Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon a la Julia Child with a Few Twists by Moi :0)

I would like to begin this entry by apologizing profusely for my long hiatus. I've been dealing with some health issues and haven't had much energy until recently, but I promise this recipe will more than make up for my absence! This might very well be my favorite recipe to make. I recently saw the movie "Julie and Julia," a film about the late, great master of French cooking, Julia Child. One of the recipes made in the movie is Julia's famous Boeuf Bourguignon. Bouef Bourguignon quite literally means "Beef Burgundy," but it's essentially beef cubes cooked in red wine with mushrooms, onions, and bacon. My main challenge upon pursuing this dish was finding substitutes for regular alcoholic wine and the bacon (from a pig) since I'm Muslim and therefore, do not consume alcohol or pork products. Thankfully, I believe I was able to pull it off pretty well with the things I used. I was able to find red and white dealcoholized wine at my local grocery store. Also, instead of traditional bacon from a pig, I split the bacon requirement into half beef bacon and half turkey bacon strips that I purchased at my local halal meat store.

Now I should warn you that making Boeuf Bourgignon is a lengthy process, so I would recommend making it on a day when you're well-rested, really in the mood to cook, and have 6 to 8 hours to devote towards cooking (depending on your speed and skill level). Getting help from your spouse or children might not be a bad idea either. My husband and I made this together for the first time and not only did everything go faster, but I definitely had a better time cooking with him than I would have by myself.

Making Boeuf Bourguignon requires two separate recipes that I have included below. Don't worry about making them ahead of time because you'll have plenty of time to make them while the beef is in the oven.


Kitchen Supplies:

* 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep ( I used a dutch oven)
* Slotted spoon

Boeuf Bourgignon:

* 6 ounces bacon (I used a half and half combination of beef and turkey bacon)
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
* 3 pounds lean stewing beef ( I used rump roast and 5 lbs. instead), cut into 2-inch cubes
* 1 sliced carrot (or a small bag of baby carrots)
* 1 medium to large sliced onion
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1/4 tsp. pepper
* 2 Tbsp. flour
* 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
* 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
* 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
* 2 cloves mashed garlic
* 1/2 tsp. thyme
* Crumbled bay leaf
* Blanched bacon rind ( I skipped this part)
* 18 to 24 small white pearl onions, brown-braised in stock
* 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms, sautéed in butter
* Parsley sprigs


Remove rind from bacon, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). I simply took my pre-sliced strips of bacon and cut them into 1 and 1/2 inch long pieces. Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéeing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

How to prepare the white pearl onions:

Oignons Glacés À Brun [Brown-braised Onions]

What you will need:

* A 9 to 10-inch enameled skillet
* 18-24 peeled white pearl onions
* 1 and 1/2 tbs. butter
* 1 and 1/2 tbs. olive oil
* 1/2 cup beef broth
* A medium herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 1/4 tsp. thyme tied in a cheesecloth

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
Then either braise them as follows:

Pour in liquid, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet.
OR bake them as follows:

Transfer the onions and their sautéeing fat to a shallow baking dish or casserole just large enough to hold them in one layer. Set uncovered in upper third of a preheated 350-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes, turning them over once or twice. They should be very tender, retain their shape, and be a nice golden brown. Remove herb bouquet.

How to prepare the mushrooms:

Champignons Sautés Au Beurre [Sauteed Mushrooms in Butter]

What you will need:

* A 10-inch enameled skillet
* 2 tbs. butter
* 1 tb. olive oil
* 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms , washed, well dried, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large

Optional: *1 to 2 tbs. minced shallots or green onions
*Salt and pepper

Place the skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see that the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. During their sauté, the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.

Toss the shallots or green onions with the mushrooms. Sauté over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Sautéed mushrooms may be cooked in advance, set aside, then reheated when needed.

When the melt is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For immediate serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Julia Child suggests serving this dish with boiled potatoes, buttered noodles, steamed rice, or butter peas. I chose some fresh French and asiago bread to go with mine and it tasted really good. Hope it turns out well for all of you! Bon appetit!

Monday, February 9, 2009

South Indian Chicken 65

I realize that being Hyderabadi, it would be a crime for me to keep my knowledge of south Indian food to myself. :) That being said, here is one of my personal favorite south Indian recipes. The origin of chicken 65 dates back to early 60's. There are different stories behind its name, but regardless, it's the taste that makes this dish an all-time favorite. While extremely popular in restaurants, with the right use of spices, the same restaurant quality can easily be achieved at home. :)


-1 lb. chicken breast cut into small chunks (or legs and thighs if you prefer)
-4 tsp. red chili powder
-2 tsp. coriander powder
-1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
-1/4 tsp. garam masala powder (available at any Indo/Pak grocer)
-5 tsp. lemon juice
-2 tsp. plain yogurt
-1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
-About 3 drops of red food coloring
-1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
-2 cups oil (for deep frying)
-Small handful of coriander leaves (for garnishing)

*In a large bowl, mix red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, garam masala, food coloring, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, and yogurt and make a thick paste.
*Add chicken pieces to this and rub all over to thoroughly coat chicken with masala all around. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour (covered) in the refrigerator. (The longer it marinates, the better)
*When chicken is ready to be cooked, heat oil in a deep sauce pan or wok and deep fry over medium high heat for about 6 minutes or until it turns dark brown on all around.
*Drain excess oil and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with lemon wedges and onion slices and eat with rice or by itself!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Big Bowl of Love in the form of Chili :-)

I got a recipe for chili from my friend Julie and added a few of my own twists to it. This was the first time I ever had chili because growing up, my mother only made Indian, Arab, and occasionally Chinese food. Also, since I only eat zabiha meat, I wasn't able to eat it out at restaurants. Alhamdulillah, I absolutely love it. I think it has quite possibly become my new favorite comfort food. It's slightly time-consuming, but overall pretty easy to make. And a big old potful will last you a while. This is a great recipe for a cold day and is sure to warm you body and soul. :)

*Note: This would also be the perfect dish for vegetarians--just leave out the meat! ;)


-1 large onion, diced
-2 medium cans stewed tomatoes
-1 large can diced tomatoes
-1 to 1 and 1/2 lbs. ground beef (or turkey, lamb, or chicken if you like)
-1 red, 1 green, and 1 yellow bell pepper diced
-2 cans kidney beans
-1 can black beans
-1 can corn
-2 to 3 tbs. vegetable oil
-1 packet chili seasoning (I use McCormick)
-1 to 2 tsp. taco seasoning (not necessary, but a good addition if you have some)
-Salt to taste (I don't use any)
-Pepper (to taste)
-3/4 tsp. chili powder
-Pinch of cayenne pepper
-1/2 of a small jalapeno pepper diced (optional)

*First, begin by sauteing onions in an open-faced pan. Add vegetable oil.
*When the onions start to caramelize, add your ground meat and cook thoroughly until brown.
*Drain any excess liquid after meat is cooked.
*Add meat and onion mixture to pot (or crock pot) and add all remaining ingredients. Allow to simmer over medium-low heat for at least 30 to 40 minutes. (The longer you let it simmer, the better it will be).

*Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with shredded taco cheese. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hawaiian Shrimp Skewers

I love coming up with fun recipes for seafood--especially shrimp. Since seafood is so versatile, it can be paired with a myriad of flavors. I came up with this next recipe for those who love those sweet and tangy combinations like I do. This recipe is so quick and easy and is perfect as an appetizer,snack, side dish, or addition to any barbecue.

-1 lb. cleaned and deveined shrimp (fresh is best, but frozen works just fine)
-1 can pineapple chunks
-3 to 4 tbs. honey
-1 tsp. red pepper flakes (Use more if you want it spicy and less if you like mild heat)

*Preheat your oven to 375°
*Mix red pepper flakes and honey in a bowl.
*Remove tails from shrimp.
*Alternate threading one shrimp and one pineapple chunk onto skewers. (I recommending presoaking your skewers overnight before using them in the oven as they may set off your fire alarm.)
*Apply honey and red pepper flakes mixture to both sides of skewers with a basting brush.
*Place skewers on a tray with raised edges so that the base of the tray does not actually touch the food, but instead catches any drippings.
*Place tray with skewers in the oven for 10 minutes.
*After 10 minutes, turn over each skewer and baste one more time.
*Put skewers back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
*Serve hot or cold.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Southern Skillet Cornbread

I can't believe the first time I had cornbread was only just over a year ago! It is such a wonderfully satisfying food and it has quickly become one of my favorite comforts as well as my husband's. This recipe is pretty easy and you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry! I LOVE this recipe and I know you will too. :)

-2 cups cornmeal
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
-2 tbs. baking powder
-2 eggs
-1 cup margarine, melted
-4 cups buttermilk
-Corn oil (enough to coat skillet)

*Preheat oven to 400°F.

*In a large bowl, mix together corn meal, flour, salt, and baking powder.
*In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, butter, and buttermilk.
*Add corn oil to skillet and swirl oil around to coat bottom and sides.
*Leave remaining oil in pan.
*Return to high heat for 1 minute.
*Pour the cornbread batter into the skillet and cook on high heat until bubbles start to form in the center.
*Remove from stove.
*Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
*Serve warm!

Southern-style Collard Greens

Collard greens are one of those secret treasures that not many know about unless they're from the south. I discovered this tasty find when I began my quest to learn southern cooking. Collard greens are quite pleasing to the palette when made the right way and they're a great way to sneak in some of those leafy greens that are so good for our health into your diet. This particular recipe is a variation of one given to me by my mother-in-law. I added a few of my own touches to it. Give it a try! :)

-4 bunches collard greens
-1 and 1/2 cups seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
-3 beef bouillon cubes (I use Maggi)
-1 pkg. (about 10 strips) smoked turkey bacon

Preparing the greens:

It's important to make sure your collard greens are properly cleaned as they may contain a lot of dirt, bacteria, and even little bugs sometimes.

*Fill up your (clean) sink with cold water and add lots of salt (to kill any bacteria).
*Submerge collard greens in water and move around with your hands.
*Leave greens in water for about 10 minutes so that all of the debris falls to the bottom of the sink.
*Drain water and gently wash off any remaining salt and/or debris from greens.

In a large pot:
*Bring to boil about 4 qt. water.
*Add seasoned salt, beef bouillon cubes, and turkey bacon slices.

*Gently pat the excess water off of your greens with a paper towel.
* Roll out each leaf and cut out the stem so that all that's left are two clean halves of a leaf. (Some people like to keep a little stem, but it's really up to you)
*After all the greens have been destemmed, stack 5 or 6 leaves on top of each other and roll up.
*Cut the roll of greens in 1/2 inch chunks.
*Place all cut up greens into a bowl as you go along.
*When all greens are cut up, add them to your pot of boiling liquids and turkey bacon.
*Reduce heat to medium-low and allow greens to cook for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.
*Drain water, discard turkey bacon slices, and serve hot!
(Optional: Southerners often like to add some hot sauce to their greens)

Bon appetit!

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are one of the simplest comfort foods to make. They're also one of the most satisfying. Try this classic recipe!

-2 lbs. Idaho (brown) potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (about 5 cups)
-3/4 cup hot milk (1%, 2%, or whole milk)
-2 tbs. butter
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. black pepper

Optional ingredients:
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
-2 tbs. freshly chopped parsley or dill

*Place potatoes in large pot and add enough water to cover potatoes.
*Cook 13 to 15 minutes or until very tender.
*Drain potatoes in colander.
*Return cooked potatoes to pot and stir over medium heat, about 1 minute, until excess water has evaporated.
*With potato masher, mash in hot milk, butter, salt, and pepper.
*Beat with wooden spoon until potatoes are smooth and creamy. Stir in any optional add-ins, if desired.

Enjoy! :)