Showing posts with label stew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stew. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is it stew or beef Bourdelaise?

Last week's winner for the book giveaway is:

Linda R!

Congrats! I'll be in touch via email.

Look below for this week's giveaway!

I'm gearing up for the release of the next Cookbook Nook Mystery: INHERIT THE WORD. It releases next week! Have you pre-ordered?

In order to gear up for PR or writing this fun series, I start browsing cookbooks looking for recipes. I love going through cookbooks and cooking magazines.

But this week, I brought out my old trusty-dusty The Gourmet Cookbook Volume I. When I was a teen and I was really getting into cooking, my grandmother bought me this cookbook. She also bought me a subscription to Gourmet Magazine. Remember that one? Gone now, but so wonderful when I was receiving it. Filled with glorious pictures and recipes, some of which I’d make, others that I would dream about.

The recipe I’m sharing today is a go-to recipe for me. Stew. In Gourmet it’s called Ragoût de Boeuf Bordelaise (Beef Ragout Bordeaux). I'm not French. That title is just too hard for, stew.

I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years. When I first was making this recipe, I didn’t eat bacon. I know, weird, right???  But I was sort of quirky during my high school years. I wanted to be skinny-skinny. I thought it mattered. Yes, I was anorexic (before people knew it was an epidemic). I am a Type-A personality; there's no doubt about it. I was lucky to survive the experience. Now I love to eat. Phew!! The recipe also called for turnips. I mean, c’mon, really? Does anyone like turnips?

So, I’ll make mention of what the original recipe calls (like bacon fat), but I’ll tell you what I used instead. Do what you will. J

No matter what, enjoy what you eat. Enjoy the experience of cooking. Have fun!

PS  This recipe would make a great dinner for the Academy Awards...coming Sunday. I hope Ellen does a great job. 

Ragoût de Boeuf Bordelaise

3 pounds beef stew cubes.
1 cup red Bordeaux (moderately priced red wine, like Gallo)
1 teaspoon salt
2 whole cloves (really important!)
1 large bay leaf
1 garlic clove, crushed
8 grinds of a peppermill
4 tablespoons oil (recipe calls for 4 slices of bacon, cooked *see below)
2-4 cups beef stock (I make sure mine is gluten-free)
1 teaspoon bouquet garni (I used Penzey’s; a mixture rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram, sage, tarragon, dill)
2 carrots chopped into slices
12 white onions (I used 1 large yellow onion, chopped into eighths)
12 mushroom caps
12 white turnip balls (did not say how many; can be omitted, IMHO)
1 ½ cups cooked peas, if desired (I love peas, but I don’t add these)
2-3 quartered potatoes (I use red potatoes)


Put the meat in a deep dish and add 1 cup red wine, salt, cloves, bay leaf, crushed garlic, and crushed pepper.  Stir and marinate for 1 hour in he refrigerator. Stir occasionally.

In a sauté pan, cook 4 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces, and fry them over low heat OR heat up 4 tablespoons of oil.  Drain the beef cubes, RESERVING the marinade, and add the beef to the bacon fat or oil. Sear over high heat until the meat is almost black all over.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Transfer the meat and oil to a flameproof casserole, add the marinade and heat to boiling. Add 2-4 cups beef stock and bouqet garni. Bring to boil again and boil for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the vegetables (HOLD OFF ON ADDING THE MUSHROOMS). Bake the ragout, covered, in a moderate oven (350 degrees F) for 1 ¼ hours. Add mushrooms now. If desired, stir in 1 ½ cups cooked green peas. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve hot.

By the way, INHERIT THE WORD got a great review in Library Journal:

"Readers will relish the extensive cookbook suggestions, the cooking primer, and the whole foodie phenomenon. Gerber’s perky tone with a multigenerational cast makes this series a good match for Lorna Barrett (“Booktown Mystery” series) and Nancy J. Parra (“A Baker’s Treat” series)."  [High praise, indeed!]

For the book giveaway this week, leave a comment with your email included. If you tweet or share on Facebook, tell me in your comment and you'll be entered TWICE. 

I'll give you your choice of one of the Cheese Shop mysteries, including the latest DAYS OF WINE AND ROQUEFORT, or a copy of FINAL SENTENCE, the 1st in the Cookbook Nook mysteries. I'll announce the winner next week. Good luck!


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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cleo Coyle Shares a Recipe for Italian Stew from a Reality TV Guest

Cleo Coyle, pasta eater,
is author of The Coffeehouse
After coming home from a trip to Italy, Kerry Milliron, a longtime friend of mine, told me about a traditional Italian dish called spiedina. I asked him if he would share the recipe, and he was happy to provide the details. (I was equally happy to make the stew, take digital photos, and go into a food trance of enjoyment as I ate it.)

This old school Italian stew is a very simple one to make. It also brings me right back to my childhood when my Italian-born mother and aunt would make a long-simmering meat sauce for Sunday’s pasta. If you make it, may you and your loved ones eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

Watch Kerry on
the Discovery Channel!

You can see my friend Kerry Milliron as a guest in an episode of the new reality show Cash Cab, airing tomorrow (Wednesday), March 14, at 9:30 AM. If you're curious and you have the Discovery Channel in your cable mix, check out the show and have fun. :) 

I don't have a picture of Ker (just his lovely wife, Julie, in the photo below), but if you forced me to give you a celeb lookalike, it would have to be Jason Statham of the Transporter movies. In other words, if you see a man who looks like this...tell him Cleo Coyle says buon appetito!

(Kerry is a true Renaissance man, IMO. He's been an actor, dancer, poet, author. He's a devoted husband who cooks with passion and lives with joie de vivre. He also happens to be a publishing exec at Random House, and none of the above ever stopped him from having fun on the streets of NYC or Italy.)

Kerry's Spiedina: 
An Italian Stew

Text below courtesy of Kerry Milliron 

Spiedina is a simple stew that I first tasted in Ortona, on the Adriatic coast of Italy. The root of spiedina, in Italian, literally means skewered, and the nearby mountain town of Guardiagrele is famous for their skewered grilled meats. 

The Ortonians--whose more temperate clime allows them nearly year-round access to fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, etc.--probably found the spitted meats of Guardiagrele tasty but dry, and used them to add gusto to some of their local recipes. Their version of spiedina combines chunks of meat with a thick tomato base, for a rich ragout that's as quick and simple as bakery pizza.

~ Kerry

Kerry Milliron lives with his wife,
Julie, in New York's East village  

Julia Milliron in an ancient kitchen of Herculaneum, Italy, a
Roman town destroyed 
 in 79 AD, along with Pompeii, by the volcanic  eruption of Mount Vesuvius. (Photo by Kerry Milliron.)

Kerry's Spiedina: 
An Italian Stew


Salt & pepper
1 Pound of cubed beef tenderloin*
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 clove chopped garlic
6 inches of dry (hard) Italian sausage (If you can't find dry sausage, try pepperoni instead.)*
1 28-ounce can of crushed Italian tomatoes

Step 1: Grill (or saute) your beef cubes until nicely browned, and set aside. 

Step 2: In a large saucepan over med-low flame, heat olive oil, and saute chopped onion, garlic, and your chunks of dry, hard Italian sausage for about 5 minutes. (If sausage begins to smoke or burn, temporarily remove it.)

Step 3: Stir in can of crushed Italian tomatoes, add browned beef cubes, and simmer, partially covered, over low flame for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally (about every 15 minutes). NOTE: If the stew boils over your pot, lower the flame and take off the lid completely. If the stew appears to be cooking down too quickly (if it becomes too thick or dry too soon) just add a bit of water and continue cooking. Don't try to rush the process, the stew should slow-cook 90 minutes to 2 hours for the most flavorful results.

Serve with crusty bread and a robust beverage. Store leftover stew in refrigerator.

Final Notes from Cleo...

* When I made Kerry's recipe, I upped the beef cube amount to 1-1/2 pounds. 

* If you can't find dry (hard) Italian sausage, ask the folks in your grocery store's deli section to help you locate it or try substituting pepperoni. 

* As with all stews, this one tastes even better the second day. Spices continue to blend, offering an even more flavorful experience. On Day 1, I ate the dish as a stew with crusty bread and red wine. On Day 2, I ladled the reheated stew over a big bowl of spaghetti because it makes a delicious meat sauce for pasta. 

Thanks again to Kerry for sharing his recipe. ~ Cleo

Perito, Italy  (Photo by Kerry Milliron)

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of

To get more recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or 
learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.