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I still believe there is nothing more comforting than good home cooked food. It is part ritual, a repetition of process, and part remembrance of food that made you feel good growing up. Today was another perfect example of this. While I was making breakfast, which eventually became brunch because of my little side adventure to the grocery store while starting it, I decided to prepare everything I needed for a good hearty classic, beef burgundy, offbeat style.

2 $5.00 packages of “stew beef”
1 small can of tomato paste
1 bottle burgundy wine, you’ll use all but the one glass you drink
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 package sliced mushrooms, what ever’s available in the local grocery
1-2 tablespoons flour
salt
pepper
thyme
bay leaves

Salt and pepper the beef and then lightly coat with flour. Brown in batches until deep golden. Saute the sliced vegetables, and then add in the tomato paste. This part is important. Keep mixing the tomato paste every few seconds to brown it consistently. You want it to stick to the bottom but not burn. Keep doing this for several minutes until the entire mixture is a deep umber. It will smell amazingly sweet and lose the sharp tomato smell.

Add the beef back in and then fill ‘er up with the wine. Bring to a simmer and then put it away in a 300 degree oven for the next several hours (today it took three to get it tender and perfect).

Bread

The bread today was simple. It started with 300 grams of flour, 3 grams of salt, 4 grams of yeast, and 200 grams of luke-warm water. I mixed it until it just came together, then let it sit for a few minutes while tending to brunch and dinner. I came back to it and folded it gently until smooth. About 2 hours later I folded it down again and let double a second time. The final rise was in a floured towel lined basket while the dutch oven preheated with the oven to 450 degrees. 30 minutes in the dutch oven covered and another 15 uncovered yielded a perfect loaf of rustic, crusty bread that was able to stand up to the beef burgundy.

Brunch, by the way, were “eggs in pots” as I’d seen on the fun Rachel Khoo show, a great new unpretentious look at cooking French. It’s where I found the inspiration for this version of beef burgundy as well.

Enjoy