Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day Dinner for Two


My VD gift this year?  A quiet house.  I spent all day cooking, dumped the kiddos at grandma's house at 5:00, came home cleaned up and ate dinner with my husband in a quiet house.  Then we looked at pictures on the internet.  Then I read a book and he went to pick up the boys.  Other Valentine's present?   The boys came home asleep - no bedtime fights.  Awesome.

For our dinner I wanted to do something nice - real grown-up food with out chicken nuggets or mini pizzas in sight. I also decided for the most part, do do something traditionally French because when all else fails, go French or go home.

Le Menu:
Homemade Croissants (started at 6:30 am and pulled them out of the oven at 4:30 pm.  Not my best effort but they were tasty.)
Roasted Garlic Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
Beef Bourguignon (ala Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa - I totally DID NOT USE COGNAC...the wine is up to you.)

How was dinner?  Tres Magnifique!  My husband in fact, in the middle of his second helping confessed, "This may be the best meal you've ever fixed."

Perfect timing - I want a new iphone.

Beef Bourguignon (Ina Garten, Food Network)


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:

  • Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

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