Cooking for Mom this Mother’s Day

Okay, so I’m not insinuating anything here…I’m sure that all the guys who follow hautemealz.com are skillet-wielding Iron Chefs…but with Mother’s Day coming up, maybe you know someone, who could use some tips…

NOTE: The management at hautemealz.com takes no responsibility for this post being forwarded to you…especially if it came from your wife or mom…

That said, I’ve got a few tips on what to do (and not do) to create a “special dinner” to let Mom know how much she means to you…

Key points that I found (and have found) to be valuable:

  • A “special” dinner is one that she doesn’t have to do the dishes after.
  • If she has a favorite dish, make it. If you don’t know how…learn. She’s Mom…she’s worth it!
  • Portion control: bigger isn’t always better. a 16oz Porterhouse with all the trimmings isn’t necessary (unless you’re cooking for me). Think small and classy. Groaning, belching, and meat-sweats are for guy’s night.
  • Dessert is key. You know it and I know it. If you don’t serve her favorite dessert, forget the whole dinner and just order a pizza.
  • Have a plan. With no plan there’s no attack. With no attack, there’s no victory!

So…husbands, sons, boyfriends,  if you’re a hautemealz.com subscriber… it’s time to man up!

Our Mother’s Day dinner, next week, is the classic and classy “Easy Boeuf Bourguignon”…and it’s your turn to cook, serve, and clean up afterwards!

(Chill out…if you can plug in the slow cooker, you can make this.)

Boeuf (beef) bourguignon is one of many examples of peasant dishes being slowly refined into haute cuisine. Most likely, the particular method of slowly simmering the beef in wine originated as a means of tenderizing cuts of meat that would have been too tough to cook any other way.

Over time, the dish became a standard of French cooking. It is a stew prepared with beef braised in red wine, (traditionally Burgundy), and beef broth, generally flavored with garlic, onions and a bouquet garni, with pearl onions and mushrooms added towards the end of cooking.

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julie Child describes the dish as “certainly one of the most delicious dishes concocted by man.”

Okay, mom…show him how to plug in the slow cooker, please.

PS – If you really want to step this up, here’s the original version as well, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking…it’s a bit more complicated that Julia’s versions…but it’s pretty awesome, too!

-Chef Perry

Boeuf Bourguignon a La Julia Child

Use a wine that you would drink — not cooking wine. And the better the cut of beef, the better the stew. As the beef is combined with braised onions and sauteed mushrooms, all that is needed to complete your main course is a bowl of potatoes or noodles and lots of good bread for the sauce.”

For the Stew
8 ounces bacon, solid chunk
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine – Burgundy or Chianti
2 -3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, mashed
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaves, preferably fresh

For the Sauteed Mushrooms
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

First prepare the bacon: cut off the rind and reserve. Cut the bacon into lardons about 1/4″ thick and 1 1/2″ long. Simmer the rind and the lardons for ten minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry the lardons and rind and reserve.

Pre-heat the oven to 450°F

Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large (9″ – 10″ wide, 3″ deep) fireproof casserole and warm over moderate heat. Saute the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry off the pieces of beef and saute them, a few at a time in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon. In the same oil/fat, saute the shallots and the carrot until softened. Pour off the fat and return the lardons and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion. Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.

Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.

Now, lower the heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven. Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs and the bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove. Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.

To Finish the Stew:

When the meat is tender, remover the casserole from the oven and distribute the mushrooms over the meat.

If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency.

Taste for seasoning.

If you are serving immediately, place the covered casserole over medium low heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by noodles, potatoes or rice and garnished with fresh parsley.

If serving later or the next day, allow the casserole to cool and place cold, covered casserole in the refrigerator.

20 minutes prior to serving, place over medium low heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Bon Appétit!

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