Among the French-themed gifts that Dave gave me for Christmas this year were two that I was especially thrilled about: Julia’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and a commercial grade kitchen torch. He knows what I like!
So, yesterday while we were all quarantined, and it rained, I decided to give Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon a go. ( I’ve had plans to make it for about two weeks, but the time/ingredients haven’t lined up until now). I had just awoken from a few hour nap and Dave and Milo were just going back to bed, so I had a couple hours in a quiet kitchen in my pajamas. The results were fantastic.
First, I made sure that there were no vegetarians around. Good, we’re all clear with the three pounds of roast and half pound of bacon.
Next, I read the recipe, tried to get the prep chopping done and then followed along meticulously for about an hour until I got the browned bacon, browned, flour-coated beef, browned onion and carrot, simmering wine, broth, spice, tomato paste stew in the oven and could focus on browning the mushrooms and brown-braising the pearl onions (which after 40 minuted on the stovetop melt in the mouth like butter!)
It is a long, somewhat tedious recipe (actually three recipes as the mushrooms and pearl onions are made according to individual recipes on different pages in the book!) Having completed it one time, I think the next time will be a lot smoother.
It was worth the effort. Sweet, deep sauce covering fall-apart-at-the-touch-of-a-fork beef and buttery browned veggies. Mmmmm. Good thing we had hunks of crusty bread nearby to sop up the last bits in the bowl.
So, while the stew stewed and the onions braised, I whipped together one of my very favorite desserts: Crème Brulée. I was surprised to not see the recipe in Julia’s book, but found a great recipe and youtube video to follow. It was fabulously easy and I was so excited to put my new ramekins (thanks again Tay Tay) and torch (thanks again Baby) to use!
If you lack ramekins and a torch, don’t fret. Any oven-safe dish or bowl will do and burning the sugar under broil works.*
*disclaimer: if you happen to be talking on the phone while broiling the sugar, it may burn completely and inedibly black…then you’ll need to peel the black off and try again while watching more closely;)
Glass hard, paper thin, warm, sweet sugar crust and oh so creamy, cool, vanilla-y custard.
Being sick and staying home isn’t so bad!
I heart French food.