Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

Hello Dear Friends,

Today I wanted to talk about potatoes. I am sure everyone has their favorite recipe and the way of making them. I love them really in any way, shape or form and these have always worked the best for me when it comes to taste and texture – soft inside and crispy on the outside. They are super easy to make and I hope they will soon make an appearance at your table too! Have a wonderful week! 🙂

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Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

{Printable recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 – 3 lb (1.1 – 1.4 kg) Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary or a few twigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP grated parmesan cheese

Preparation:

  1. Peel potatoes, wash them well.
  2. Slice each potato once through starting at the narrower part, to get two halves
  3. Slice each half into 3 wedges.

Picture1

4. Place the wedges into a pot and cook them for just about 5 minutes. They are to remain firm.
5. Strain and arrange them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
6. Spice the wedges with salt, black pepper and rosemary.
7. Brush with olive oil and toss it all together so the spices and oil can spread evenly over potatoes.

Picture2

8. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (if desired) and stir once again.
9. Bake at 400 F (200 C) until bottom of the potatoes start getting a nice golden-brown color.
10. Now turn on the broiler for 5 minutes on low and then a few minutes on high.
11. Cool for a few minutes and serve as a side dish or just by itself.
YUM! ENJOY! :)

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Beef Stew with Rutabaga

This is a stew the way my grandma made it; very simple, no fancy ingredients here. It just takes time and Love to make it perfect. My grandma usually made the stew with potatoes and sometimes also with rutabaga which is in my language called “repa”. She would also shred rutabaga and pickle it, or just peel it, cut into thin slices and give it to grandchildren to eat it fresh because it’s healthy.

You will notice this not being a conventional way of preparing a stew (no meat searing); still it works wonderfully and the end result is an amazing combination of tender beef, delicious vegetable and hearty soup.

Beef stew with rutabaga

Beef Stew with Rutabaga

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP cooking oil (I use sunflower)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 medium carrot (chopped)
  • 1 medium parsnip (chopped)
  • 2 lb (1 kg) stew beef (cut into large cubes)
  • 1 tsp Vegeta spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups (1 l) water (+ a few cups more while cooking)
  • 1 lb (500 g) rutabaga (peeled and cubed)
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley

Preparation:

  1. In a heavy bottom cooking pot sauté onions, garlic, carrots and parsnips for about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Place cubed beef on the vegetable bed and let it brown well on all sides.
  3. Slightly cover pan and keep sautéing beef and vegetables together for 20-30 minutes. Beef will release juices, so just let everything slowly simmer until all liquid evaporates.
  4. Soon you will hear a frying sound. Make sure you stir well so beef or vegetables don’t burn.
  5. Now is the time to add spices: vegeta, salt, paprika and pepper. Stir once again and make sure meat is well coated with spices.
  6. Add water, bring it to boil and then turn down to medium cover and let is simmer for 2 – 2.5 hours. Some of the water will evaporate, so make sure to check the pot every 20-30 minutes to see if you need to add any water. Meat needs to be covered with water at all times while simmering.
  7. The last 45 minutes of cooking add peeled and cubed rutabaga; adjust spices if needed. Serve warm , garnished with fresh parsley.

Beef stew preparation

Beef stew preparation 2

Beef stew preparation 3

SONY DSC

Beef stew with rutabaga

 

SONY DSC

Tarhana Soup {Sour Dough Soup}

Tarhana soup is a well loved soup in my native Bosnia, as well as in some other countries such as Greece, Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, Egypt, etc. The noodles are made from sour dough and give a soup that specific taste and tomato sauce just enhances its flavor. So, if you like your sourdough bread, I am sure you will like Tarhana as well.

My maternal Grandmother used to make the noodles from scratch. I am not quite sure of how the whole process works, but I can tell you what I remember from my childhood.

The dough is made with flour, water, salt, possibly yeast (some say yogurt too, or with tomato sauce) and it’s left to ferment for 3-4 days (or more). More flour is added to the mixture each day. When the dough is ready, it is divided into hand-size patties which are then left to dry (best in the airy and sunny spot). After they’re dry they are shredded or coarsely grounded into noodles and stored in plastic containers or jars.

I buy my noodles at the store with Bosnian, Balkan or Middle Eastern products. Tarhana soup can be made in several different ways and with various ingredients. This is my family recipe.

Tarhana soup, trahana

Tarhana Soup {Sour Dough Soup}

[Printable recipe]

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP cooking oil
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/4 of a medium green bell pepper
  • 1 celery stalk (optional)
  • 1 small zucchini (optional)
  • 3/4 lb (about 350 g) ground beef
  • 1 tsp “Vegeta” spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • A pinch of ground white pepper
  • 15 oz (425 g) can tomato sauce
  • 5 cups (1 liter + 200 ml) water
  • 1 cup (about 200 g) tarhana noodles
  • Chopped parsley
  • Sour cream (optional)

*** All vegetables finely chopped

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oil in a cooking pot and add all finely chopped vegetables. Sauté for 5 minutes then add ground beef.
  2. Sauté ground beef and veggies for another 5-10 minutes, then add spices, tomato sauce and water.
  3. Bring it to boil and add tarhana noodles. Stir well. Let the soup simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally as the noodles tend to stick to the bottom.
  4. Noodles will thicken the soup. If it’s too thick for your taste, you can always add a little water.
  5. Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley or a tablespoon of sour cream
  6. ENJOY!

Tarhana

Tarhana soup preparation

Tarhana soup - trahana

Tarhana soup - trahana

 

 

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

By request of some of my readers, I will try to post more cooking recipes to my blog. One of the most liked Bosnian summer meals are stuffed peppers.

If you’re not familiar with Bosnian cooking, you should know that we like to cook from scratch, use fresh ingredients, seasonal vegetables and we take pride in what we do. Even though the ingredients and spices are simple, preparation and cooking process are lengthy and produce flavorful, hearty and memorable meals.

I usually make stuffed peppers two ways – stuffed with ground beef and cooked in sauce and the vegetarian way, stuffed with potatoes and rice and baked in the oven.

Today I would like to introduce ground meat stuffed peppers. I usually use ground beef for stuffing. Ground pork, or mix of ground beef and pork can be used as well. I have not tried making them with ground chicken or turkey. I also add a potato to the stuffing mixture, but that’s optional. Also the rice doesn’t have to be precooked. I half-cook mine, since I’ve had stuffed peppers where rice was not fully cooked and I want to avoid that. Most common peppers used in Bosnia are white peppers. I suggest not to use green bell peppers for this recipe, except if they are really small. A good substitute in the US are cubanelle peppers. I usually serve my stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes, but they can be served just by it self and with an addition of some good crusty bread to dip into sauce.

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

{Printable Recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 white peppers (2.4-2.8 oz OR 70-80 g each)
  • 1 1/3 lb (600 g) ground beef
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) rice
  • 1 large potato (finely chopped)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp Vegeta spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper (freshly ground)

       + for the sauce

  • 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½  cup (120 ml) tomato puree
  • 4 cups (1 l) water

Preparation:

  1. Wash and dry peppers. Cut open the top and remove all the seeds and membranes. Set aside.
  2. Cook the rice halfway (about 5 minutes) and strain. Set aside.
  3. Finely chop vegetables.
  4. Place ground beef in a medium bowl and sprinkle with all the spices.
  5. Add all vegetables, rice, egg and parsley and mix into a compact mass.
  6. Stuff each pepper and set on a plate next to the stove.
  7. Heat 3 tbsp of cooking oil in a frying pan. Lightly brown peppers on each side (just until fragrant, remove from the pan and place back on the plate.
  8. Pour the oil from frying into a cooking pot. You will make the sauce now.
  9. Lightly heat the oil, add 2 tbsp flour and stir gently until smooth.
  10. Add ground paprika and salt and stir for about 1 minute. Don’t let it burn.
  11. Add tomato puree and water. Stir and let it boil.
  12. When the sauce starts boiling, place all the peppers inside. Turn the temperature down to medium and simmer for about 45-50 minutes in a half covered pot.

*** Sauce will reduce during the cooking and will become thicker.

Serve with a side of mashed potatoes or just with bread.

Long grain rice

White peppers

Ingredients for stuffed peppers

Stuffing mixture for peppers

Stuffed peppers

Browning stuffed peppers

Stuffed pepper sauce

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

Bosnian Stuffed Peppers

Chicken Soup with Farina Dumplings

As per request of one of my dear readers, I wanted to introduce this much loved soup of our grandmothers. I am not sure where the soup originates from (Austria perhaps), but it is well known all over the old continent. It is delicious, easily made and filling.

The base for the soup can be chicken or veal stock and dumplings are made from farina flour. This flour is coarse and resembles grits, but unlike grits, it is made from wheat. Apparently for many years I was confusing the name for semolina and farina flour. I recently learned that semolina is mainly used for making pasta and gnocchi and farina is used as cereal (cream of wheat). In Bosnia farina is called griz and in Germany grieß. We mainly use farina for dumplings and desserts. If you happen to go through my recipe index, my Semolina Pudding should actually read farina pudding (I promise I will change that).

chicken soup with farina dumplings

Chicken Soup with Farina Dumplings

{print recipe}

Chicken stock:

  • 1. 5 – 2 l (1.5 – 2 quarts) water
  • 100-200 g (3.5 – 7 oz) chicken (I usually use breast without skin, but dark meat can be used as well) or veal
  • 2 medium carrots (cut once lengthwise and once across)
  • 1 parsnip (cut once lengthwise and once across)
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 parsley twigs
  • Vegeta
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley (finely chopped)

Farina dumplings:

  • 100 g (3.5 oz) farina flour
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 50 g butter (1.7 oz)- at room temperature
  • 1 egg

Preparation:

  1. In a stock pot filled with water add chicken and all the vegetables. Bring it to a boil and then lower the temperature and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  2. Strain the stock and set aside all that’s left in the sieve.
  3. Return the clear stock into the pot. Finely chop chicken, carrots and parsnip and put back into the stock.  Onion, celery, and parsley can be discarded. Spice with vegeta, salt and pepper. Let it simmer lightly.
  4. Dumplings need to be prepared immediately before you want to add them to the soup. Do not let the dumpling mixture sit and wait, because they will not turn out good.
  5. For the dumplings combine farina with salt, pepper and nutmeg in a small bowl. Add softened butter and egg and make a mixture gently mixing with a fork. Do not use electric mixer. Do not over mix.
  6. Take a small spoon and grab some of the mixture. With another spoon help shape the mixture into a nice oval and put it into simmering soup. Work fast. Dumplings will start expanding and coming to the surface.
  7. When they are about triple in size, turn off the stove, add chopped parsley to the soup and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. If dumplings are made right they will have a soft consistency, somewhat grainy texture and will not be hard or fall apart.

*** I suggest not to make these dumplings with hands as you may squeeze and press the mixture too much and then they will be too hard after they are done.

Chicken stock

Making Farina Dumplings
Making Farina Dumplings
Farina Dumplings Mixture
Farina Dumplings Mixture
Make Farina dumplings using two spoons and shaping them into an oval
Make Farina dumplings using two spoons and shaping them into an oval

SONY DSC

Chicken Soup with Farina Dumplings

Chicken Soup with Farina Dumplings

Bosnian Bean Soup {Grah}

Just when I thought the winter has lost its grip on us, it’s snowing again and it’s bitter cold outside. I guess I’ll have to patiently wait for the spring.. In the meantime I decided to cure the winter blues with a cup of familiar, good Bosnian Bean Soup. In Bosnia and the regions of Balkan, this soup has been around for hundreds of years. It is simply called “beans” (grah) and when you say “grah” everyone knows what you’re talking about. Most families have their own, family recipe which they swear to be the best one around. I think my recipe is pretty darn good too! 🙂 This flavorful, hearty soup is made from dried beans, so it takes a while to be done, but I’ll tell you the wait is absolutely worth it. If you would find yourself in a conversation with an older Bosnian lady and if you (God forbid) mentioned that you have used canned beans to make grah, she would be seriously mad (if not offended) and she would use all of her powers of persuasion to change your mind and to point you in the right direction when it comes to preparing grah. 🙂

Although I am not going to be mad if you use canned beans, I would strongly suggest – don’t. I am speaking from my own experience here. Take the time and make this soup the proper way and you will be rewarded with a best cup of bean soup you ever had.

Since I don’t have a way to get the real Bosnian beans here in the US, I tried substituting them with pinto beans, black eyed peas and kidney beans. None of these have worked too well. Recently I found peruano beans which are just perfect for this soup and if not the same, then they are very similar to my favorite Bosnian beans.

As we (Bosnians) are pretty serious meat eaters, we like to add some nice smoked meat to the soup. I usually add authentic Bosnian smoked beef, but smoked pork ribs or similar will also give it a great flavor. Smoked meat from Balkans would require a whole new post, so I will just say that if you would really like to have some, try any store with products from Balkan. Serve the soup with some good, crusty bread. This is essential because you will be dipping that bread into soup and using it to pick up the last drops from your cup! In the winter time we also might serve this soup with pickled vegetables such as pickles, pickled peppers, sarena salata (a mix of various pickled veggies), pickled peppers stuffed with sauerkraut, etc.)

Bosnian Bean Soup (Grah)

Bosnian Bean Soup (Grah)

{print recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 500 g (17 oz) dry peruano beans
  • 1-2 l water
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper
  • 250 g (9 oz) smoked beef (cubed)
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP vegeta
  • 1/4  TSP fresh ground black pepper
  • Bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP cooking oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 TSP ground paprika

Preparation:

*** Soaking the beans in cold water over night will reduce the cooking time.

  • If you have pre-soaked the beans, rinse them, place in a large cooking pot and go to number 1.
  • If you didn’t soak the beans, place them in a cooking pot, add water and let it boil for a few minutes, rinse and add fresh water.
  1. Finely chop onion, carrot and the bell pepper. Add it to the beans and let it boil. Reduce the temperature to medium, cover the pot slightly and let it cook for about 1 hour. Occasionally check if water level has decreased, add additional water to always keep the same level of liquid in the pot.
  2. After 1 hour add all spices and cubed smoked meat (polish sausage or similar can be used too, but then you will add them at the last half hour of cooking time). Cook for another 1 to 1.5 hours. To check if beans are ready take a few out of the pot and squeeze them between your thumb and index finger. If they are soft and creamy, and the peel comes off they are ready. The soup will look thick and it will smell wonderfully.
  3. Now add tomato paste and let it incorporate well into the soup.
  4. It is time now to make the roux to thicken the soup.
  5. Peel and finely chop 3-4 garlic cloves. Using medium setting, heat 2 TBSP oil in a small frying pan. Toss the chopped garlic in oil just until fragrant.
  6. Add flour and mix it with a wooden spoon until all crumbs disappear and flour starts changing its color to a very light brown. Now add paprika and again mix well. Pour the roux into the soup. This might produce a lively reaction. Give it a nice stir, reduce the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  7. Serve warm with a slice of a nice, crusty bread.
  8. This soup freezes well and keeps well in the fridge for at least 3-4 days.
Smoked beef meat
Smoked beef meat
Steps of making roux
Steps of making roux

Bosnian Bean Soup (Grah)

Hearty Chicken Soup with Green Veggies

Last few days I just had a taste for some soup. In the warm summer season I usually make a lot of salads, pastas, grilled meats and such… I realized I miss a bowl of a nice soup. This one is just totally a combination of things that I had in my fridge and it is pretty simple to make, healthy and just so delicious.

Hearty Chicken Soup with Green Veggies                 Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium chicken breast
  • 1 large tomato (blanched and peeled)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegeta
  • 4 cups (950 ml) water
  • 10.5 oz (300 g) green peas
  • 7 oz (200 g) fresh green beans (1 inch pieces)
  • 7 oz (200 g) okra (1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) tomato sauce
  • Fresh parsley (finely chopped)

Preparation:

Lightly heat olive oil in a cooking pot and add finely chopped onions, garlic and carrots. Add peeled and chopped zucchini and sauté for a few minutes.

Add chicken breast cut into ½ inch (1.5 cm) cubes; add salt, fresh ground pepper and vegeta to taste. Sauté for another five minutes and then add blanched, peeled and chopped tomato. At this point mixture will start getting thick. Mix for a few minutes not letting it burn. Now add water and let it boil. There is no need to add chicken stock as your sautéed veggies and chicken will make a great base for the soup.

After the soup starts boiling, add green beans, peas and okra and reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes. Add tomato sauce and let it simmer for another 10 minutes or until desired thickness.

Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley and a slice of good bread! Yum, yum, yum!!!!!! 🙂

Gnocchi with Italian sausage, tomato and herb sauce

In addition to mushroom-cream-white wine sauce, the one I made today with Italian sausage, tomatoes and herbs is my favorite sauce to serve with gnocchi. This sauce is so rich and flavorful. I like to use fresh tomatoes, but canned ones can be used as well. Usually I like to prepare homemade gnocchi, but don’t always have enough time, so this time I used store bought ones. This is how I make the sauce:

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6

  • 2 packs of gnocchi (each 500 g or 1 lb)
  • 2-3 Italian fresh sausages (or any other fresh kind)
  • 500 g or 1 lb tomatoes (blanched, peeled and chopped)
  • 1/4 of a large green pepper (finely sliced)
  • 1/4 of a large red pepper (finely sliced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (smashed and finely chopped)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • basil
  • oregano
  • parsley

1. Cook gnocchi in lightly salted water until they start coming to the surface. Strain, rinse and set aside.

2. Cut fresh sausage into 1/2 inch pieces and fry in a pan with a little olive oil until done and nicely browned. Remove the sausage pieces from the pan and set aside.

3. In the same frying pan saute garlic and peppers for few minutes on a low temperature. Add chopped tomatoes and 1/4 cup water and simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce starts thickening. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

4. Now add sausage to the sauce, chopped herbs and gnocchi. Mix until combined and serve.

Yum, Yum, Yum! 🙂

Mediterranean Potatoes and Swiss Chard

This is a wonderful side dish that goes well with fish or any sea food. I’ve tried it first time when I was just a little girl vacationing with my parents at the Adriatic coast of Croatia. It is very simple and easy to make and so rich in flavor. Couple of years ago when we traveled to Bosnia, we also visited Croatian coast and had some excellent fish and potatoes with swiss chard (Blitva – in Croatian). The other day I was looking through our summer vacation photos and just had the urge to cook blitva with some fish.

Island of Pag, Croatia [ this handsome man in the picture is my husband 🙂 ]

Mediterranean Potatoes and Swiss Chard

Serves about 4 – 6 people (excellent side dish to fish or sea food)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs (750 g) potatoes
  • 1 lb (500 g) Swiss chard
  • 3 – 4 tbsp olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

Preparation:

1. Peel potatoes and cut them into bite-size cubes. Boil (not too soft) and strain them. Set aside.

2. Clean and wash Swiss chard, remove the stems by folding leaves into half and cutting them out. Cut leaves into 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) ribbons. Boil them for about 5 minutes in salted water. Strain. (If you want a mashed potatoes effect, reserve about 1/2 cup of boiling water and add to sauteed chard)

3. Crush and finelly chop garlic. Lightly heat olive oil, add garlic and sautee just until fragrant. Now add Swiss chard, sautee for few more minutes and add potatoes. Spice with salt and fresh ground black pepper. That is all.

Enjoy with some salt water fish or other sea food!

Turkish Pide Bread

For a few weeks now, my son has been asking me to make Turkish Pide Bread. He calls it Turkish Pizza. In many ways pide is similar to pizza, with a somewhat different taste. Honestly, I like it better than pizza. This recipe yields 6 quite large pide breads. It requires some time to make it, and I got a bit tired, but seeing my son so happy to have one of his favorite foods, it was well worth it! 🙂

Pide dough:

  • 4 1/2 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) warm water
  • 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil

Filling:

  • 1/2 lb (250 g) tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 long red sweet pepper or red bell pepper
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper
  • 3/4 lb (350 g) ground beef
  • 1 TBSP Vegeta spice (not in original recipe, but I use it)
  • salt, pepper, cumin to taste
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 6 thick slices of Swiss cheese (or any cheese you like)

Preparation:

1. First prepare the dough. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over the warm water, cover and let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes. When bubbly, pour into flour and mix well. Add salt and olive oil and form a ball of dough. Let it raise for about 30 – 45 minutes.

2. While dough is resting, prepare filling. Put 3 tbsp of olive oil into a pan. Place tomatoes in boiling water for a minute, peel them and coarsely chop them. Slice onions into thin rings, chop red and green bell pepper, saute it in olive oil shortly. Add ground beef, add all the spices and tomatoes and saute only until beef gets just brown. Set aside.

3. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long oval shape. Fold the sides inward and then twist one end to the right and the other end to the left. Put them onto a greased large baking pan. Place a slice of cheese in each pide.

4. Divide filling into 6 equal amount and put on the top of each pide. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Herbed Butter

It has been unusually warm in the Midwest the past couple of weeks. Somehow we jumped from winter right into summer. Crocuses and daffodils usually bloom in April, but this year they are blooming right now. It is not that I am complaining, I’m really loving it. 🙂 People are out and about, walking their pups, cleaning their yards and just enjoying the outdoors. You can’t miss the inviting smell of grilling either. It is that time of the year when you can get out of the kitchen, fire up your grill and enjoy good food and conversation. As my preparation for the grilling season, I made some herbed butter today. It really goes with any kind of meat, and possibilities (as of which herbs to use) are endless, just depending on your taste.

Herbed Butter               

 Printable recipe

  • 2 sticks (226 g) butter (room temperature)
  • ½ tsp salt (exclude salt if salted butter)
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped basil
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme

*** Choice of herbs is all yours, You can mix and match what you like the most.

Whip the butter with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add salt, pepper and garlic and mix for about one minute. Add all the herbs and mix them into butter by hand.

I usually store Herbed Butter two ways:

1. I take plastic wrap and form the butter into a log. I freeze it and then when needed take out of the freezer and cut into ¼ in slices and top the grilled meat with it.

2. Other way is to fill the butter into a cake decorating bag with the star tip and make individual stars on a flat surface covered with parchment paper. Freeze the stars and then store them in a plastic container in the freezer.

My Boeuf Bourguignon Adventure

For quite some time I’ve been thinking about making the famous Boeuf Bourguignon. This Christmas I received Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” as a present from my husband and kids. I was really delighted to have this book! The first recipe I read was Boeuf Bourguignon! I was ready to take on the challenge and make this delicious dish.

Finally, about four or five weekends ago, I decided I had enough time to make it. On Saurday I only managed to make the beef stock since I was baking and didn’t finish in time to do more. So, I decided that Sunday was The Day! I woke up quite late, but managed to make it to the store, despite the ‘lake effect snow’ and the freezing winds. I bought all the missing ingredients and then I remembered that I only had white wine in the house and the recipe called for a good red wine. My problem was that you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays in Indiana. It really is nonsense, but it is a law and it supposed to be followed I guess… Sooo, determined to make the Boeuf Bourguignon THAT DAY, I got into my car and headed toward Michigan (where you can, as in any other normal place, buy alcohol on Sunday). Luckily, Michigan isn’t too far from here, just a few miles North, but the whirling snow and strong winds were starting to make this a real challenge. Oh my God, this Boeuf Bourguignon better be good!

Finally, I made it to a small liqour store just a few miles accros the Michigan State line. I thought they might not even sell any good red wines… As I was walking toward the door, in a split second my legs went under me in and I fell on my back. Ughh, #@!!& the Bouef Bourguignon! My behind was hurting soooo bad! Well, I thought since I made it this far, I might as well walk in and get the stupid wine! Amazingly, for such a small liquor shop, they had quite a nice selection of imported wines, so I decided to go for Chianti.

The drive back home was just as much fun. I could barely sit on my butt, but I was more than determined to cook this thing! As soon as I came home and started cooking, I was feeling much better ! About 5 hours later we had probably one of the top ten dishes I’ve ever had. The beef was tender, the wine sauce was superb and the whole dish was just very rich and flavorful. No regrets here!

Boeuf Bourguignon printable recipe

Boeuf Bourguignon (By Julia Child)

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep
  • Slotted spoon
  • 6 ounces (170 g) bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
  • 3 pounds (1.4 kg) lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups (700 ml) full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
  • 2 to 3 cups (500 – 700 ml) brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • Crumbled bay leaf
  • Blanched bacon rind
  • 18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
  • 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
  • Parsley sprigs

Directions

Remove rind from bacon, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers
very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

Prepare onions and mushrooms

Braised onions

  • 18 – 24 peeled pearl onions
  • 1 ½ tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp oil
  • ½ cup beef stock (or bouillon, red wine or water)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • ½ bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp thyme

Directions:

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onions andd saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown evenly. Be careful not to break the skins.

Pour in the liquid and season to taste. Wrap the herbs in cheesecloth and add the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and serve them as they are or in another recipe.

Sautéed Mushrooms

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1tbsp oil
  • ½ lb fresh mushrooms, washed, well dried, left whole if small or quartered if large

Directions:

Place a non-stick skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see that the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add the mushrooms.

Toss and shake the pan for 4 – 5 minutes. During their sauté the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface and the mushrooms will begin to brown.

As soon as they have brown lightly remove from the heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For immediate serving: Covet the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Bon Appetite!