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A traditional beef stew with French origins, cooked slowly with loads of veggies for a memorable family dinner.bouilli

pot au feu bouilli

As a kid, I used to visit my grandparents once or twice a year. They were living in a small and remote village far away from my home called Lac-des-Aigles (Eagles lake) in Quebec, Canada. We would always arrive in the late afternoon and the Cast Iron pot would already be doing its magic on the stove in the kitchen upon our arrival, giving the house this comfy and welcoming aroma. In the pot was a succulent meat stew called Pot au feu, although it’s called Bouilli in Quebec. This recipe is a flashback to those nice visits at my grandparents place. My grandma would make this recipe starting from when the root veggies would be fully grown in the garden by the end of August throughout the winter. As one knows, Quebec, where I’m from, have inherited a lot from our cousins from France, amongst other things the language and the gastronomy. However everything took a slightly different direction, and it’s also the case with Pot au Feu.

 

The French vs. The French Canadian version

Pot au Feu (bouilli)

A popular peasant dish in both France and Quebec, this dish is considered by many the uncontestable comfort food. However the French version often contains leeks while the Canadian version uses green or yellow beans and potatoes. Another difference is the type of meat, in Canada, we usually add a piece of salted pork belly (Lard salé) which is a common in Canadian stews although in France they solely use beef pieces like extra bone marrows.

 

The technique

The recipe is terribly simple to do, all you need is some patience and keeping an eye on the amount of liquid in the pot. It’s basically a slow and long cooking stew with lots of veggies like rutabagas (turnips), carrots, potatoes, green or yellow beans, onions, cabbage and also 2 pieces of meat like a second quality piece of chuck roast and a piece of salted pork belly.

Pot au Feu (bouilli)

To prevent the stew from boiling, we cover the pot with the lid and leave always a tiny opening to let the extra heat escape, this way you’ll get a perfect simmer and make the meat tender and steam the veggies to perfection without making the broth blurry in the end. Pot au feu is a “kind of” stew although without as much liquid… containing about half the liquid of a normal stew. The goal is to always check for the meat to be covered by water although the veggies are going to stay on top of the liquid. The secret here is to simmer very gently and for long without moving the stew around. This way you’ll collect all the residual water from the “steamed” veggies and all that succulent juice from the pieces of meat in the bottom broth. The end result is a tender and dreamy merge of all the ingredients with just a touch of the tasty broth to cover the bottom of the plates.

Personal note

Pot au feu in the makingFinally, last week, my mom showed me her mom’s recipe for the first time, strangely I didn’t even tried it once before…  I guess I wanted to keep the memory of the perfect stew of my grandma intact. The only personal touch of mine in this version of pot au feu is the garlic clove, since I’ve been living abroad in Spain… I have the habit of adding garlic to everything. In my family, we like to serve this dish with a nice fresh buttered white bread slice to accompany it and some extra pickles. We also make bundles with the beans to make them easier to pick up in the end, plus it also gives an extra aesthetic side to the dish.

So let’s start and make good use of that iron cast pot!

 


Pot au Feu (Bouilli)

Makes 6-8 portions | Difficulty: easy| Preparation: 3.5 to 4 hours

Ingredientsbouilli quebecois ingredients
  • 1 kilo of Beef chuck roast (braising steak)
  • 300g of salted pork belly (pancetta)
  • 10 carrots peeled
  • 400g of green beans or yellow beans
  • 2 rutabaga or turnip
  • 3 white onions
  • 1/2 white cabbage 
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove *optional
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 3 cloves (stick them in the onions to find them easily in the end to remove them)
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Start by searing the 2 pieces of meat with a bit of clarified butter or olive oil in a big Iron Cast pot, high heat until brown on each side
  2. Once done add the bouquet garni and cover the piece of meat (2cm over) with water
  3. Let simmer for two and a half hours, covered with the lid (leaving a small opening to let the heat escape and prevent the stew from boiling), making sure there is always water in the pot
  4. Cut all the cabbage and rutabaga (or turnip) into big thick pieces, leave the carrots, potatoes and onions (with cloves stuck in them) whole
  5. Add all the veggies, except the green beans, on top of the meat and make sure there is always enough water to cover the pieces of meat, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for another 30 minutes
  6. Make little bundles with the green beans and attach them with the help of a string, add them on top of the stew, cover, simmer 30 minutes more minutes
  7. Check and adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper)
  8. After 3.5 hours of slow cooking the stew is finally ready, the meat gets tender and break easily to serve, take out the cloves from the onions and serve with a bit of the bottom broth.

 

Enjoy!

Pot au Feu (bouilli)

An unctuous and spicy Mexican stew made with a Mole style sauce and tender beef cubes served with tortilla chips, corn and parsley, for an “Olé” night. An unctuous and spicy Mexican stew made with a Mole style sauce. All the great Mexican flavors plus some extra veggies, served with tortilla chips, corn and parsley, for an extra Southern flair.

Mexican stew

I was browsing the Web last week and saw lots of stews and Mexican food around… it made me want them both badly… so I’ve decided to merge them both into one nice stew meal; a Mexican Stew. The two are comforting and great dishes for winter times but this stew version is double the comfort; it’s a “French” way stew with the usual; carrot, potato, beef, mini french oignons merged to a spicy Mole style sauce for a Mexican flair; adding Chipotle peppers in Adobo, tomato puree, chocolate, corn and some cinnamon, cumin and coriander powder. Result: Fantastic!

Chipotle peppers

Mexican stewThe mole sauce is a thick spicy Mexican sauce made with chocolate and lots of hot peppers. Since my maximal tolerance toward “spicy” is at medium-hot,  I’ve aimed at medium-hot for this dish but feel free to add some chipotle peppers  if you like it “hot”. Those chipotle peppers are considered mild from the start with only 3000 SHU / 10000 SHU on the Scoville scale, so… this is a meal suitable for everyone. Plus, they come in an adobo marinade which is a tomato, garlic and spices paste, fitting perfectly with the stew. Another particularity of the Chipotle peppers is its smokey side, since they smoked them before being marinated.

The Chocolate factor

This isn’t a joke, unsweetened chocolate is just the best friend of any stew. First, because it’s a thickener, all natural, no need for that extra flour in the beginning or corn starch to thickens the sauce. Second, it gives the sauce this deep rich brown color which makes it just irresistible. Third, dark chocolate is filled with health benefits; lower the bad cholesterol, may be lowering blood pressure, great source of antioxidants, protect the skin from the sun, cut hunger, contains lots of fibres, iron, magnesium, etc. Let just say it’s great news for our health. This Mexican stew doesn’t contain more than 50g of dark chocolate, although it looks like it contains lots because of it’s thick consistency. It’s actually half a small bar of dark chocolate, no more and no worries the flavor is really subtle.

mole mexican beef stew
The toppings

The toppings are totally up to you, I wanted to make it extra Mexican looking so I’ve added some corn grains, tortilla chips, parsley. Those are all optional of course. Also, I’ve done the potatoes on the side but some people might prefer being serve this dish with rice, which is usually the side dish to mole dishes in Mexico. So it’s all up to you!

Let’s make this unctuous and spicy Mexican stew!

 


Mexican stew

Makes 6 portions | Preparation: 2 hours | Difficulty: easy

Ingredients
  • Mexican stew500g of beef in 4 cm cubes
  • 500ml of beef broth
  • 4 chipotle pepper in adobo (6 for ‘extra’ hot)
  • 1 tbsp of the adobo paste (from the can above)
  • 400g tomato paste/purée
  • 3 carrots cut into dices
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 8 mini french onion (or 2 onions)
  • 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 50g of dark chocolate (better unsweetened)
  • olive oil or butter
  • salt and pepper
Sides
  • tortilla chips
  • potatoes
  • corn grains
  • parsley
Directions
  1. Start by browning the cubes of meat, add salt and pepper to the meat then in the pot used for making the stew, high heat, brown each side of the meat cubes in olive oil or butter
  2. Add the carrot, mini onions, garlic, and cook a minute or two before adding the beef broth and scratch the bottom bits leftover by the meat
  3. Bring it to a strong simmer
  4. During that time in a blender, blend the chipotle pepper with the abodo paste it comes in and the tomato puree/paste
  5. Add the blended chipotles to the stew with the spices (cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt and pepper), the worcestershire sauce
  6. Let it simmer slowly, half covered for 1h30
  7. In the end, add the chocolate and check the seasonning
  8. Serve with a few corn grains, potatoes, parsley and tortilla chips

 

Enjoy!

Mexican stew

Enoki enveloped in a thinly cut (carpaccio) beef slice with a dash of tamari and black sesame seeds for a carnivore/asian appetizers on your next dinner party.enoki appetizers

enoki beef asian appetizers

A carnivore’s bite

These appetizers are every carnivore’s dream, a tender meat rolled around a nice crunchy enoki mushroom and a touch of sesame. Sometimes simple is the answer to your guest’s stomach… My Cantonese sister in law made those mini rolls for me once before, slightly differently made (in the wok instead of the oven) but I thought it would make a nice appetizer idea for the holidays.

enoki beef asian appetizers

When you receive guests, it’s always a tricky thing to satisfy everyone, this one appetizer is a carnivore pleaser guaranteed, plus it’s so simple to make. You can prepare them in advance and simply drop them in the oven when your guests arrive and 10 minutes laters you dizzle a tad of tamari, pepper and black sesame seeds, insert a toothpick in each of them and there you go! Ready to party.

 

Black vs White sesame

enoki beef asian appetizersClearing up the air here… Black vs white sesame seeds. Well do you know the BIG difference between black and white ones?  First black and white sesame seeds are 2 differents types of sesame, the white one is hulled meaning it’s shell got discarded and the black one comes with it’s shell. Second, the texture of black sesame is much crunchier, and it’s flavor, in my opinion is calmer than the white sesame. I read the actual opposite on the internet but here is the thing…make a sushi roll with white sesame instead of black ones as decoration and then tell me which tasted more like sesame, it’s for sure the white. So I stand by my opinion: white ones are stronger. Third, the strongest of all is a toasted white sesame, it’s so powerful you won’t see it in many dishes… If you like East Asia dishes then you should definitely buy yourself the black sesame and for this dish the black ones are fitting perfectly.

Let’s make those meaty rolls!

 


Enoki Beef Rolls

Makes 10 appetizer | Preparation: 10 minutes | Coccion: 10 minute

Ienoki beef asian appetizersngredients
  • 150g  beef (carpaccio cut)
  • 50 enoki
  • 1-2 tbsp of tamari (or soy sauce)
  • black sesame seeds
  • salt, pepper
Directions
  1. Add a few enoki mushroom and roll them up in 1 or 2 thinly beef slices (depending on the cut length)
  2. Season the roll with salt and pepper
  3. Cook in the oven at 180°C (350F) for 8-10 minutes (again depending if you use 1 or 2 meat slices per rolls)
  4. Add a drizzle of tamari (or soy sauce) on the rolls and black sesame seeds
  5. Serve with toothpick and napkins

 

Enjoy!

enoki beef asian appetizers

German beer beef stew with knödelnComing back from holiday in Germany and I got myself some nice cooking books, my german isn’t so good yet, so it takes forever to understand a single recipe. But the one recipe I’ve always wanted to reproduce is the famous Knödel. This potato dumpling is in so many meals up in Germany or Central Europe for that matter, it’s accompany to perfection any meal with some type of gravy or sauce, even soups. There are tons of different styles of Knödel, for example with mushrooms, meat, spinach, etc. Also, I don’t want to make the easy kind Knödel made with bread or eggs… no…no… I want to learn the difficult one made just with potatoes (cooked and raw). I have to say in those 3 books I bought, I took the version of this recipe that had the most steps. I’ve learn this isn’t so easy to make so better be well informed before starting, no?germanstewpin

German beer beef stew with knödelnFirst of all, the potato choice is important to achieve a great Knödel. You’ll need a starchy potato like Russet or a multipurpose potato like the famous Yukon or Kennebec. Truely… just the amount of starch you’ll have to calibrate yourself to make the dumplings hold depending on the type you’ll use. I’ve used this time a potato multi purpose called “agria” (in Spain) and it did need double the amount of starch from the original recipe. So the best way to know if you have the good amount of starch is to test your Knödel. You make one test and you’ll see if it still holds after 20 minute in warm water you ready to go… if not… you add a tablespoon of starch and semola. So I had to change the amounts of the original recipe, and you might probably have to adjust your recipe also. The trick is to make tests and once you reach a good mix, then you’ll keep it for life.

German beer beef stew with knödelnAs for the stew, I’ve used all German typical ingredients although it is my own recipe, not a traditional one. It’s basically a “boeuf bourguignon” but I’ve exchange the wine for a nice German dark wheat beer, add some German aromatics like caraway, juniper, laurel and parsley for my aromatics. Also to make it a touch more creamy, I add a touch of heavy cream to calm down all the strong flavors and make it onctuous.

So let’s get to it!


German beer beef stew with Knödeln (potato dumpling)

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients
For the stew
  • 600g of beef cubes of 5cmGerman beer beef stew with knödeln
  • 500 ml of dunkel weissbier (Franziskaner) or a wheat beer of your choice
  • 50ml of heavy cream
  • 30g of butter
  • 1 carrot cut into dices
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 6 mushrooms (button or else)
  • laurel leaf
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 5 juniper 
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch (in a bit of cold water to thicken the soup in the final stage)
  • salt and pepper
The Knödel
  • 1 kg (about 8 medium sized) of “starchy” potato (ex; russet) or if you use a less starchy kind of potato (yukon,kennebec), double the amount of both semolina and starch to the mix
  • 80ml of milk
  • 1 tbsp of starch (cornstarch)
  • 1 tbsp of semolina 
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 slice of white bread toast cut into small cubes
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg *last one optional
Directions
The stew
  1. Season with salt and pepper the beef dices
  2. Add the butter to a deep pan and bring to high heat
  3. Add the pieces of beef and brown them on each side
  4. Add the onion, carrot and aromatics (juniper, caraway and laurel)
  5. Add the whole beer
  6. Let simmer for 2h30 hours, moving it to make sure the bottom doesn’t stick
  7. In the last 30 minutes, add the mushroom
  8. In the last 5 minutes, add the cornstarch mixed with cold water to thickens the broth
  9. Check the seasonning and take off the fire
  10. Add the touch of cream
  11. Serve
The Knödel (potato dumplings)
  1. Peel and cut into small cubes the 1/2 of the potatoes
  2. Cook in salty boiling water until soft
  3. Reserve
  4. Peel and grate finely the rest of the potatoes
  5. Add to a cheesecloth, or kitchen towel and squeeze all the juice out into a bowl (let the starch separate, takes about 10 minutes)
  6. In a medium size sauce pan, warm up the milk and add the raw grated potato , the semolina, butter, salt, nutmeg and pepper and mix well (take of the fire)
  7. Make purée with the cooked potatoes and add to the mix
  8. Eliminate the water from the drained potato juice and keep only the bottom starch
  9. Add the starch to the mix and the extra cornstarch
  10. Check for the seasoning a last time
  11. Toast a piece of white bread and cut it into cubes *optional, add a piece or two in the middle of the dumplings.
  12. Make a dumpling with wet hands and add to warm (barely simmering) salty water, don’t boil or the dumplings will get destroyed
  13. At this point you make a single Knödel to test your potato mixture (optional but highly recommended)
  14. Let them in the barely simmering water for 20-25 minutes
  15. Serve with a pinch of salt and add some chives or parsley as a topping.

Enjoy!

German beer beef stew with knödeln

 Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplant

Spicy Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplant is a bite into a mildly hot and comforting meaty dish accompanied with an earthy Sichuan style sauce. This recipe is not a traditional Chinese recipe, although flavored with all the great Sichuan flavors, it’s a twist on my love for Sichuan flavors. A great dish if you feel like a rich and spicy meaty dinner with an oriental flare to it. The secret in this recipe lays in the fermented broad bean paste called Doubanjiang, more precisely Pixian Doubanjiang. This paste is a jewel from the famous Chinese region, it brings a rich, salty, spicy kick to the dish. Although, in our days, many household use a Doubanjiang made with mostly oil or fermented soya instead of Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplantbeans which result into a quite different result. So if you want to get your Sichuanese recipes taste like the real deal, take care to buy the authentic Pixian Doubanjiang at your favorite Asian market.sichuanpin

This Sichuanese paste is the core of the recipe, also present is the Shaoxing wine which gives a welcomed kick to any chinese food, a good substitute for this would be brandy or sherry. As for the mushrooms in this preparation the maitake mushrooms are used but it could easy be replaced by shiitakes or button mushrooms.

As for the plating in general, I suggest small eggplants, big ones would be for big appetites only. The stuffed eggplant is installed on a small bed of white rice to stabilize it on the plate. Also, the white rice will get infused with the Sichuan sauce as soon as you cut through it and let the sauce flow into it. Of course the recipe is suitable for low-carb diet or paleo diet simply eliminate the white rice. In the last step of the recipe, the roasting part in the oven, the Sichuanese sauce will, in part, get absorbed by the eggplant and give it a great punchy flavor.

So let’s make this Sichuanese stuffed eggplant!


Spicy Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplant

Makes 2 portions

IngredientIMG_5135s
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 300g of ground beef
  • 100g of mushroom finely chopped (shiitake, maitake or button mushrooms)
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 cm cube of ginger finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • Mushroom2 tbsp of spicy black bean paste (Doubanjiang)
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of chinese wine (Shaoxing)
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Cut the eggplant into 2 on the length, cut out the inside with a spoon
  2. Spray or brush lightly with oil (sunflower or neutral oil), salt and pepper
  3. Add the eggplant cut side down on a baking tray and cook at 180°C (350F) for 20 minutes
  4. During that time, cook, medium-high heat, in an oiled pan the onion and mushroom
  5. When soften, add the garlic, ginger and ground beef
  6. Cook until the meat is cooked, then add the bean paste, the chinese wine and the soy sauce and mix until the paste is well incorporated into the mix
  7. Let cook a minute or two to evaporate the alcohol from the chinese wine
  8. Stuffed the eggplants with the sichuan beef mix and cook at 180°C (350F) for an extra 5 minutes
  9. Serve

Enjoy!

Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplant

Chinese wine beef and mushroom noodles

Stir fried beef and mushroom in chinese wine with udon noodles is so tasty, this rice wine is a bold, tasty compliment to any chinese dish. It smells way more powerful than normal grape wine and its taste is way bolder too, it’s closer to a fortified wine in taste. Without saying you need to be careful not to put too much of it.udonbeefpin

Chinese wine beef and mushroom noodlesYesterday, I went to my favorite asian market because I needed a refill of this, hard to find, vietnamese fish sauce. I can not recommend it enough, the vietnamese one is made with only fish and taste different than the thai fish sauce they sell in most stores. Once in there, I love to pick up something new, so this time, I’ve decided to experiment with this rice wine called Chen nian hua tiao Chiew. Let me say… after my first dish with it, this is going to be pleasant to make tons of delicious recipe with it. I love bold flavors, and this wine is right in my spectrum of bold flavors.

Also couldn’t resist those beautiful bowls they sell in this market. Love this place!

So let’s make this chinese wine stir fried dish!


Stir fried beef and mushroom in chinese rice wine and Udon noodles

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients
TChinese wine beef and mushroom noodleshe marinade
  • 3 tbsp of rice chinese wine (Chen nian hua tiao chiew)
  • 2 tbsp of sugar (honey or maple syrup)
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp of ginger minced
  • 1 tbsp of chilli flakes in oil (or even better fresh hot peppers)
  • t tbsp of cornstarch flour
The grand finale
  • 230g of Udon wheat noodles
  • 150g of finely sliced beef  (steak, loin, your favorite)
  • 200ml of beef broth
  • 175g of your favorite muchrooms
  • 100 g chard leaves
  • 2 tbsp of peanut oil 
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch diluted in 3 tbsp of cold water
  • 1 tbsp of rice chinese wine
  • 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Start by making the marinade, by mixing all the ingredients
  2. Add to the beef and let marinate 30 minutes in the fridge
  3. Cook the udon noodles al dente in a pot of boiling water
  4. Drain and rinse in cold water (prevents them from sticking together) 
  5. Add the sesame oil to the noodles, mix and reserve
  6. In a wok add the peanut oil and mushrooms, high heat all along, and with a wood spatula stir fry them for a minute
  7. Add the beef and it’s marinade in the wok and stir fry until barely cooked
  8. Add the chard, the broth and chinese wine and let it Chinese wine beef and mushroom noodlesboil for a minute or two
  9. Add the cornstarch mix and let the sauce thickens
  10. Add the reserved noodles to the wok, cook for 1 minute to warm them up
  11. Serve with black sesame seeds and soy sauce on the side

Enjoy!

Chinese wine beef and mushroom noodles

Beef tenderloin with a cherry and sherry saucePork tenderloin cooked sous-vide with a cherry and sherry sauce is the dish that Masterchef Spain season 4 won with. The real recipe isn’t out yet, but I’ve tried to reproduce it the best I could from this Andalusian lady contestant. It seemed so divine on TV, looking at the judges eyes rolling up in pleasure, I got jealous and knew I had to try it too. My first version wasn’t quite a success, although the sauce turned out more red than the last version, I believe because the cherries were more ripe or different type of cherry. I do not eat nor cook much red meat, but when I do, I love my meat as tender Beef tenderloin with a cherry and sherry sauceand juicy as possible. The magic in this dish is the sauce, a pure delight for the tastebuds. Sherry and cherry sounds similar but they are far from being similar in taste, the sherry is dry and the cherry sweet. Mix those two together and you’ll get a divine combination, maybe with an extra sweetener like honey, even better. This is a taste from south Spain, Andalusia, where the famous sherry is from.pork tenderloin cherry sherry sauce

Andalusia is a strong, bold and passionate place, just like it’s fortified wines and gastronomy. There are 4 main types of sherry, 2 mild ones; the Manzanilla and the Fino and 2 darker, richer and nuttier ones; the Amontillado and the Oloroso. The last one, Oloroso, is the richest of them all, and the one used in this recipe. If you ever visit the south of Spain, visiting a Sherry Solera in the Jerez region, it worth the whole trip! Those pyramidal barrel systems, always mixing old and new sherry from time to time in the contrasting massive cold buildings is a great experience. Ok, I’m flying away… sorry… let’s get back to the recipe.

Beef tenderloin with a cherry and sherry sauceAfter making a first attempt which wasn’t fruiticious, the meat wasn’t to my taste. I’ve decided to make my second tenderloin sous-vide. This way, you are sure to never past the coccion, and simply need to sear it fast to finish it. Meat isn’t my jam, I like it, but I could never nail a good medium coccion. So… I bought myself this small sous-vide machine and since then, I get the most juicy, tender and pink pieces of meat, a real plus in the kitchen. Love this machine, and actually they say it’s more energy efficient than a conventional oven.

So let’s make this rich Andalusian flavored dish going!


Pork tenderloin with a cherry and sherry sauce

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients
  • Beef tenderloin with a cherry and sherry sauce1/2 a pork tenderloin, without the membrane or 4 pieces of tenderloin
  • 100 ml of Oloroso Sherry
  • 15 cherries, ripe pitted
  • 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch (mix in 3 tbsp of cold water)
  • 2 french shallots or 1/4 of a white onion
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 50 ml of chicken broth or water
  • rosemary branch small
  • 10g of butter
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Cook the tenderloin sous-vide at 58°C (135F) for 2 hours (thick piece) for a medium coccion 54°C for medium-rare with a small branch of rosemary, salt and pepper or cook the tenderloin your favorite way
  2. Add the shallots to a sauce pan with a touch of olive oil and salt, cook them slowly until translucent
  3. Add the cherries, sherry, broth, vinegar, water, honey, garlic and laurel to the saucepan and reduce, medium high heat, for 10 minutes
  4. Mash good the cherries so they give their juice
  5. Pass the sauce through a sieve and push down with a spoon to collect all the juice
  6. Add the sauce to a clean saucepan and add the cornstarch mix
  7. Let simmer until thick (covers the back of a spoon)
  8. Take off the fire and add the butter and mix well
  9. Sear the whole piece of tenderloin, high heat , on every side
  10. Cut into nice thick pieces and serve with the cherry sherry sauce (if cooked sous-vide, no need to wait before cutting into the tenderloin, if done otherwise, wait 10-15 minutes before cutting into it)

Serve with rosemary roasted potato wedges. Enjoy this Andalusian bite!

Beef tenderloin with a cherry and sherry sauce

Boeuf bourguignon is French people favorite beef stew made out of red wine, mushrooms, carrots, onions and aromatics with a twist! Served with pasta instead of potatoes. Because why not? right?

Boeuf bourguignon on pasta
Beef Bourguignon on pasta

Boeuf bourguignon on spaghetti is a “mashup” dish, the usual ‘boeuf bourguignon’ or beef bourguignon is great with potatoes, but if you want to try something new, try this on pasta! It’s better then Bolognese my friend! I like potatoes… but my husband not so much… so he always ask me to make his boeuf bourguignon on pasta. I have to agree with him on this; with pasta it’s gives the dish a whole new dimension.Boeuf bourguignon on pasta

But either ways, the base of the recipe stays the same; braised beef cubes in a dutch oven cooked slowly in a red wine sauce. So you decide which between pasta or potatoes makes you salivate more. Also I’ve had my little Spanish touch by making a “picada” (last minutes seasoning) with parsley, garlic and olive oil just to give it a last fresh kick.

Boeuf bourguignon on pasta The beef cubes, I’ve bought, were pre-cut quite small, about 2-3cm large which isn’t ideal (in pictures), try to get bigger cubes of 5 cm, then when you’ll go in for a bite you’ll see the tender beef cubes fall apart and that experience brings so much more appeal to the dish. Also another important part is to season and sear good your beef pieces at first, make sure the pot you use is hot enough at the beginning, don’t put too many pieces at the time and resist the urge of moving the cubes too early while searing.

So let’s make that delicious beef stew the French cannot get enough of!


Boeuf bourguignon

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients

  • 400g of beef cubes of 5cm ideally
  • 100g of fresh bacon bits
  • 500ml (2 cups) of red wine
  • 2 big carrots into slices
  • 1 onion sliced or (or 6-7 pearl onions)
  • 1 garlic clove finely sliced
  • Bouquet garni (thyme, laurel, pepper, clove)
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 250g of button mushrooms cut into quarter
  • salt, pepper
The picada *optional (goes at the end of coccion)
  • a few flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 a garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven, bring to high heat.
  2. Salt and pepper the meat
  3. When hot, add the olive oil and the beef, sear each side of the beef cubes until light brown (not too many at the time)
  4. When the cubes are done, add the bacon for a min
  5. Then cover lightly with flour over the meat and a touch more of olive oil
  6. Let cook the flour for a minute
  7. Add the red wine and mix well making sure the bottom is well scratched with a wooden spoon
  8. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, bouquet garni and bring to a boil
  9. Cover and turn the heat to low (or in the oven at 170°C (340f))
  10. Let simmer slowly for about 2 hours
  11. Add the mushrooms 30 minutes before the end of cooking
  12. Add salt, pepper
  13. Make the optional “picada” with all it’s ingredients in a mortar, add to the beef bourguignon 2 minutes before the end of cooking

Serve on the pasta of your choice!

Enjoy!

Boeuf bourguignon on pasta

Szechuan beef and eggplant noodles

Szechuan, Sichuan, Szechwan…. No idea which one to pick… I guess the Szechuan look the best… All meaning the cuisine of the Chinese region of Sichuan, South West from the country. A place well known for it’s spicy meals, it’s famous Szechuan pepper, and it’s fermented beans paste (Doubanjiang). All good stuff to discover!sichuanpin

Living in Spain, it’s not always easy to find a good chinese restaurant, but we finally found a gem, a Szechuan gem; DaZhong. This place is filled with asians, which is a good sign although not many spaniards go there… yet… Each time I go with my husband, we order many plates, our favorite; the spicy Szechuan eggplant with pork. A pleasure for the taste buds.

Szechuan beef and eggplant noodlesThis dish isn’t exactly a traditional Szechuan dish…It’s a kind of Chinese spaghetti bolognese!  It’s all the Szechuan region flavours and ingredients…but not a traditional dish from there, but a surely a delicious one. Walking around the asian market the other day, I saw those beautiful long asian eggplants, I add to do something with them. I’ve ended up creating this dish, which at first, was supposed to be that eggplant dish… usually with pork, well… it turned into beef. I’ve originally planned on making that eggplant dish but it turned out into that asian bolognese. A lucky mistake and most importantly a tasty one too!

So let’s do this Szechuan flavoured dish!


Szechuan Bolognese Noodles

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients
  • Szechuan beef and eggplant noodles500g ground beef
  • 300g egg noodles (or asian noodles you prefer)
  • 2 long asian eggplants cut into thick pieces
  • 1 small onion finely sliced
  • 2 hot thai red pepper finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp (2tbsp for the eggplants + 1 tbsp for the sauce)
  • 2 tbsp of peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp black bean paste (Doubanjiang)
  • 2 garlic gloves finely chopped
  • 3 cm piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of dark chinese vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp of honey (or sugar)
  • 1 tbsp of chinese cooking wine (or sherry)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of chilli flakes paste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt, pepper
Directions
The sauce
  1. Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, chili paste and 1 tbsp of cornstarch
The main meal
  1. Add 2 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp of peanut oil on the eggplants and mix until well coated
  2. In a wok, medium-high heat, cook you eggplants for about 5 minutes until light brown on each sides
  3. reserve the eggplants
  4. Add a bit more peanut oil to the wok, the onion, minced garlic and ginger cook for a minute and bring the heat to high heat
  5. Add salt, pepper to the beef meat and add to the wok, mix
  6. When the meat is barely cooked, add the black bean paste (Doubanjiang) and mix until well incorporated
  7. Add, finally, the predone sauce from step 1 to the wok, cook for a minute
  8. Add the eggplants and hot thai peppers back to the wok
  9. Cook your noodles in hot water, then drain and add the sesame oil, mix
  10. Serve the meat on top of the noodles (or rice) or fry them inside the sauce for a few seconds

Serve with a few chopped thai pepper and scallions on top! Enjoy!

 

 

pate chinois

Pâté chinois is a typical French Canadian meal… Apparently created by the British railroad workers, in the 19th century, as an imitation of the famous “cottage pie” (beef, lamb and mashed potatoes). The dish was an imminent “hit”, at least, for the “on site” railroad workers which included many French Canadians and many Chinese workers. The French brought it back home and called it: Chinese pate… which as nothing to do with China…sheperdspiepin

pate chinoisThe “pate chinois” differs from the cottage pie, mainly because of the corn in the middle layer. Which was a cheap and easy ingredient to add, since Canada is full of it. In majority, this is the meal every household does once a month in the East part of Canada. It’s equivalent to tomato pasta for an Italian, or a baguette and cheese to a French, a ceviche to a peruvian… It’s “the” meal every French Canadians family does every other week.

Since living in Spain, I’ve had to add a spanish touch to everything I cook, so instead of doing the typical butter in the mashed potatoes, I’ve used olive oil. Also I’ve added garlic, onions, tomato paste and carrots to the meat and last but not least; fresh thyme. Surprisingly, this meal does already have a layer of paprika (pimenton) on top of it, I used for this one a special smoked paprika called “Pimenton de la Vera”, which is kind of the caviar of spices in Spain. A slight smoky flavour to this pie goes a long way.

So let’s make some eastern canadian meal with a touch of sunny Spain!


Pâté Chinois with a Spanish Twist

Makes 4 portions

Ingredientspate chinois
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 200ml warm milk
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 400g grinded beef meat
  • 1 onion in cubes
  • 1 carrot in cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 50g (tomate frito) tomato paste
  • 300g corn grains
  • 1 tbsp smocked paprika
  • fresh thyme
  • salt, pepper
Directions
  1. Cook the potatoes through, peel them (here is a trick)
  2. Mash them with the warm milk, olive oil, salt and pepper
  3. Add the onion and carrot with some olive oil to a pan, cook at medium high heat, until soft
  4. Add the garlic and thyme bring to high heat
  5. Add the meat and cook until light brown
  6. Add the paprika and tomato paste
  7. Add the meat mix to the bottom of a oven proof container (deep enough and not too big… about 20cm diametre)
  8. Add the corn layer
  9. Add the mashed potatoe layer
  10. Sprinkle with more paprika, salt, pepper and spray a little olive oil on top
  11. Cook for 30-35 minutes at 200°C (375F), until brown top, finish it with a broil
  12. Let cool a bit and serve

Enjoy on a cold day, with some nicely spiced Bloody Mary!

 

Pate chinois