Much Ado About Stuffing

Much Ado About Stuffing

Today is a Great Day for Beef Bourguignon and Spaetzle

Can You Believe this GROSS weather? I mean, at least it should be snow… never mind, what’s the use in whining. Get into the kitchen and cook up something comforting, classic, and convivial. Make it today, and it will be better tomorrow, or Sunday.  Roasted “Frost-Kissed” Artichokes are the perfect first course,

 Just be sure to switch wines before the Beef Bourguignon.

  • 1/2 pound bacon, beef bacon, or 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds beef stew cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • a good bottle of burgundy red wine (if you wouldn’t drink it don’t use it in this)
  • 3 cups of beef stock, home-made if possible
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes
  • fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups fresh carrots cut into julienne
  • 2 cups pearl onions (you can use the frozen ones but if you see cippollini, grab them up)
  • half-pound fresh wild mushrooms, like chanterelles
  • 1 oz dried wild mushrooms, soaked
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, french if possible, like nicoise..
  • 1 tablespoon of fig or currant jam
  • fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 325

cook bacon or beef bacon in heavy casserole with a lid (like Creuset or like), drain on paper towels, leave a couple Tablespoons of fat in the pan.

Saute the beef a few pieces at a time, taking care to really let them brown and develop a crust. (Don’t stir them around a lot). This will make the difference between good and great!

Add the onions to the meat, sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, and cook, (now you can stir) for 5 minutes

Add wine, stock, tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, and rosemary and bring to simmer. Cover casserole and put in oven let cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add the carrots and pearl onions, and the soaked wild mushrooms, and continue cooking until very tender, about 2 1/2 hours total.

Clean and slice the fresh mushrooms lengthwise, and saute in a bit of oil or butter, add to the stew before serving. Correct seasoning, stir in the jam. Garnish with chopped parsley, and the reserved bacon.

And serve with some mashed or roasted potatoes, broad noodles, or whip up some Spaetzle, below. I know, it sounds nuts, but its even quicker than going to the market, and you have the ingredients in your kitchen already.

Press small amount into simmering water

Simmer for 2 minutes then skim into ice-water to cool

EASY  Spaetzle
Recipe from The Balthazar Cookbook,
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 large eggs
1/4 cup milk or soy milk.

  • Combine the flour, eggs and milk in a large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight.
  • Prepare an ice bath.
  • Bring a large pot of well salted water to boil with a drizzle of olive oil. If you’ve got a potato ricer, or spaetzle maker, use it. Otherwise, NO PROBLEM (more details at this link).
  • Set a large colander with big holes over the pot.
  • Remember, the steam is going to be hot. Use potholders.
  • Pour a ladle full of batter into the colander and press it through the holes with a plastic scraper.  Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then skim out the spaetzle with a slotted spoon  and drop it in the ice bath.
  • Continue with remaining batter in 3 batches. Use only a little batter at a time, so they don’t all smoosh together.
  • When you’re done with the batter, drain the spaetzle well and toss it with a small amount of olive oil to keep it from sticking.
  • You can use it right away, or keep it, well covered, in the fridge for a day until needed. Before serving, bring a pot of water to the boil, and add spaetzle, until heated through. Drain and serve.

I don’t usually recommend buying single-purpose gadgets like the spaetlze press, because they usually take up excess precious kitchen space. I admit that I keep this item stashed in the back of the pantry, but it actually is excellent for making mashed potatoes. Technically they would be called “Riced Potatoes” The mashed potatoes come out very light and fluffy. Made-ahead mashed potatoes are usually terrible, but if you have one of these, and even the dimmest kitchen companion, you can hand over the press, a bowl, and some warm, boiled potatoes, and be genuinely, harmlessly, helpful.

  • Potatoes, about one medium-size one per person
  • Pot of Boiling Water
  • Olive Oil or Butter
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Any fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, mint, chives, or a mix

Bring water to boil. Clean (organic) potatoes well, and boil about 20 minutes, just until they can be pierced with a knife. Turn off heat. Potatoes can rest in this hot water for at least half an hour. If longer, remove and drain, but keep warm.

In a serving bowl of appropriate size, pour in 3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil, a good amount of salt and pepper, and roughly chopped herbs.

Remove potatoes from water, and press through the ricer. No need to peel them, the ricer somewhat separates the skins. (Make sure they don’t build up in the press and block the holes.

Resist the urge to stir up the fluffy potatoes, just wait till they are all done, and gently mix with the dressing at the bottom of the bowl. Garnish with another sprig of herb.


One Response

  1. I make spaetzle with a colander and it comes out great, so never bought the spaetzle maker. It's a lot easier than pasta!

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