Some meals are pretty, some meals are mouth-wateringly delicious but it’s rare that you will find a dish that is as good to eat as it is beautiful to behold. Boeuf Bourguignon, a peasant dish, fills your house with the aroma of home, a stew of great ingredients, simmered for hours, a pleasure to sit down to, a joy to eat with family. Pretty, well not so much. A dish anyone you cook it for will thank you for, absolutely. I recently made Boeuf Bourguignon, with the meat from a locally bred and raised 4 year-old Charolais cow picture below from Wikipedia . Charolais is the breed traditionally used for Boeuf Bourguignon, it is an old French breed used for both sheer volume of meat as well as apparently for muscle power. A friend of mine lives across the border in France, in a tiny village, with farms still embedded in the center of it, a river running through it, and fields all around it in which herds of cattle graze. My friend sources his meat from the farm next door, the cattle are raised literally in his back yard, he sees them in the mornings, he sees them being fed, and when he drives to work he passes the fields in which they graze. So when he called me and offered me some meat, I said yes. I like the idea of supporting local farms, I like sourcing eggs from a farm I can cycle to, meat from a farm round the corner, where I know how the animals were raised, and I know that they were not transported long distances before being slaughtered. Eating meat is to accept slaughter of a living being, it’s not comfortable, but there it is. For me if I am going to eat meat, I want to try to ensure, that the animal I am eating had an adequate life before being killed.
Anyway below is the pack of meat my friend gave me. It shows the date of birth of the animal, the race, the date of slaughter, the origin of the animal, it’s breed, and where it was butchered. I like all that information; I like feeling I can follow the chain from beginning to end. When was the last time you knew that much about the meat you were eating?
Also the meat looked great both packaged:
And unpacked: I pretty much followed this recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon – however, I didn’t bother with pouring away the frying fat, not sure that the peasants who made this dish famous would have bothered. Sorry, let me correct myself, I am certain, the peasants who developed this dish would not pour away fat. That practice is a development of modern times. I also couldn’t be bothered to make it in the oven, but just used my le creuset look alike and simmered on the hob.
I used free-range organic bacon in the recipe a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon Los Vascos (I had one open, I used to drink it as a student, it’s still ok to drink, ok to cook with but doesn’t rock my boat anymore in a glass…) I also skipped the filtering out carrots and stuff at the end as well. I just served as is:
It was absolutely delicious, we mopped up the sauce with french bread, and ate the left-overs for lunch the next day. The house was filled with the scent of stew, for some reason I felt like I was being pampered and when we sat down we were all really excited about the dish to come, which doesn’t happen every day. It was in short an amazingly satisfying and wonderful dish. I also served a very delicious and simple potato gratin – simply made – take one clove of garlic and rub it around your oven proof container. Take some about 1 kg non-floury potatoes and cut into 1 cm wide slices. Take 60g of grated cheese, I used gruyere, which is what I had and 25cl of cream and 30g of butter. Put your ingredients in layers into an oven proof container – some potatoes, some cream, some gruyère, potatoes, cream gruyère, you get the idea. Finish off with some flakes of butter on top. Salt and pepper (black, freshly ground, need I specify?). Put in oven and back at 200°C for about 50 minutes. Serve with the beef stew:
Voila, so I am once again a day late for Angie’s fiesta friday – but the offerings I bring to the table are well worth it, fellow party-goers and Angie followers :). Happy weekend all!