Yum Peaceful Cooking: April 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

Have you ever thought..."I wanna cook something with "such and such" ingredients...but what?" Then you spend the day wracking your brain (in the secret backgrounds of your mind while you're at work) trying to figure out what you're going to possibly come up with?

Well that was me....I knew I was making something "chicken" (that's a no brainer)....but I wanted to use artichoke hearts as well.

Sure, I could've made a nice creamy sauce with artichokes and mushroom poured over chicken. But that seemed too typical. And that's where my brain got stuck.

When I got home that night, my first issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine had arrived, with my "free" Better Homes and Gardens All-Time Favorites 2010 Cookbook. I got coerced into this subscription because of the free cookbook with a $5.00 1 year commitment. How could I not? right? So I pulled out my "cookbook" (and I use that term loosely) which contained a whole 32 pages (index included) of recipes....2 per page.

But hey...it was FREE!!! I'm not complainin', I'm just sayin'

As I thumbed through my new freebee, I discovered this recipe, which happened to include my 2 main ingredients....

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts! WOW!!

I have to warn you...there are a ton of ingredients....19!

Better Homes and Gardens Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake
Printable Version

8 oz bow tie pasta, cooked
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 - 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (I used frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and quartered)
1 - 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 cups shredded jack cheese (I used mozzarella cheese)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (divided)
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (my addition)

Preheat your oven to 350'F

In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat and cook the onions until tender, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, italian seasoning, red pepper, salt and pepper.

(I look at this and I'm not sure if I see a flooded swamp, or if I wanna look for caricatures in the spices)

Stir in the chicken, artichokes and spinach

Lovin that color!!

Then stir in the cooked pasta, onion, jack (mozzarella) cheese, dried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese

Bake covered for 20 minutes

Meanwhile...in a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika.

Now this is when I decided (and not soon enough) that this dish needed more.

I know, right? Seriously? with that long-ass list of ingredients?

When I removed the pan from the oven and saw it was on the dry side....and the flavors smelled bland....oooh. crud. Ok, so lets add garlic. Quick! Oh ya, maybe it was dry cuz I forgot to cover mine when I baked it? Damn! I hate when I miss a "minor" detail like that.

So...sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the casserole and then sprinkle the garlic slivers over the crumbs. Continue to bake, uncovered this time, for 10 minutes or until golden. Let stand an additional 10 minutes before serving.

It's beautiful and has some wonderful ingredients. But it was lacking. I think it would be better with fresh spinach instead of frozen. Maybe marinated artichoke hearts would help as well? And garlic in the sauce for sure!!! More cheese? Always!

I dunno.....what would you do differently?

Oh ya...One more thing...wanna a chance a win Fresh MORELS?! Ya, so do I. If you win, so do I...how cool is that? Just click on the picture below and enter to win your (and my) 2 lbs of Fresh Morels.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Controversial Corn Fritters

The title said Corn Fritters.

The readers cried Hush Puppies.

Accusations of Fried Cornbread were flying.

All this over one little ole Paula Deen recipe over at Food Network. Granted, it got a 4 star rating...

I don't know about you, but I just love Paula Deen. Aside from her recipes and love for butter, I just think she's precious. Maybe its due to my ties to the south...and my love for all things southern. Maybe it's because she reminds me of what I call "home", even though I never actually lived there, but it's where my family is...or maybe it's all of the above.

Anyways, I stumbled up Paula Deen's Corn Fritters and decided to make them. I love corn fritters. I've never made them. And just so ya know, I've never made hush puppies either. So when I read through some of the reviews....well, I figured they'd be worth it, no matter what you wanna call 'em.

I did make several changes....there were a few reader complaints about lack of flavor, several about the consistency  and well.....the rest were either raves or debated about what they actually were. One or two people whined that they tasted like fried cornbread. Well, DUH!!! The ingredients are pretty much the same, aren't they? What did they expect?


Oh...and before I go any further, I just wanna say...I'm still on the hunt for a really good Corn Fritter recipe. I want the kind that you find at the restaurants....the ones that are crispy on the outside and are like gooey creamed corn on the inside.

Got one you wanna share?
(said in her best Bartles and James impersonation) Thank you for your support!

Controversial Corn Fritters
Printable Version

1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon creole seasoning
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 15.25 oz can whole corn, drained
1/3 cup finely chopped onions
Vegetable oil for frying

Heat at least 2" worth of vegetable oil in a heavy pot such as a dutch oven to 325'F

In a medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients: cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, garlic powder and creole seasoning
In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and egg. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix the two mixtures until mixed well (hee hee...how many times can you use "mix" or a derivative there of, in a sentence) (sorry, I just couldn't help myself)

Stir in the melted butter, corn and onions.

Drop the dough into the hot oil by tablespoons. Don't over crowd them...you don't want the oil to cool off too much or you'll end up with wads of greasy cornbread that isn't cooked in the middle.

You want to cook them for about 2 - 4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown

Can you say.....Crispaaaaaaaay!

Drain them on a paper towel. If you like 'em salty, now would be the time to sprinkle salt on them, while they're still hot.

Then get a plate and serve up a few of these wonderfully flavored, arterycloggingbutyoudon'tcare, little morsels of southern goodness.

Call 'em what you want, but all I can say is....Mmmmm Mmmmm Good! 

Oh man...and I just thought of something...imagine these puppies....errrr....fritters, with chunks of jalapenos and cheese! 

Now THAT would be pretty damn good. Southwestern Fritters, Here I COME!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lemon Raspberry Muffins Cranked Up a Notch

The other night I was informed that my kitchen skills would not be required due to outside influences.

The Lakers were scheduled to play and Sir Sportsalot wanted a particular dish from a particular eatery.

And what was the first thing that went through my mind?

"Not cook tonight? What on earth will I do? I'm going to be so bored!!"

Next thought:

"Ooooooh....what yummy thing should I bake to bring with me to work the next day!".

I asked a gal at work what I should make (I needed inspiration)....she immediately said "something chocolate..."

So I went on a quick hunt and came up with a few choices....one of them being Lemon-Raspberry Muffins. A lovely recipe that I had starred and tagged back in September from Debs blog, Kahakai Kitchen. Turns out it's a Nigella Lawson recipe....can't go wrong there. After some deep thought and consideration, the muffins beat out the other recipe I had picked out (which did included chocolate....shocking, I know!!).

Off to the store I went to make a few purchases...raspberries for one. And to my utter disbelief, the store didn't have fresh raspberries!! Seriously? (Vons....your store on Victory and Tampa kinda sucks! Just thought someone should know.)

I was forced to use frozen raspberries (even so, there were only 2 bags to choose from). I also picked up some Cran-Raspberry Juice cuz I wanted a light glaze for the muffins.

Then as I was walking down the baking aisle, I noticed all those bags of chocolate chips and picked up some (just in case I needed to make cookies in the near future. I hate it when we're out of basic stuff like...chocolate chips!) when suddenly the bag of white chocolate jumped out right in front of my eyes! You see, deep inside I was feeling, I dunno....not "right" because I wasn't making something "chocolate" as requested. The white chocolate became the answer and the soother of my inner self, (which, according to a certain coffee commercial, "speaks french").

Now I'm all excited and ready to go!

Lemon Raspberry Muffins:
Printable Version
1/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups a.p. flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
Juice and Zest from 1 lemon
about 1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 oz fresh raspberries 12 oz frozen raspberries, defrosted & drained

1/4 cup cran-raspberry juice
1/3 cup powdered sugar

4 oz white chocolate

Preheat your oven to 400'F. Line 12 muffin tins with 12 paper baking cups.

Stir together the dry ingredients and lemon zest

Love that aroma of fresh lemon! 

In a measuring cup, pour in the lemon juice. Add enough milk to the lemon juice to measure just under 1 cup. Beat in the egg, melted butter and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just to combine, try not to over stir. Fold in the raspberries carefully, especially if you're using defrosted berries. (which reminds me...you can really use any berry you want in this recipe.)

Divide the batter between the 12 paper lined muffin cups

Bake for about 25 minutes. Leave in the pan to cool a bit for 5 more minutes as the muffins are moist and almost fragile. Then allow them to cool on a rack for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the juice and powdered sugar, mixing until the sugar has dissolved. Once the muffins are cooled, spread a spoonful of the glaze over each muffin top.

Melt the white chocolate according to package directions and drizzle some over each muffin.

And enjoy your labor of love....the product of your inner soothing....and be thankful the Lakers redirected your cooking focus for a night from a rushed dinner to an enjoyable treat

Friday, April 23, 2010

Haitian Chicken Thighs.....I mean Legs

Well, the recipe called for thighs. I thought I had thighs in the fridge. But no. They were legs.

And no. I did not fail anatomy. I swear!

And yes....this is one more Haitian dish that I prepared for the BakeSpace Challenge. And I think this will be the last for this challenge. I may have gone a little overboard. I mean I made 3 dishes....but in my defense, I couldn't make up my mind....and what does a gal do when she can't make up her mind?

She chooses ALL!

In case you haven't seen the other two (and you really should) here's the link to

Mango Muffins with Lemon Glaze (a Haitian Mango Coffee Cake turned Muffin)
Haitian Carnitas (inspired by Glazed and Braised Pork and became Carnitas with a Haitian influence)

Oh...and just so ya know....I found the recipe for these very tasty chicken legs --->HERE<---

And if you look really really close...you'll notice that I only changed 1 teenie tiny ingredient in this recipe (unlike the other 2)...out of need! A personal need. A need to stay away from all things thyme as much as I can. Why? Well...I don't like it. So I used savory instead. Which reminds me of thyme (do you pronounce that like "time" or do you include the "H".....?) hmmmm....where was I...Ooooh yes...savory reminds me of a more mild version of thyme.

Without further ado....

Haitian Chicken Legs:
Printable Recipe

Juice from 4 limes
Juice from 2 oranges
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dried savory (or thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme)
1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 minced green onions
3 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 hot pepper, minced (I didn't want too much heat so I used a red jalapeno...which ended up not being hot enough)
10 chicken legs, or 8 chicken thighs
Salt & Pepper to taste

I have some handy dandy lemon and line squeezers (which are sometimes my hands).....but when it comes to oranges, that requires a whole different thing

I love this thing!!! I found it one day at...hmmm...Sav-On Drugs (way before it became CVS). I don't remember how much it cost. I have a feeling it was under $10..like around $7-ish. Anyways...I've had it for about 15 yrs, it's electrical and it still works great. Why don't they make things to last anymore? I mean....about 5 yrs ago I bought a Black and Decker food processor that barely lasted 3 yrs. Whats up with that?

But look how handy this thing is...

The juice is squeezed, seeded and de-pulped...then ready to pour! All in one shot! (sung in soprano voice) Looooooove iiiiit!

Now...mix all your ingredients together in a nice zip lock bag or non-reactive dish, covered....and mix it all up.  Oh wait...you might want to mix up everything except the chicken....theeen add the chicken (it'll be a little easier that way)

Marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours. Over night would be best. I think I did mine for about 6 hours though.

Grill or bake on medium high until cooked through. I baked mine at 350'F for about 35 - 45 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through. If grilling them...I think you're suppose to grill, skin sides down for 10 minutes then turn, move chicken to the cooler part of the grill, cover and continue grilling for another 10 or 15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked....or what ever method works best for you.

Now I didn't serve this meal with the traditional haitian beans and rice and such...I mean, my family can take only so much at a time when it comes to "new" stuff. Therefore I just had a simple side of white rice and corn.

I mean...everything goes with white rice and corn, right? And let me tell you....this was really really tasty! It even got a thumbs up by Sir Sportsalot, who is sometimes not into "new" or "improved" things. So that was a biggy.

I am submitting this recipe to Regional Recipes, hosted by Joanne at Eats Well With Others. Regional Recipes is "a blogging event that celebrates food from all over the world!" Her deadline for the Haitian recipes is April 30th, 2010....just in case you want to play too :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Haitian Carnitas

Haitian Carnitas? Do they even make carnitas in Haiti?

Hell, I dunno. But it sounds intriguing, doesn't it? If they don't, they should. If they do....kudos!

Now I don't cook pork very often. Some cuts are a little pricey. Some cuts are a little ...I dunno....weird? (you will never....eveeeeeeeer see pickled pork feet in my kitchen....just sayin).

When I see pork chops, I think...(I know...this is bad!!!) shake-n-bake.

When I see pork butt, I think.....CARNITAS!!!!

When I was looking for some haitian dishes for the BakeSpace forum challenge, I came across a few that caught my attention. Since I couldn't make up my mind...I went with all of them. This is recipe #2 (there's still one more that I need to post). The first recipe was my Mango Cupcakes with Lemon Glaze. Which was another haitian inspired dish but not truly authentic.

Which brings me back to my Haitian Carnitas. The recipe called for pork loin. I had a pork butt that I wanted to use....and well, that led me to a nice alteration with fantastic results. Flavorful, tender... succulent....and a hint of heat (although you can turn up that heat if you want by added more peppers)

Haitian Carnitas

(Printable Version)

6 lbs pork shoulder (aka butt)
1 large onion, chopped
3 oz chopped shallots
1 cup orange juice
12 oz beer
1/4 teaspoon dried savory or thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 hot red pepper, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 - 2 tablespoon creole seasoning
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 or more jalapenos, minced
2 teaspoons chicken bullion

Preheat the oven to 250' F

Combine the savory (or thyme), salt and pepper, cumin, and creole seasoning. Rub the pork with the mixture. Place the pork in a large roasting pan. Add the, shallots, peppers, orange juice, beer and chicken bullion.

Cover and cook for a good 7 hours.

When the meat is done....and falls off the bone

let cool a bit then remove the bone and as much fat as you can. (In case you haven't noticed....this particular cut of pork is full of fat. Hmmm...maybe THATS why they call it "pork butt"), leaving the liquid in the roasting pan.

Heat a good sized skillet with a bit of oil and brown the chunks of meat. Remove the meat and set aside. While this is happening, skim as much fat as you can from the saved liquid that's still in the roasting pan. Heat the liquid and reduce....the more the reduce, the more flavor it will have. Add about 2 cups of the liquid to the skillet where you browned the meat and de-glaze the pan.

Pour liquid over meat and serve.

I couldn't serve carnitas, haitian or otherwise, without pico de gallo, guacamole, rice and a warm tortilla

Let's just say..... TASTE BUD HEAVEN!

I am submitting this recipe to Regional Recipes, hosted by Joanne at Eats Well With Others. Regional Recipes is "a blogging event that celebrates food from all over the world!" Her deadline for the Haitian recipes is April 30th, 2010....so there's still time to play too!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mango Cupcakes with Lemon Glaze

I have a question for you all. What makes a cupcake....a cupcake? As opposed to it being a muffin? Is it the denseness? Or is it wether or not it is covered in icing? What if it's sorta in between? Would that make it a cuppin? ooor.......a muffcake? (giggles)

About once a month, the peeps over in the forums at BakeSpace hold an nonofficial "challenge". For the April Challenge we're making Haitian food (there's still time if you'd like to join in the fun. No pressure....just a nice way to stretch your cooking / baking muscles). These cupcakes (?) aren't Haitian....but they were inspired by a Haitian recipe for Mango Coffee Cake. Not that there was anything wrong with the coffee cake recipe but I knew I'd be bringing this dish to work (let's just call it "weight management"). I figured cupcakes would be more user friendly. So I got busy. made a few little changes in the ingredients and let me tell you....moist, subtle flavors (well...except for the glaze...but glaze isn't allowed to be subtle...goes against its calling) and ooooh so yummy!

I have another question for you....do you have a favorite salt shaker? You know the one...holds plenty, great, steady volume when shook, and a removable lid for easy access? I know that in my "ingredient pictures" I always use my salt grinder to pose for the shot but when it comes to baking, where I need exact measurements, I always use my handy dandy Tupperware salt shaker

I've had this thing since my girls were really little....back in the day when all things Tupperware were essential to a young mother. I haven't had a party in over 10 yrs but let me tell you...I earned a heck of a lot of free stuff. I've heard that they discontinued this style of salt and pepper shakers so I know when this one bites the dust....I'm going to be one bummed-out mamma.

Ok ok...back to the...ummm....cupcakes

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mango pulp (I used frozen pulp)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

2 cups powdered sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350' F. Line 18 muffin tins with those cute little paper cupcake liners.

Cream the butter then gradually add the sugar. The recipe said that it would become fluffy.....

After a few minutes of beating....it still wasn't what I would consider "fluffy"....so I gave up.

One at a time, beat in the eggs. Add the mango pulp and....

Oh wait... let me tell you something about my mango pulp. I mentioned in the ingredients that I used frozen pulp. I was so excited when I found this nifty little bag in the freezer section of the middle eastern market (I've also seen them in the mexican market). I figured at least I wouldn't have to figure out how to tell when a mango is ripe...and how best to "pulp" it...ya know? BINGO!! I bought it. So the night before the planned baking, I took the bag out of my freeze and stuck it in the fridge. I was so proud of myself for even thinking of doing that. I usual forget those kinds of minor details. Anyways....the next day as I was gathering the ingredients, I pulled out the now not-frozen mango pulp....errr...mango liquid? Ya....I found myself with a bag of liquid. Ooookay....lets see where this leaves me....

So, add the mango pulp to the bowl and beat well...

Yep....that's really runny. At this point I needed to decide....omit the liquid (buttermilk in this case)...or forge ahead and let come what may?

What the heck...let's just do it. I mean it calls for a whole 2 cups of flour, right? Thats quit a bit...I hope it's enough.

Now, sift together the dry ingredients and alternately add them and the milk to the runny mango mess. Add the vanilla, blend. Stir in the coconut and let's see how the texture is:

Hey! Not bad. Nice and thick without being too thick. Whew! That was close....I thought I might have to start over and I really didn't want to do that.

Besides, I basically know nothing about mangos....so I'd probably end up with a mango that wasn't ripe. And that wouldn't taste very good, now would it? And I'd end up with mango chunks instead of pulp, I'm sure.

Fill your muffin cups about 3/4 full (they don't rise as much so you don't have to worry about "muffin tops".....unlike some of us.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely

Mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest and begin the fun job of glazing these gorgeous oh so promising babies.

Printable Version: Mango Cupcakes with Lemon Glaze

I am submitting this recipe to Regional Recipes, hosted by Joanne at Eats Well With Others. Regional Recipes is "a blogging event that celebrates food from all over the world!" Her deadline for the Haitian recipes is April 30th, 2010.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

MtAoFC Page 315

This recipe needs no introduction (although I'm going to give it one anyway)

Of all the Julia Child recipes, I believe this one is the most famous.

It was the one I swore I'd cook first when I recieved my beloved copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (although it didn't turn out to be the first)

Page 315, of MtAoFC proudly presents to it's readers.....

Boeuf Bourguignon

And here's my attempt at making such a scrumptious dish.

Let me start off by telling you about my biggest obstacle......

Bacon rind.

Get this.....apprently it's the butcher's obstacle too because he didn't even know what bacon rind is. Rind? huh? He had to go in the back and ask one of the more seasoned butchers....the one with the little belly and white hair....who easily explained to both of us that it's pig skin. Great! Although now I question the knowledge of our up and coming butchers. I mean, it's not my job to know what rind is....but the other butcher? Come on....he should know his meat...right?

Anyways....bottom line....my grocery store doesn't carry it.

But! Have you ever bought ham hocks? That tough skin on the outside is the rind.....so that's what I used.

Bacon doesn't come in a 6 oz chunk either. I considered using salt pork....but decided to use regular old bacon instead.

I guess when Julia wrote this cookbook, you could easily buy a chunk of bacon with the rind attached. hmmm....maybe you still can. Just not at the supermarket chain that I frequent.

Ok...lets get on with the show


6 oz bacon
Rind from one ham hock
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2" chunks
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine (make sure it's a good bottle. If you wouldn't enjoy drinking it, you certainly won't enjoy it in your food)
2 - 3 cups beef stock or beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 bay leaf, crumbled
18-24 small white onions, browned and braised (ingredients and instructions below)
1 lb fresh mushrooms, quartered and sauteed (ingredients and instructions below)

(whew...thats a pretty damn long list. Did I mention that I dedicated one whole day to this dish? Just sayin')

Remove the rind and cut that bacon into strips

Simmer the rind and the bacon in 1.5 quarts of water for about 10 minutes. Drain the water and dry the meat.

Preheat the oven to 450' F

In a 9" fireproof (and ovenproof), deep (at least 3") casserole dish, heat oil over medium heat and saute the bacon until it's lightly brown. Remove the bacon from the dish and set aside, leaving the fat in the casserole dish.  Set the casserole dish aside.

When you're ready to brown the beef, reheat the fat until its just about to smoke. Dry the beef

and saute a few pieces at a time until it's nice and brown. Add it to the bacon that has been set aside.

In the same fat, brown the sliced carrots and onions

Pour the sauteing fat out and return the beef and bacon to the casserole dish. Toss with salt and pepper

Sprinkle in the flour over the meat and toss so that every thing's lightly coated. Set the dish in the middle of the oven for about 4 minutes. Toss the meat and continue heating for another 4 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and turn the temperature down to 325' F.

Stir in the wine and enough beef stock to barely cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind

On the stove top, bring to a simmer. Cover the casserole and set in the lower third of your oven. Cook for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours, or until meat is done.....easily pierced with a fork.

Now....while that is cooking you can work on the small onions and mushrooms.

Brown-braised Onions - you will need the following:

your 18-24 small white onions....peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup beef stock or bouillon, red wine or water,
salt and pepper to taste
an herb bouquet: 4 sprigs of parsley, 1/2 bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon thyme all tied up in cheesecloth.

Heat the butter and oil in a 9" skillet until bubbly. Add the onions and saute over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, gently rolling the onions around so they brown evenly but be careful....you don't really want to break the outer skin....although it may happen to a few....try not to.

Pour the beef stock in the skillet, season with salt and pepper and toss in the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer for about 40 - 50 minutes. The liquid will have evaporated and the onions will be tender but still retain their shape. Remove and discard the herb bouquet.

Now for the Sauteed Mushrooms

Your 1 lb of quartered fresh mushrooms
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil

Over high heat, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet bringing the butter to a foam. When the foaming starts to subside, you will add the mushrooms. Saute, stirring frequently for about 4 - 5 minutes.

Now this is a really cool thing that I learned from Julia.....During the sauteing process, mushrooms will first absorb the fat....then a couple of minutes later they'll release the fat. You'll see it on the surface of the mushrooms...and it's at this point that they will begin to brown.

Once the mushrooms are lightly brown, remove them from the heat.

 (whew...I need a break! But hang in there...we're almost done)

When the meat is nice and tender, strain the contents of the casserole dish into a large saucepan. Wash the casserole dish and return the beef and bacon to it. Add the prepared onions and mushrooms

Skim the fat off the sauce that you poured into the saucepan. Simmer the sauce for a minute or so, skimming off more fat as it rises. Now at this point you should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce that's thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. If it's too thin, rapidly boil it down....if it's too thick, add a few tablespoons of beef stock or bouillon. If needed, season with salt and pepper then pour the sauce over the beef mixture

Cover and simmer for about 2 -3 minutes, basting everything several times.

Julia recommends serving with potatoes and peas

We all know that this is a labor and time intensive recipe. But I think everyone should make it at least once. If for nothing else....then at least for the experience. 

and for the deep, rich flavor that makes Boeuf Bourguignon one of the most famous dishes around.