Let me give you a great piece of advice. Don’t take 16 days off of work, the first week back sucks royally. Seriously, it’s killing me. Or maybe it’s the fact that I came back just in time for my crunch time and deadlines. Nothing like easing back into things. And that’s precisely why I initiated the Tuesday afternoon Pop Rocks sesh with my fab coworkers. Nothing like filling the office with a crackling chorus of sugar popping away in the mouths of half the Accounting department. It was a little childish fun-filled break. However, I am slowlyyyyy readjusting back to my normal schedule, in particular the early mornings, but the one thing I don’t have to worry about this week was dinner. I made this filling French stew on Sunday, my last day of holidays, and enjoyed the leftovers for the first half of the week. Thank goodness or I would have been back to my old diet of Subway sandwiches for dinner! And this stew is much tastier.
But I have to thank Rachel Khoo for this recipe. If you haven’t heard of her, it’s my pleasure to introduce you! She is the most adorable British chef, who lives in Paris, and puts her own amazing spin on classic French recipes. If you don’t believe me, watch this clip from her BBC series ‘Little Paris Kitchen’! I have a major girl crush on this chick. I have made several of her recipes and they are ALWAYS a hit! Not only can she bake and cook but she doodles the best little sketches for her cookbooks and TV series! A foodie and an artist!!! A girl after my own heart!
Boeuf Bourguignon avec des Quenelles de Baguettes
(Burgundy Beef with Baguette Dumplings)
Recipe from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen
- 2 lbs. beef shin or stewing beef, cut into 6 large chunks (I bought pre-cut stewing beef in much smaller chunks)
- 3-4 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 5 oz. (150 g) lardons or cubes of smoked bacon (I used thick cut bacon, 4-6 slices, I can’t remember exactly)
- 10 button onions or shallots, peeled (Button onions are usually called Pearl onions in North America)
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed until flat
- 1 bay leaf
- a bunch of parsley stems
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 3 cloves
- 10 peppercorns, crushed
- 2 cups of red wine (traditionally it should be from the Burgundy region of France)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- a pinch sugar
- 7 oz. (200g) stale baguette or other bread, crust included (it was a bit more than half of my baguette)
- 1 cup milk
- a pinch nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- a handful of chopped parsley
- 1 egg
- 10 chestnut mushrooms (I used Crimini this time and White Button Mushrooms last time, both cut into quarters)
- 2 Tbsp butter, for frying
1. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Dust the meat with 2 tablespoons of the flour. Heat the oil in a large casserole over a high heat and fry the meat in batches until browned. Remove each batch, then fry the lardons, onions, garlic, herbs and spices in the same pan until golden brown. Return the meat to the pan and add the wine, water, tomato paste, and sugar. Scrape up the caramelized bits- they will add flavour. Cover, place in the oven, and cook for 3 hours or until the meat is tender ad almost falling apart.
2. Cut the baguette into small cubes and place in a bowl. Bring the milk to a boil and pour over. Stir so that the milk is absorbed evenly, then cover and leave for 15 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper; stir in two-thirds of the parsley and the egg; and mix in 1 tablespoon of flour. If the mix is too wet (it should be moist and only slightly sticky), add the remaining tablespoon of flour. Wet your hands a little to help stop the dough sticking to them, then make 12-14 dumplings (smaller than a golf ball).
3. About 20 minutes before the stew is ready, add the mushrooms and season with salt. Heat the butter in a large frying pan and fry the dumplings on a medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp, then drain. Garnish stew with parsley and serve with the dumplings.
Make the stew the day before to give the flavors time to develop. Add the mushrooms before gently reheating (no boiling). The dumplings can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 hours.