My impending business trip to Toronto has thrown me into a bit of a tizzy. You see, it’s not a quick hop across the border for a day or two. Try a month! While I am very excited about the trip and work itself, it is with a heavy heart that I will go. For you see, I leave behind my beloved husband…and his adoring stomach. As my departure date draws near I have been slaving away in the kitchen, savoring every moment knowing it would soon be my last before a month long hiatus. I’ve been cooking up a storm of stews, casseroles and anything remotely freezer friendly. I’ve managed to build up quite a tower of frozen dinners for Alex, who as mentioned earlier, cannot fend for himself in the kitchen. The thought of him relying on Arby’s and Burger King for nourishment kept me motivated during my noble quest.
One of my all time favourite stews is Boeuf Bourguignon. It has such a warming quality, with velvety layers of flavour and texture. I chose to use Ina Garten’s recipe as it another pet project of mine is to try recipes from the Food Network chefs. I have only made this dish once before a few years back and I don’t recall using cognac in that version. But I was up for the task and looking forward to some flambe action in my very own kitchen! I asked Alex to come and help (he is ever the trusty sous chef) so while he poured the cognac into the pan I lit a match and Whooosh! A bright orange and blue flame shot between the pan and my poor husband’s hand that was courageously still holding on to the cup and pouring the cognac! “Ow! What are you doing?!” Shock and guilt immediately overcame me and I turned my attention to Alex’s now hairless hand. “Oh my god! Look! Our new kitchen!” I whipped back around to see flames furiously trying to escape the pan and engulf our overhanging microwave/vent combo. I grabbed the pan, swirled the juices and lo and behold the flames died down and all was normal once again. Except for Alex’s hand of course, and the lingering scent of burnt hair. I apologised profusely, though I’m not sure the message came through my bouts of hysterical laughter. “I guess next time I should wait til you’ve finished pouring to light it, huh?”
After that comedy of errors one could only hope that the food tasted good! Well good is an understatment, it was divine! The rich, savory sauce caresses tender cubes of meat, carrots and onions. On a cold winter night, this is the dish to turn to as it warms your entire body as you eat it. I served it with some boiled potatoes tossed with butter and parsley to cut through the intense flavour of the dish. The one moderation I made was to brown the pearl onions in some butter before adding them to the stew. Click here for the recipe.