook 3 minutes.

4. Add the wines, vinegar, and sugar; raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and add the broths. Leave over medium heat while you brown the lamb shanks.
5. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil into a sauté pan. Over medium-high heat, brown the lamb shanks well on all sides, using tongs to flip them over.

6. Transfer lamb shanks to a roasting pan and pour the braising liquid on top. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours more, turning the shanks over every half hour until the meat is very soft. ** Instead of these directions, I only cook them in the roasting pan for a total of 2 1/2 hours because I cook them later prior to serving dinner (one hour covered and then 1 1/2 hours uncovered). I do turn and baste them while uncovered.

7. Remove the shanks from the braising liquid and strain the liquid. Skim any fat that rises to the surface, then use the liquid as a sauce. ** Instead of those directions, I refrigerate the dish overnight in the roasting pan after about 2 1/2 hours of cooking time. I then remove the pan from the fridge the next day, remove the hardened fat, garlic and remaining pieces of herbs. I heat up the dish so the sauce is liquid, remove the shanks and then puree the sauce with all the veggies included. I put the shanks into a large Dutch oven with the sauce, cover the pot and baste them peridocially for about 45 min. to 1 hr. prior to serving.

I served this awesome dish with the best tasting and most incredibly fattening potato gratin (I will give up the recipe soon!), haricots verts, a simple green salad and french bread. Brownie Tart with Creme Anglaise was dessert that evening (my last post). It was a great bistro style dinner with great friends, fabulous wines and wonderful conversation.

Everyone had a great evening and all went extremely well in spite of the lamb disaster!

Braised Lamb Shanks on Foodista

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Filed under Braising, Chicken broth, Entrees, French, Lamb, Recipes, Wine

Chicken Chasseur (Hunter-style Chicken)

My Chicken Chasseur was supposed to be served for our Valentine’s dinner, however, that did not happen. I did, however, prepare this amazing dish the next evening along with my favorite smashed potato recipe, steamed asparagus and the cute little heart-shaped creme brulees for dessert!

I had been cooking SO much prior to Valentine’s Day because it had been so cold and snowy that I just could not drag myself back into the kitchen. (What else does someone like me do when the weather outside is frightful??) And besides that, we had been eating and drinking and drinking and eating, so it was rather difficult to get motivated once again to get in the kitchen. Some days this girl needs a break! 😉

Instead of terrorizing my kitchen yet again and wearing myself out to the point of total exhaustion, I heated up some Boeuf Bourguignon that was in the freezer and we had creme brulee for dessert on Valentine’s evening. Not too bad, for a last minute Valentine’s Day dinner!

With Boeuf Bourguignon one evening and creme brulee for dessert, followed by Chicken Chasseur, I am beginning feel like I am on a gluttonous French gastronomical tour! Where did my so-called diet go??? I am waiting for temperatures above 40 degrees on a consistent basis and then I will get back to more reasonable cooking. But of course, that reasonable cooking will have to wait until after my dinner party this week. Wait until you see what dishes I am preparing for that! I need to be running laps just thinking about it! 😉

So back to the chicken, Chicken Chasseur is one of my hubby’s favorites that I make. That is why it was intended for Valentine’s Day! I saw Bobby Flay preparing this dish on a Saturday morning several years back. He did a show on French classics (just my kind of stuff!). I, of course, made this dish that evening. It has since become a favorite in our home.

The ingredients are easy enough to find. There are a few steps in preparing the dish, so it is best to have everything chopped and ready to go! You will need a couple of tablespoons of clarified butter to saute the chicken. The recipe also calls for enriched chicken stock. If you do not have your own stock, you can reduce the packaged stuff by half to make enriched stock (I like Swanson’s organic chicken broth when I do not use homemade).

The recipe says to cut the chicken in quarters, however, when I watched this show, the chicken was cut into more pieces (I do not remember how many precisely). We usually cut a chicken into 8 or 10 pieces (10 pieces if the breast is very large). I do serve the chicken on the bone (this recipe says to remove the breast meat from the bone).

The sauce is incredible with the chicken, so be sure to take the time to reduce it properly. Just keep your chicken warm until your sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It does take some time. You then finish it with a knob of butter and some fresh herbs! Voila!

Here is the recipe from Bobby Flay Chicken Chasseur

We served the chicken with a lovely bottle of 1999 Crognolo. Crognolo is a Super Tuscan wine made with the Sangiovese grape. With ten years of aging it struck just the right note. It was phenomenal! This was definitely a bottle that was ready to drink! The cork was fine, but the wine had the potential to not be so good in an other year or two. My hubby took a picture of the cork. Note how far up the cork the wine had penetrated. Had the wine reached the top of the cork, the wine in the bottle would be exposed to air and begin to oxidize. This is just one way a bottle of wine can go bad. On that note, I say, drink up and Bon Appetit!

Chicken Chasseur on Foodista

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Forelle Pear and Almond Cakes with Muscat Wine Reduction

I saw a Forelle pear for the first time about a month or so ago at our local International Market. I must say that I had never even heard of a Forelle pear until that day. I knew of Seckel pears, but not Forelle pears. Well, of course, I had to buy a bag full and then decide what to do with them once I was home!

After some research, I did find out that they are a bit sweeter and larger than Seckel pears and their season runs from October to March. So, I decided we better cook and bake with them while we can! My husband tasted one as soon as it was ripe and he was hooked! I took a bite and they were so delicious!

I did see a few recipes online with a few types of small pears and some called for Forelle pears, however, they did not necessarily show off the pears themselves. Why slice these cute little pears on the top of a tart? I did, however, find a recipe at Epicurious for an almond cake with a poached Seckel pear tucked neatly inside. The recipe said you could substitute a Forelle pear cut in half, but why do that? I left the pear whole.

The original recipe is for making the cakes with the poached pears and reserving the Muscat reduction for another use. I made some changes and served the cakes with vanilla ice cream and drizzled both with the Muscat reduction. The pears had a delightful flavor from poaching and the cake had a texture and taste almost similar to a sweet cornbread. The Muscat reduction really added another layer of flavor to the pear cakes and ice cream.

It also would make a lovely dessert for guests since the presentation is so attractive and everything can be prepared in advance. One important note, you must serve this the same day you make it. The recipe says to serve within 8 hours. We had a few left over and tried to eat them the next day. The cake was still very good, but the pear was not very pretty on the inside, so be sure to either have enough guests to finish them off or do that yourself! 😉 Also, you would be wise to remove them from the ramekin once they are cooled, and not attempting to do it after only resting 10 minutes. They did not stick at all by allowing them to cool first.

Although the cakes were not as good the following day, I still had some Muscat reduction left, so I poured that over vanilla ice cream and we enjoyed it almost as much! I would definitely make the Muscat reduction again and serve it with the pears and ice cream as a simple and lovely dessert.

By the way, the original recipe made 12 cakes. I have changed the proportions to make 6 cakes.

Here is the recipe adapted from Epicurious:

Small Pear and Almond Cakes

Makes 6 servings

For poached pears
6 firm small Seckel pears (I used Forelle pears)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup Muscat wine
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

For cakes
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds (4 oz.)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing ramekins
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt

Vanilla ice cream (use a really good one)

Special equipment: a small melon-ball cutter; 6 (4-oz.) ramekins

Poach pears:

Peel pears, leaving stems intact, then core from bottom with melon-ball cutter. Toss pears with lemon juice in a bowl as peeled, then arrange on their sides in a 10-inch heavy skillet. Add wine, butter, and lemon juice from bowl (liquid will not cover pears) and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until pears are just tender, 10 to 20 minutes (my pears were tender in 10 minutes). Transfer pears with a slotted spoon to a dish. Boil poaching liquid, uncovered, until just syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Spoon syrup over pears and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Prepare cakes:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

Pulse almonds with 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground, then transfer to a bowl (do not clean processor).

Process butter with 1/4 cup sugar in processor until pale and creamy, then pulse in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition, then pulse in almond mixture, flour, and salt until just combined.

Lightly butter and flour ramekins, knocking out excess flour, then arrange in a baking pan. Divide batter among ramekins (about a slightly rounded 1/2 cup per ramekin), then gently nestle a pear, leaning it slightly and pressing it very lightly, into batter in center of each cake. (Cakes will rise around pears as they bake.) Reserve reduced poaching liquid for another use serve it over vanilla ice cream!). Sprinkle pears and tops of cakes with remaining tablespoon sugar.

Bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, until cakes are just firm and pale golden with slightly darker edges, about 20 minutes.

Transfer ramekins to a rack and cool 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of each cake and invert on a plate. (I let mine cool completely before removing). Turn cakes right side up and serve warm or at room temperature.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! It is a perfect dessert for a Wintry night!
This dessert was featured on Tastespotting today!

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Filed under Almonds, Baking, Cakes, Desserts, Ice Cream, Muscat, Pears, Poaching, Recipes, Wine

Braised Short Ribs

It has been so cold and rainy here this Winter that I have made countless soups and stews to keep us warm on these chilly days! I also love the aroma of a pot of something wonderfully fragrant simmering on the stove when you walk through the door. There is nothing more inviting.

In addition to soups and stews, another delightful dish for this wintry weather is braised short ribs. It is an incredibly satisfying comfort food that is also elegant enough to serve to guests.

I have a few recipes that I use when making short ribs. I will eventually share them all. The one I made this past weekend is a very hearty, earthy dish. The addition of dried porcini mushrooms and their liquid make the sauce especially thick and richly flavored. I have found that it needs very little adjusting. It is been consistently delicious every time I have made it.

My butcher cut the short ribs to order for me the other day. They were beautiful and incredibly lean. I did need to add some olive oil to the pan to braise them properly because the bacon I used was also very lean. I still let the dish sit overnight to make it easier to remove the fat. (I actually was surprised how much fat there was). I also like to let the ribs sit overnight to allow the flavors to come together, so making the dish a day in advance has two benefits.

I love these wonderful recipes that you can make ahead. It makes entertaining so much easier. Just so you know, this dish also requires an additional 12-24 hours to marinate the short ribs. They need to marinade in a bottle of red wine with veggies and herbs prior to braising. I used a medium bodied French Pinot Noir. It was perfect for standing up to the beef. Some of the reserved marinade also becomes your braising liquid, so you want to be sure the wine is as good as one you would drink with dinner. It is well worth the time spent and I know your family or guests will appreciate your culinary efforts!

Here is the recipe adapted from Sur La Table

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Serves 4 (generously)

Marinade

* 1 large onion, sliced
* 1 carrot, scrubbed and sliced
* 1 celery rib, sliced
* 4 garlic cloves, smashed
* 2 bay leaves (I used fresh)
* 5 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 sprig fresh rosemary
* ¼ teaspoon crushed juniper berries
* 10-12 peppercorns
* 1 bottle (750-ml.) medium-bodied red wine (I used a French Pinot Noir)
* 4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed of fat

1. Combine the first ten ingredients in a large bowl. Add ribs, cover and marinate in refrigerator 12 to 24 hours. (I marinated mine for 24 hours. I also turned short ribs periodically. A better choice would be to put everything in a really large zip lock bag. I did not have one large enough, so I opted for a 13 x 9 inch glass pan).

Braising Aromatics

* Good olive oil (if you need some for sautéing)
* 6 oz bacon, sliced in to lardons (I used Applewood Sunday Bacon)
* Seasoned flour (½ cup all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp kosher salt, 2 tsp fresh black pepper)
* 2 carrots, peeled, medium dice
* 2 celery ribs, sliced
* 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
* 4 cloves crushed garlic
* 2 tbsp tomato paste
* 2 cups reserved marinade
* 1 cup veal or beef stock (I used Pacific Organic Beef Stock)
* 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 1 cup boiling water, strained
* 1 sprig of rosemary, approx. 3″
* 5 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 tbsp butter
* 2 tbsp cognac
* buerre manié (1 tbsp flour & 1 tbsp softened butter mixed together)

1. Remove ribs from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place colander over a bowl and strain the wine; discard the vegetables.
2. Place Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until slightly crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the oil behind. Dredge the ribs in the seasoned flour, making sure to shake off any excess flour.
Add ribs to pan in batches; brown on all sides. Transfer ribs to a plate and set aside. Add vegetables and sauté until browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add reserved marinade to deglaze pan. Stir well with a wooden spoon, add the veal stock and porcini liquid to the pan. Return ribs and bacon to the pan, bone-side up; bring to a boil, reduce to low heat and simmer, covered, but with the lid cracked on the stove top until ribs are tender, about 2 hours, 45 minutes. **

3. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, sauté porcini mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter for about 3-5 minutes. Deglaze with 2 tbsp of cognac, and set aside.

4. Transfer ribs to platter and cover with foil. Strain cooking liquid into a saucepan. Discard vegetables. Bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat and skim fat. Whisk in the beurre marié and continue to cook until sauce has thickened. Add porcini mushrooms and return ribs to the pot. Adjust seasoning and serve.

** You can stop at this point and refrigerate the dish overnight to allow the fat to rise to the top and harden making it easier to remove. Refrigerate the porcini mushrooms as well and begin at Step 3 when you are ready to serve the short ribs.

You also may want to cook the ribs a little longer, depending on the size of your ribs. Mine were fairly large and were very tender. However, if you like the meat literally falling off the bones, you may need to cook them a little more than 2 hours and 45 minutes. I like to serve mine with the meat still on the bone.

Enjoy!

Braised Short Ribs on Foodista

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Filed under Beef, Braising, Entrees, Pinot Noir, Recipes, Short Ribs, Wine

Provencal Chicken

We had a very special dinner this past Saturday night. First of all, it was the one night of the week where we could splurge a little from our new healthy eating lifestyle. We have decided to set aside one evening a week to have a few special things to eat that would not normally be “allowed” every day while trying to eat healthy. It gives us something to look forward to and does not make us feel so deprived from having some of the foods we still enjoy. We also shared a wonderful bottle of Chardonnay that is definitely reserved for special occasions. A romantic dinner for two at home is reason enough to celebrate!

We shared a bottle of 1999 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Chardonnay. Yes, this wine is 10 years old and has been in the wine cellar for 8 years. We often hear how white wine is meant to be consumed within the first few years of bottling. Except, great white wine will continue to age well for 10 or more years. This was a wonderful white wine. It had aromas of pears, the scent of dried figs and hints of spice and nutmeg. The wine was fragrant and sweet. A product of Australia, this wine possessed a full mouth feel with layers of fruit but does not overpower with butter or French oak which has been a characteristic of California Chardonnays. (Of course, my hubby gave me the wine info!).

The best part about the dinner was that everything was so delicious and so fresh, yet it still was really “lighter food”. The flavors popped, the colors were bright. It truly was a wonderful meal.

The highlight of the dinner was a dish that I have made for many years. It is so simple and easy to improvise with whatever fresh herbs you may have on hand in the fridge. You will, however, be amazed at the fabulous flavors that come from so few ingredients! It is easy, yet elegant and simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner. I assure you that the aroma of the herbs, chicken, garlic and lemon sautéing together will make this a go to recipe in your repertoire.

Provençal Chicken

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 4 lb. chicken, cut into 10 pieces (Use the best free range or organic chicken you can find. I cut the breasts in half since they are so large these days. This allows the breast meat to cook more evenly with the others cuts as it makes them more similar in size.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 large garlic cloves, cut into quarters
A few sprigs each of fresh thyme, oregano and rosemary
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Wash and dry the chicken. Pat dry. Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a large skillet at medium high heat (you want to cook all the chicken pieces at once). Add the chicken and sauté a few minutes to begin to brown. Then add the garlic and herbs and sauté everything together.

Turn the chicken to brown on the other side and watch the garlic so it does not burn.

Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through (25 – 30 minutes). Turn the chicken over once during cooking.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. If the sauce is not thick enough, remove the chicken and keep warm. Reduce the sauce until it is of desired consistency.

I served this delightful Provençal Chicken with roasted cauliflower with garlic and Parmesan cheese, a fabulous salad (recipe coming soon!) and the Meyer lemon Budino for dessert. Yum! It was truly a memorable meal.

French Roast Chicken on Foodista

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Boeuf Bourguignon – A perfect dish to celebrate the beginning of Winter

Last evening, we had friends over the celebrate the beginning of Winter and the holidays. There could not have been a more perfect dish to serve than Boeuf Bourguignon on a chilly evening in December! I am sure that Julie and Julia almost overdosed everyone on this wonderful bistro favorite. Even people that never heard of it prior to the movie were running off to make a big pot of fancy French beef stew…Well, I must say that I have been making it for many years and will never tire of this delightful dish. It truly is one of the great classic French dinners.

I love the fact that you can make Boeuf Bourguignon a day in advance and warm it up right before guests arrive. Voila! Wonderful, easy dinner and time to spend with your company. It is much tastier after all the flavors have had a chance to get to know each other better. That is why I prefer to make it a day ahead. If you have to make it the day you plan to serve it, you should make it early in the morning to allow all the wonderful flavors to come together.

I am sure that some people will look at the recipe and find it daunting with all the ingredients and steps. I say phooey! The best thing you can do for yourself is get a bunch of cups and bowls (of all sizes) and set out your measured ingredients (that would be mise en place in French). It makes all the difference in the world. I do all the washing, chopping, pepper grinding, etc. and then get everything in order. That way you are not running around looking lost trying to find the salt or tomato paste. It will all be right there in front of you when the recipe calls for that particular ingredient. It also makes clean up easier as you put things away before you start cooking and not during. Once the pot is in the oven you can finish up and prepare the last few ingredients. Look, I even have time to write this and take pictures!

I truly find this to be the best way to cook and entertain. I served the Boeuf Bourguignon with a baby lettuce salad dressed with a champagne vinaigrette, crusty bread and Baked Pears with a Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert (recipe will follow in the next blog). Of course, there is already one whole bottle of burgundy in the dish (be sure to use a nice bottle that you would like to drink). We also served complimentary wines with the dinner (and too many of those and cognac to follow, I might add!). By the way, this 2003 Chehalem Reserve Oregon Pinot Noir, Wilamette Valley was amazing!

This recipe is courtesy of Ina Garten.
Here is the link.

I have to say that I have tried several other versions over the years (including Julia Child’s). Although Julia’s and Ina’s are quite similar, I find that I prefer the flavors of the dish when I prepare Ina’s. It has been consistent every time that I have prepared it. I do not have to add one single pinch of salt or tweak the final product at all.

Just so you know, I always use a nice French Burgundy (Pinot Noir is the same grape if you are using an Oregon or California wine) as well as a good cognac in the Boeuf Bourguignon. I use Swanson’s Organic Beef Broth (which has a lower sodium content) and Oscar Meyer’s Center Cut Bacon in the dish. I have found these few items to really make a difference. When prepared this way, it is perfect. I promise you will be hard pressed to find a better version in a Parisian bistro!

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