Thursday, January 14, 2010


So By now you have baked the fortune cookies from the recipe I gave you and because you chose your own fortunes to go inside those cookies you are experiencing a greatly enhanced life of near perfection. And because you baked a delicious lemon loaf from the recipe I posted you now know what to do when life gives you lemons.

This week we will learn what to do when you encounter a beast. The answer of course is to make "Beast Bourguignon".

My assemblage "Beast" inspired this weeks recipe.

But of course here is the story that you can read either before, during, or after your consumption of this exquisite bourguignon:

Beast Bourguignon

It was almost springtime and the snow was beginning to melt around my cabin but in amoung the trees in the nearby forest it was still knee deep. When the ice on the pond in front of the cabin turned into a thick mush, I gave up ice fishing. It was probably a good thing since there is a lot of mercury in the fish these days. They say it'll make you sick if you eat too much of it, and it's been especially worrisome since they opened the new processing plant a mile and a half east of here. I'm sure canned goods are not a real healthy alternative but I didn't have a lot of fresh food left in the cabin so meal times I opened a lot of cans. One day I saw someone strange walking out of the woods toward the cabin. He was about my size but covered in thick matted hair everywhere except for his face and the palms of his hands. As he got closer I could see snow sticking to the hair on the bottom of his legs, and from his head two tiny protrusions poked through, looking like incipient horns. He walked slowly and didn't seem at all aggressive so I invited him into the cabin and fixed a meal of canned spaghetti. All the while he ate, he kept making low grunting noises. I couldn't make out what he was saying although some of the grunts sounded a lot like he was trying to form words. At the end of the meal he leaned over and said something that sounded like "beast", or maybe it was "feast", but I don't really think you could call canned spaghetti a feast. Then he ambled out the front door and over to the pond. I yelled to him that the ice was thin under the mush so he shouldn't try walking on the pond, but he did anyway. I was surprised that it didn't crack under him and swallow him up. My neighbor to the north came out with his shotgun and fired at the stranger as he plowed through the pond mush but he missed him. He's a real nice guy but not a very good shot. The stranger kept walking into the mist on the horizon until eventually I couldn't see him at all any more. That night I got out the last of the fresh beef and fixed a dish I called "beast bourguignon" in honor of my strange visitor.

And now for the recipe:

4 T. olive oil
8 ounces good quality bacon
3 lbs. beef cut into 1 - inch cubes
fresh ground pepper
1 lb. carrots sliced into chunks
2 while onions coarsely chopped
1 T. chopped garlic
3 cups good red wine
2 cups beef broth
I T. tomato paste
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. cinnamon
4 T. unsalted butter
3 T. flour
1 pound sliced baby portabella mushrooms

Sprinkle salt and grind pepper onto the beef cubes and dredge them in flour. Heat 1 T. olive oil in pan and brown one third of the beef cubes. Repeat with the other two thirds of the beef and set all the browned beef aside. Put bacon strips sandwiched between paper towels and cook in a micro wave until they are crisp and then chop them up. Or just chop the raw bacon and fry them until crisp and pour off all the grease. Set bacon bits aside. Heat another 1 T. olive oil in pan and add chopped carrots and onions, salt and pepper, and cook on medium heat for about ten minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Put the meat and it's juices and the bacon back in the pot with the carrots and onions and add the wine and broth, and the tomato paste and the thyme, allspice, and cinnamon. Stir well and bring to a boil and then place it in a 275 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours with the pot covered. Remove from the oven and place the pot on the stove. In another frying pan melt the 4 T. butter and add the sliced mushrooms ansd saute them for about 10 minutes. Then add 3 T. flour to the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the floured mushrooms to the stew and bring to a boil and simmer about 10 more minutes. Season to taste with slat and pepper.

I'll admit that I do some rather unconventional things in this recipe that might cause certain purist French chefs to want to spit on me, or at the least scream "sacre bleu!" I have never found a beef bourguignon recipe with the addition of allspice and cinnamon, but I just happen to think it's awfully damn good. Plus crisp cooking the bacon in a microwave is never called for either, but by doing it that way you get all the flavor of the bacon and way less of the fat.

So cook...and let me know how much better your life has gotten!


caroline douglas said...

I love this! SO creative!! Did you have leftovers?

Patricia Chapman said...

Yep... One of the reasons for making a dish like this is to have LOTS of leftovers. YUM!