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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  1. I entered a comment but it just disappeared---so I'll try again, but not so wordy this time. I like to make beef stew a lot during the winter, but don't like to go to the store so it turns out different each time due to what I have on hand.

    1. Sue, that's great. You must have a packed pantry (or freezer or fridge). :)

      Daryl / Avery

  2. Beef stew is one of my grandson's favorite meals.

  3. I like turnips. I peel and dice the small white ones into my lamb barley soup instead of potatoes. They get nice and soft without adding any additional starch.
    sgiden at

    1. So...turnips. Do they have a flavor, like radish? Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever eaten one unless it's been hidden in something.

      Daryl/ Avery

    2. If you cut them up small and put them in soup they pick up the flavor of the soup. The small white and purple ones are pretty mild. I cut them up with a batch of other root vegetables and roast them sometimes.

  4. Beef and red wine.
    Need we say more?!

  5. Whether it's stew or beef Bourdelaise, this time of year it's always great comfort food. When I was young my grandmother gave me Better Homes & Gardens Junior Cookbook and I was off from there. Just sitting down and reading a cookbook is fun. I still have 2 volumes of McCall's Cooking School - every few weeks they would send you more cards, recipe on front, step-by-step picture directions or tips on the back. I still love them, although in today's world they are labor intensive and definitely not light.

    Congrats on the good review! I love to read books with food and cooking and recipes.

    1. Sally, thanks for chiming in. I know what you mean. Some of the recipes are so labor-intensive that it takes the joy out of them. I made a cake a while back that had me cooking for 6 hours. It was good...but not that good. LOL

      Daryl / Avery

  6. Beef stew has been a must during this miserably cold MN winter! It's below zero now and the windchill is unmentionable.

    1. Below zero. I'm so sorry!!!! My stepsister lives in Wisconsin. She's all about layering. When I lived in Connecticut, I was a master layer-et (such a word?) Hang in there. Reading helps, right?

      Daryl / Avery

  7. Good comfort food, goes back to childhood. Love your books.

    1. Thanks, Kaye. There are so many good foodie memories as a child. I think those are what shape our tastes later in life? That's why I love to teach a child to cook. :)

      Daryl / Avery

  8. we live in a dry county so nothing with alcohol can be made, but i do make a roast with veggies that has cream of mushroom soup in it that is delicious even the next day. now i'm hungry. lol

    1. LCD: So, even in a dry county, you can't cook with wine if you bought the wine somewhere else?

      Daryl / Avery

  9. Beef stew is a wonderful cold weather meal. I like any recipe I can make in the crock pot. I also used to have a beef stew recipe (found in a magazine) that was made in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Lots of work but fun in the fall.

    1. Made in a hollowed-out pumpkin. That's interesting. I can imagine the flavors!

      Daryl Avery

  10. Love beef stew so much! Yes, again below zero here in Minnesota and stew is a must! Where in Wisconsin does your stepsister live? I am from there. I seriously might try your Ragoût de Boeuf Bordelaise on Sunday for the Academy Awards. I know, cannot wait for Ellen, I think she'll do great! (And a glass of the red wine on the side for the Awards as well!)

    1. Tami, she lives near Madison.

      Yes, a glass of red on the side. Definitely. :) To your health!

      Daryl l/ Avery

  11. Your recipe reminded me of my grandmother's Beef Stew...Thank you for the little walk down Memory Lane and, now I'm hungry! LOL!! Also, thank you for the opportunity to win a wonderful book...I just love cozies. ~ Donna E.

    1. Oops! Forgot my ~ Donna E.

    2. Thanks, Donna. I enjoy walks down Memory Lane, too. :)

      Daryl / Avery