I Love Ina

I love Ina Garten, not because she is a great chef and I use her recipes frequently, but because she loves Jeffery, her husband.  In her shows she is always talking about pleasing Jeffery.  I often try to inspire Missy to emulate Ina, a devoted and doting wife but at the end of the day the fact remains, I like my women a little on the feisty side.  Missy is feisty and fun so I am left to show her what devoted and doting looks like, and who knows maybe one day she will get it figured out.

Ina has a cookbook, BAREFOOT IN PARIS that has wonderful recipes.  One of which is Beef Bourguignon, a complicated and time-consuming dish.  Ina has figured out how to replicate the eight hours of preparation and cooking into a three-hour time.   So on a lazy Sunday afternoon, after a trip to the grocery and finding a chuck roast on sale I decided to go for it.  WOW!!!  It is a bit time-consuming but low intensity in effort.

We have a Lodge cast iron dutch oven that we can use on camp outs as well as a stove top and oven.   Into the dutch oven went about seven slices of thick bacon cut into 1″ pieces on medium low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil.  While the bacon rendered down, about ten minutes I cut the chuck roast into 1″ cubes, salted and peppered them.  With a slotted spoon I took out the bacon and put the chuck roast into the dutch oven and browned the pieces on all sides, it took two batches so that every piece could make contact with the bottom of the dutch oven.  While the beef browned, about three to five minutes per batch, I sliced two yellow onions, cut a pound of carrots into 1″ pieces on a diagonal and chopped three cloves of garlic.  I took out the beef with a slotted spoon to leave the fat in the dutch oven and put the onions and carrots into it.  They cooked for about ten minutes, I put the lid on to keep the steam inside the dutch oven stirring occasionally.  They cooked for about ten minutes until the onions softened and I added the garlic to cook for about a minute or two.  Then I added a half cup of brandy since I didn’t have cognac and lit it on fire, stand back because the flame is impressive.  When the flame dies out add the bacon, beef into the carrots, onions and garlic, then pour in a bottle of a hearty red wine, I used a Merlot we had, and then add beef stock to just cover the meat, stir in a tablespoon of tomato paste and a tablespoon of fresh thyme.  I knew growing it would come in handy!  Bring this to a boil and then put the dutch oven into a 250 degree oven for an hour and a half.  While that is in the oven take out five tablespoons of butter to soften.   When you take it out set it back on a burner and add two tablespoons of  the room temperature butter with three tablespoons of flour blended together.  Add a bag of frozen small whole onions.  In another pan saute some mushrooms in the rest of the butter and add them into the dutch oven, bring this to a boil, reduce to a simmer for at least fifteen minutes.   We poured it over extra wide egg noodles and a salad on the side with a glass of Merlot to wash it down.  I felt really grown up.

This dish has a depth of flavor that is to die for, I mean I often don’t get excited over something I have cooked but this was really really good.  I think that sometimes I talk myself out of trying things because on the surface they look too complicated or look like it is too labor intensive.  This dish takes some prep, but actually the time standing over the stove is minimal and the dish in the oven and simmering is what is time intensive.    I was off check fantasy football while that was going on.  A perfect Sunday dinner, great flavor and plenty of time to follow NFL fantasy football.

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