Bouef bourguignon is apparently making audiences swoon; but there are other menu items, too. If you love Julia Child her bouef a la catalane is much more interesting: aromatics, tender beef stewed at the end with rice and parmesan cheese; divine. If you pine for protein and wine, I am gaga over coq au vin, but not Julia Child's recipe. I find it much too fussy! Blanching the bacon, cooking the onions and mushrooms separately...
Here's a typical recipe, modified to my taste.
Julienne four strips of bacon. Render them in a dutch oven or oven ready covered casserole dish, until cooked, not crisp. Remove. Normally I prefer dark meat, but for coq au vin I like taking two whole (four half) chicken breasts with bone and skin and cutting them into thirds, skin, meat, bone. Briefly brown the chunks of chicken in the rendered bacon fat, on high heat. Remove to the dish with the bacon. Take half a pound of thawed frozen pearl onions and brown in the bacon fat. Remove to dish. Pour in an inch of $2 Chuck (your choice, Shiraz or Cabernet) and deglaze your casserole dish. Pour in the rest of the bottle. Add two minced cloves of garlic, two sprigs of parsely, half a teaspoon dried thyme, a sprig of basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked ingredients (chicken, bacon, onions) and simmer ten minutes, lid askew. Add one pound rinsed and quartered mushrooms. Simmer another 25 minutes. Add a tablespoon cognac. What?! No cognac, Armagnac or Calvados hanging around? A splash of brandy will do. Simmer another five minutes.
As the mixture simmers boil as many peeled potatoes as you see fit. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a small sauce pan, mix with 2 tblsp flour. Mix. Gradually add a cup of the cooking sauce into the saucepan and mix until smooth. Pour back into the casserole dish.
Serve over the potatoes, with plenty of sauce. Finish it up the French way? Mop up the sauce with crusty bread, and have some wonderful cheese to mop up the crusty bread. O la la!
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