Kneads and Cravings: Feeling fancy with French friends

Growing up, I had several close friends who are Francophiles. They not only speak French fluently, but they are so invested in their undying love of French cuisine that they probably bleed brie. For a period after college, one of them lived in France and honed her ratatouille skills. The other currently lives in Paris, and has lived in France now for a few years and she manages to pass as a real Parisian with her impeccable French and her in-depth knowledge of French cuisine. Well, during one of her recent (and terribly brief) visits to the states I made her Beef Bourguignon, which is essentially a French beef stew and she enjoyed it (trust me, I interrogated her about it afterwards). So if you’re in the mood for something more French than the premade croissant dough available in most grocery stores, give this elevated stew a try.

This recipe is not difficult, but it takes eight plus hours to make because it’s prepared in a slow cooker and it involves chopping a fairly large quantity of vegetables. On the bright side it contains wine, so you can always sneak a sip or two while chopping up the onions.

Beef Bourguignon

Serves 8-10

8 oz. bacon

2 lb. beef chuck, cubed

1 bottle pinot noir

4 carrots

1 lb onions

2 cups beef broth

10 oz. mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon. thyme

2 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

½ cup parsley.



In a large pan, cook the bacon until it is crisp, remove the bacon from the pan and put to the side. Use some of the bacon grease to sear the beef until golden brown. Once the meat is set, place it in the slow cooker. Deglaze the pan and remove stray bits of beef by swirling the wine in the pan and dump it into the slow cooker. Sauté the carrots, garlic, onions and thyme in the bacon fat before adding to the slow cooker with the broth. Sauté the mushrooms in the bacon grease and place to the side. Cook the contents of the slow cooker for eight hours and stir occasionally. Add the mushrooms and bacon to the slow cooker after the eight hours are up and continue to cook the stew for another half hour. Turn off the heat, garnish with parsley (if desired) and serve.