Julia’s Iconic Recipe For Boeuf Bourguignon – With A Touch Of Honey

Be sure and watch the video. It’s a classic!

This is my favorite of Julia’s recipes, with French Onion Soup a close second. Of course, a touch of honey only makes it better!!

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon

3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 carrot, sliced

1 onion, sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves mashed garlic

1/2 teaspoon thyme

A crumbled bay leaf

2 tablespoons honey

18 to 24 white onions, small

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)

1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cooking Directions

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, honey and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

REMEMBER TO LIKE ROMANCING THE BEE ON FACEBOOK TO WIN PRIZES!

Coq Au Vin Et Miel

250px-Coq_au_vin_rouge

It’s perfect weather for a great pot of Coq Au Vin…  avec Miel!! 

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

6 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 1/4 lb. chicken legs and thighs

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 lb.  mushrooms

3/4 lb. shallots, halved

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups full bodied red wine

6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs

3 fresh thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

1 yellow onion, cut in half

2 tablespoons honey

2 cups chicken broth

3/4 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

Directions:

Cook the bacon until crisp in a large skillet, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in the skillet, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven. Add the garlic, tomato paste and flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the red wine, the honey and the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the bacon, chicken, mushroom mixture, carrots, the herbs, the bay leaf and the yellow onion. Simmer until the chicken is fork-tender, about 2 hours.

Transfer the chicken to a plate. Skim the fat off the sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Discard the herbs and yellow onion and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to Dutch oven. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately with noodles or boiled or mashed potatoes.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 15 – Chicken, Hunter Style

MB2B27_Chicken_Hunter_Style_lg

Uhh, some of you may have noticed that there was a long weekend-shaped hole between Day 14 and Day 15 of the Romancing the Bee Diet…

I was visiting my daughter Molly and the adorable Baby Lucy in Chicago, and between the pizza, the macarons and the three course luncheon at the American Girl Doll Store, I kind of fell off the Diet Wagon.

I’m back on it though, without sustaining too much damage.  After all, the RTBD should be a joyous way of life, not an exercise in Food Deprivation. 

This Chicken Cacciatore recipe is fabulous, and made it easy for me to return to low Glycemic Index eating. 

Of course, I’ll be madly working to create a recipe for RTBD  macarons to further enhance the RTBD experience!!  🙂

macarons

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 (5-6 pound) chicken cut into eighths

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered

2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly julienned

4 ounces thick cut bacon, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices

1 tablespoon honey

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar or capers

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Basil sprigs

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the pan, skin side down and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken to a large plate.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and bacon and cook until golden brown, season with salt and pepper and remove to a plate.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook until almost completely reduced. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, honey and rosemary and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken, mushrooms and bacon to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a large shallow bowl and tent loosely with foil.

Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the vinegar and basil and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 4 – Broiled Scallops With Wine Sauce

scallops

Day 4 of the Romancing the Bee diet is going well!  I am continuing to lose, and what is even better is that I feel great!!  I was definitely eating too much of the wrong things!!

This won’t be an all seafood diet, I promise.  It’s just what I’m craving right now.

Yield:  2-4 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/8 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced shallot

2 tablespoons butter

Olive oil

1/2 pound of scallops

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat, mix chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, honey, shallot and garlic. Cook and stir until the liquid had been reduced to 2 tablespoons. Reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the butter until the liquid combines with it and turns into a creamy sauce. Remove from heat.

Brush scallops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on cooking sheet. Broil about 2 minutes on each side or until opaque.

Serve scallops with wine sauce and steamed non-starchy vegetables.  How about Roasted Pears for dessert??

The Romancing The Bee Diet – The Essentials

Fat bee

Okay, here is the diet I made up.  I’m no expert, but I’ve been on just about every diet there is with varying levels of success. I know what works for me and what doesn’t.

All of the foods allowed on the Romancing The Bee Diet (“RTBD”) are low (below 55) on the Glycemic Index (GI).

The GI is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers–the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A GI of 70 or more is high, a GI of 56 to 69 inclusive is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low.

For me, a food with a low GI keeps me satisfied longer and naturally suppresses my appetite. The variety of foods allowed enables me to still cook creatively!

Foods allowed on the RTBD are listed below. If it’s not on the list, I’m not going to eat it!!

Lean meats such as beef, skinless chicken, lamb, pork loin and veal – 8 ounces per day, OR

Any type of seafood without breading or batter – 8 ounces per day, OR

Three eggs per day (3 ounces), OR

Any combination of the above, not to exceed a total of 8 ounces of protein per day.

One grapefruit per day

One lemon per day

Apples or pears – two per day, total.

Non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, cabbage, salad greens, winter greens, onions, and garlic. (unlimited)

1 avocado per day

2 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter (not light) or mayonnaise made with olive oil (not light), or a combination of these, not to exceed two tablespoons total.

2 tablespoons bleu cheese or parmesan cheese

Unlimited – Tea, diet soda, water, Vinegar, Tabasco, salt, pepper, fresh and dried spices and Dijon Mustard.

1 five ounce glass of wine per day, preferably red. (May be used in cooking)

EATING BREAKFAST IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED!

That’s it.  No counting of calories or carbs or points.  I’m hopeful that the small amounts of “naughty” foods will keep me from feeling deprived, while still allowing me to lose 2-3 pounds per week.

French Onion Soup

Julia Child French onion soup

I don’t know about you, but I’ve eaten like three pigs and a goat over the past three days. I didn’t encounter a chocolate or a cookie that I didn’t want to ingest (and usually did…). The perfect medicine for overdoing it is Julia’s French Onion Soup. With a touch of honey, of course!

1 1/2 pounds (680 grams or 24 ounces or about 5 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons (42 grams or 1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt, plus additional to taste
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) honey (helps the onions to brown)
3 tablespoons (24 grams or 7/8 ounce) all-purpose flour
2 quarts (8 cups or 1.9 liters) beef or other brown stock*
1/2 cup (118 ml) dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons (45 ml) cognac or brandy

To finish [Gratinée]
1 tablespoon grated raw onion
1 to 2 cups (to taste) grated Swiss or a mixture of Swiss and Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, melted
12 to 16 1-inch thick rounds French bread, toasted until hard

Melt the butter and oil together in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over moderately low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat them in oil and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to real low and let them slowly steep for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly and stir in the salt and honey. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes until they have turned an even, deep golden brown. Don’t skimp on this step, as it will build the complex and intense flavor base that will carry the rest of the soup. Plus, from here on out, it will be a cinch.

After the onions are fully caramelized, sprinkle them with flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the wine in full, then stock, a little at a time, stirring between additions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes, skimming if needed. Correct seasonings if needed but go easy on the salt as the cheese will add a bit more saltiness and I often accidentally overdo it. Stir in the cognac or brandy.  It’s not onion soup if you don’t!

Set aside until needed. I find that homemade onion soup is so deeply fragrant and flavor-rich that it can stand alone, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy the graitinéed top once in a while. Here’s how to pull it off:

Preheat oven to 325. Arrange six ovenproof soup bowls or crocks on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bring the soup back to a boil and divide among six bowls. To each bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon grated raw onion and a tablespoon of grated cheese. Stir to combine. Dab your croutons with a tiny bit of butter and float a few on top of your soup bowls.

Bake soups on tray for 20 minutes, then preheat broiler. Finish for a minute or two under the broiler to brown the top lightly. Grab pot holders, and serve immediately.

Chatham Artillery Punch Redux

Colonial Ball Dance

While researching the history of Chatham Artillery Punch, I came across this hilarious blog post by someone named Velociman. I hope you enjoy his description of the awesome power of the Punch as much as I did!

Chatham Artillery Punch

How was my brother’s wedding? Stupor duper. The reception was well-lubricated by an ample supply of Chatham Artillery Punch. So much so that I booty-danced with Puddyhead whilst we both wore bird masquerade masks. More on that another day.

Yes, my brother was wise enough to whip up a couple of gallons of my mother’s signature Artillery Punch recipe. This stuff tastes like Kool-Ade, and humbles mere moonshine in neuron destruction.

The history: in colonial days the Chatham Artillery would have balls, as people with fancy uniforms are wont to do. The women would serve up punch, and the men would surreptitiously tipple their flasks into the punchbowl; hence the variegated nature of the Punch. Six liquors, wine, fruit, especial ingredients. Steeped for six weeks minimum, and served with champagne, freshly added.

My mother had an old recipe which she had tweaked a bit. Being a quite modest drinker, she had no reason to question the potency of the concoction. So every year at her Christmas party she would serve up the Punch. Her social circle basically consisted of Episcopalian movers and shakers, and it was always a pleasure to watch the old hens and jurists attempt to maneuver their stoles and suitcoats and land yachts as they struggled to figure out what mule had kicked them in the head.

From a tort point of view it was dangerous stuff, but we certainly enjoyed it. I personally nearly broke my neck performing an unintended almost one and a half gainer off my mother’s deck after 3 cups of the poison. I have seen single women kiss my priest in front of his wife, old men stick their tongues down The Bride’s throat, insane grab-ass on an unparallelled scale (often by me) at my mother’s parties after this Punch was deployed. All with great Anglican harumphing. My poor mother knew not what she wrought.

And so I was pleased, and infused with great nostalgia, when my brother went out of his way to produce the prime brew for his own wedding. From the original recipe. What a bro. He pleases me. My younger brother was pleased as well. He loves to watch me drink this stuff. Lookee: I ended up in an all-black daquiri bar at 1:30am with my niece and nephew after the reception, trying to purchase a Denny’s Slam. Grist for the mill.

And so: I will mix the greatest batch of Chatham Artillery Punch ever for the Spring Blogfest. Let us compare the effect to good old corn liquor. I am a prescient person. I predict a bit of mayhem. And I’ll be the guy dressed as an Anglican priest.

Holidays With Honey – Chatham Artillery Punch

punch 2artillery punch

Savannah’s Chatham Artillery is the oldest military organization in Georgia. This punch recipe originated with the C.A. over 200 years ago, and has been served in Savannah ever since. 

When President James Monroe sipped this concoction in 1819 while on a visit to Savannah, he dubbed it ‘suave and deceitful’.

This recipe is for a large party of thirsty revelers.

Warning:  This punch tends to take one by surprise.  Regrettably, the time period between pleasantly buzzed and black out drunk is a short one. Make sure your guests have a designated driver or be ready to insist that they sleep on your couch.

1 1/2 gallons strong tea
1 1/2 gallons Catawba, muscadine or scuppernong wine
1/2 gallon St. Croix rum
1 1/2 quarts rye whiskey
1 quart brandy
1 quart Gordon gin
1/2 pint Benedictine
2 1/2 pounds honey or a mixture of honey and brown sugar
1 bottle marachino cherries
Juice of 18 oranges
Juice of 18 lemons
Case of Champagne

1. Pour all ingredients except for the Champagne into a large, non-reactive container.
2. Cover and let rest for 36 to 48 hours.
3. Just before the party pour into a large punch bowl, over ice, and add the champagne.

Things will get lively shortly thereafter.