Sunday, August 25, 2013

Beef Bourguignon

Captain's Log

More Slow-Cooker Adventures

Continuing my interest in using my new cookbook, this past week I decided to make Beef Bourgignon. AKA Beef Burgundy, AKA "beef stuff with wine." It sounds very fancy, but don't let the French fool you: this is a peasant-style meal, intended to use the cheapest and toughest cuts of meat in the most delicious way possible. Basically wine-y pot roast. I checked my new book for a recipe, and I found four.
The fourth is on the previous page, for you fact-checkers out there.
I cobbled these recipes together to create my own. This, for the record, is essentially what I always do when I cook... I just more typically use the internet rather than a physical book.

Here's what I used:
  • Five slices reduced-sodium bacon
  • One package stew beef (1-1.5lbs)
  • 2-3 T tomato paste
  • 1 yellow onion
  • two heaping spoonfuls of flour
  • 1 T beef Better Than Bouillon + 1 cup water (more on this later)
  • 1 cup Côtes du Rhône red wine (more on this later)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • few dashes of dried oregano
  • 2-3 peeled and crushed cloves of garlic
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2-5 carrots
  • 2/3c frozen pearl onions
  • 1-2 potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (or those adorable tiny red potatoes..)
  • crusty bread
This made three hearty servings. I think it could be comfortably feed 4, but you might want to serve a salad or something too to be sure. Alternatively, you could do what I intend to do next time, which is: get a second pack of beef, add more veggies and a whole bottle of wine, and enjoy leftovers for a few days.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Captain's Log

Long time no see!

Memories of a Bridal Shower edition

My bridal shower was about (/exactly) ten days ago and I have to say: I was so honored to have so many amazing women present. Showers are such a strange thing, in a lot of ways... I can't help but wonder "What did I do to deserve all this praise and attention beyond saying yes to an incredible man?". Alas, as I sort my way through the wedding process, I am learning and appreciating the role that weddings and wedding-related events have in uniting families, in solidifying old (and new) relationships, and in expressing support for what we certainly feel is a strong and happy match just bursting with potential. 

It's awesome (awe-some) to look around a room and imagine a similar lineup at Christmases and Thanksgivings and Birthdays and Reunions to come in five, ten, twenty years from now. So much love!

Which brings me back around to the blog: It turns out most of the shower attendees are readers of OBC (Okra's Book Club) and I can't wait to continually express my gratitude to them by using the gifts I was given for new posts. I am pretty sure I am not supposed to be using any wedding-related gifts before the wedding, so today's post will circle around a gift and only partially use a different one. The recipe? Slow-cooker Chicken Cacciatore, as adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes, by Phyllis Pellman Good. This mammajamma was a gift. I was also given a new slow-cooker, but that one will have to wait until after the wedding.

Here's the recipe, as printed in the book:

Low-Fat Chicken Cacciatore
  • 2lbs uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/2lb fresh mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 12oz can low-sodium chopped tomatoes
  • 6-oz can low-sodium tomato paste
  • 12-oz can low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1/2tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2tsp dried basil
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper
And here are the directions, as printed in the book:
1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on low 8 hours.
3. Serve over rice or whole wheat pasta.