A little over ten years ago a popular French cookbook was published in English. I KNOW HOW TO COOK by Ginette Mathiot’s has been the best-selling cookbook in France for three generations. The book first published in l932 has been regularly revised and updated. This book has been an essential fixture on the counters of French kitchens for over 75 years. You could call it the definitive cookbook for French home cooking.
You’ll find the all the French basics, but what I appreciated was the unusual; recipes for Barley Sugar, Ash Leaf beer, Cuissot de Sanglier (hindquarter of wild boar) and Becasse Rotie Sauce Crème (Roast woodcock in cream sauce). It makes terrific bedside reading.
The recipes are brief and concise. But here’s the codicil. The author requires one to have enough general knowledge to navigate the recipes. For example; some of the cake recipes don’t give exact pan sizes. So be aware. Be brave. You won’t be disappointed.
When the cold winds of November have you longing for something hearty and deeply satisfying this so very French recipe from I KNOW HOW TO COOK is absolutely perfect.
BOEUF BOURGUIGNON (Beef Bourguignon)
Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 2 ½ hours. Serves 6
1 tablespoon oil, 3 oz. pearl onions or shallots. 3 ½ ounces small bacon cubes, 1 pound 8 ½ oz. stewing beef, cut into pieces, Scant ¼ cup flour. 1 ¼ cups any stock, hot. 1 ¼ cups red wine. 1 bouquet garni. Salt and pepper. 3 ½ oz. mushrooms, peeled and chopped.
In a heavy pan over medium heat, heat the oil and pan-fry the onions and bacon cubes until browned. Remove them, add the meat and brown it on all sides. Sprinkle with the flour, stir until browned. Scrap up the brown bits in the bottom of the pan then add the hot stock. Mix well to combine. Add the bacon cubes, onions, wine and bouquet garni, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer gently on low heat for 2 hours, then add the mushrooms (see chef’s note below) and cook for 30 minutes more. Bon Appetit
Chef’s Note: The recipe is according to the book. I suggest when you add the hot stock you scrap up the brown bits in the pan. Before I added the mushrooms I sautéed them in a little olive oil and butter. Delicious