Monthly Mystery Munchies #33: Bouef Bourguignon

I love a recipe that calls for an entire bottle of wine! February’s Monthly Mystery Munchies between myself and Ann from Grubbs ‘n Critters is beef and bacon, two ingredients synonymous with bouef bourguignon. It’s a mouthful – English please! Beef Burgundy is a traditional French stew that’s usually cooked in a Dutch oven. However, that’s one thing I don’t have, so let’s make another plan: Crockpot! Fry some ingredients, place in a crockpot (slow-cooker), and let it stew for 6-8 hours. Glory be!

I fried the first six ingredients in batches using the same skillet, transferred to the crockpot, poured an enormous amount of wine into it, with a hint of beef stock* and let is stew, let it stew, let it steeeew. Two hours before the end, I removed the lid to let the booze evaporate, and added the mushrooms an hour before the time was up. Y’all, I’m so into this recipe. The Husband said “I’m so glad this is February’s blog challenge”. He approves. My life is complete. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around, “happy wife, happy life”? Well regardless, this one was a hit!

To see what the lovely, dear Ann produced this month, please do yourself a favour and hop over to Grubbs n Critters. Also, if you’re into jokes, anecdotes about raising kids, and life in general, she’s your gal. This is our 33rd monthly recipe challenge, and Ann has really, impressively, stepped it up a few dozen notches. She uses interesting ingredients, she thinks ‘out the box’, and every month I eagerly await her recipe.

Bouef Bourguignon

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Supplies:

 

200g bacon, chopped
1kg stewing beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons white flour
4 baby onions, peeled
8 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
500g baby potatoes, unpeeled and whole
2 teaspoons minced garlic
50g tomato paste
1 herb bouguet (3 bay leaves, 5 sprigs parsely and 5 sprigs thyme)
3 cups red wine blend
1 cup beef stock (list name)
400g white button mushrooms, cut into quarters
Salt and cracked black pepper for seasoning

Serving: 1 cup rice (white or basmati), or a baguette.

Making it Happen:

In your skillet heat one tablepsoon of olive oil on medium and fry the chopped bacon for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Don’t clean the skillet.
In the bacon juices, add another tablespoon of olive oil and on medium-high heat, place the cut beef into the skillet. You would probably have to fry the beef in two batches. Sprinkle one tablespoon of flour over the beef per batch. Seer the beef on both sides until lightly brown, about two minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
Deglaze the skillet with a quarter cup of red wine.
In another tablespoon of olive oil, add the garlic and fry the onions, carrots and potatoes for five minutes on medium-high. Add the tomato paste after four minutes. Set aside.
Fry the mushrooms until cooked. Cover and set aside for later.
Transfer all ingredients into the slow-cooker. Start with the beef and bacon at the bottom, then add your onions, carrots, and potatoes.
Pour in 750ml/3 glasses of red wine plus one cup beef stock. Add the herb bouquet, season with salt and pepper. Do not stir.
Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes. Adjust heat to low and simmer for another 7.5 hours. Two hours before the end, remove the lid. One hour before the end, add the mushrooms.
Do not stir.
Serve with rice (I used basmati), or a baguette.

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Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon (Obviousy)

Split pea soup 6

This, my friends, is the shizzz. This creamy, bacon-y pea soup is the only pea soup you’ll ever need! And need I do. I need this in my life. Regularly.

Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy peasy juice squeezy
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Supplies:

Split pea soup 1200g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and thinly sliced
2 cups green split peas, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
250ml cream
Sea salt to taste, reserve until the end
Freshly cracked black pepper
Parsley to garnish
Fresh bread, toasted

Making It Happen:

Split pea soup 21. In a large pot, fry the onions and garlic in butter on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the onions are soft.

 

 

Split pea soup 32. Add the split peas and paprika and stir well. Pour the stock and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid partially covering the pot, for minutes 30 minutes(check your package instructions) until the peas are tender.

 

Split pea soup 43. While the peas are simmering, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry in the canola oil until slightly crispy. Set aside, reserving the bacon juices. Once the peas are tender, remove the pot from the heat and blitz the soup, either in a food processor, or with a handheld blender. Return to the heat, add the lemon juice, cream and bacon, including the bacon juices. Simmer for a further 5 minutes until the soup is well-heated.

Split pea soup 54. At this point, taste the soup and season with salt if necessary, and pepper. The bacon will make it salty, so it’s important not to add salt until this stage. Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted bread.

You can refrigerate this soup in advance for up to two days.

 

Marvellous Macaroni Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes

Mac and cheese 12Mmmac ‘n cheese is the ultimate comfort food. This recipe is creamy, cheesy, tomato-y and bacon-y. Right? Let me break it down: macaroni pasta drenched in cheese sauce, mixed with bacon and tomatoes, sprinkled with spices and a hint of a tang with Worcestershire sauce and hot English mustard, and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb layer… Phew, what a mouthful! This gooey meal will leave you wholly satisfied and completely replete, yet still eyeing out the leftovers (if there is any!).

 

Marvellous Macaroni Cheese

  • Servings: 6
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Supplies:

Mac n cheese 1500g macaroni
200g bacon, cut and fried
500g plum tomatoes, 2 set aside, chopped and fried
300g white Cheddar, grated
1 cup cream
1 cup 2% milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon English mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons, set aside
2 tablespoons Canola/sunflower oil

Making it happen:

mac and cheese 141. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chopped bacon until just cooked. Remove from the pan and fry the chopped tomatoes, bar two, in the bacon juices until soft. Add the bacon to the tomatoes.

 

 

Mac and cheese 32. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Cook the macaroni per the package instructions and get started on your cheese sauce: heat the butter in a saucepan on medium. Once melted, add the flour and whisk into a roux. Add the mustard, milk, nutmeg and paprika, whisk and allow to thicken for about 5 minutes, then splash in the Worcester sauce. Add the grated cheese, stirring until it’s melted.

Mac and cheese 63. Your mac should be cooked now – drain it and toss it into a large casserole dish. Add the bacon and tomatoes, pan juices included, and pour in the sauce, stirring well to spread it evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the remaining tomatoes and place it on top of the mac.

 

Mac n cheese 154. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top and drizzle 2 tablespoons of butter over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

 

Mac n cheese 145. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tip: undo jeans!

Gnocchi Alfredo with Chicken, Bacon and Mushrooms

Gnocchi Alfredo 7This recipe sounds shmancy and a mission. It’s not. While it will impress the crap out of your guests, or just you, it’s not difficult at all. This is the gist: fry stuff. Add cream. Mix stuff. Bake. Drool.

In this house, we are obsessed with gnocchi. And cheese. I blame myself for getting The Husband into it. We all have our crosses to bear. A few weeks ago we went out for dinner and The Husband had penne alfredo and mentioned, in passing, that I should try to recreate it, but with gnocchi. What’s that? A challenge? A pasta challenge? I’m in. I was extremely disappointed when a lot of recipes used pre-bought alfredo sauce. Really? Do you have any idea how easy it it? Don’t tell your guests, because as far as they’re concerned, based on the taste, you slaved for several hours. But really folks, it’s one of the least complicated and most yummiest recipes you’ll ever make. You’re welcome.

Gnocchi Alfredo

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Gnocchi Alfredo 11 package gnocchi (500g)
500g chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 pack shoulder bacon, sliced
400g chopped mushrooms
4 crushed and sliced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour for dredging
250ml cream
Fresh parsley + more for garnishing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
300g cheddar, grated
300g mozzarella, grated
Salt and pepper

Making it happen:

Gnocchi Alfredo 21. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks, toss them in the flour and coat thoroughly. Heat the butter on medium and fry the chicken pieces for 5 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 43. Return the bacon and mushrooms to the pan, add the cream and 2 stalks parsley and simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 64. Heat your oven to 190°C (375°F). In the meantime, cook the gnocchi per package instructions.
Place the chicken, bacon and mushroom mixture in a large dish and toss with cheddar. Sprinkle mozzarella on top and bake for 20 minutes.

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 8

 

Chicken Florentine

If you’re looking for a new favourite meal, this is your guy. It’s dish-intensive but sooooo worth it! Hopefully you have a dishwasher, or kids, because kids need responsibilities and dishes need washing!

I don’t know where to start when describing this dish. Bacon. Chicken. Two different types of cheese. Creamy mushroom soup and extra cream! It’s a taste-fest like no other. The Husband immediately informed me that this is his new number one. I never thought I’d see the day. I mean, dude would live on lasange if he could, but along came this delight and knocked it off its top spot. They say change is good… except when The Husband asks you to make it again two days later!

Chicken Florentine

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Chicken Florentine 1Supplies:

  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • 200g bacon, cut up and cooked
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 500g spinach, par cooked
  • 400g chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tin condensed creamy mushroom soup
  • 1 cup cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 200g grated cheddar
  • 200g grated mozzarella
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Making it happen:

Chicken Florentine 21. Cut up the bacon and fry in 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, until cooked, about 10 minutes. Set aside but keep the juices in the pan.

 

 

Chicken Florentine 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks. Dredge them through flour, shaking off the excess. In the same pan, fry the chicken pieces on medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for another 5 mins. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Chicken Florentine 93. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, par cook the spinach, just enough until it softens slightly. Spinach, when uncooked, takes up a large amount of space, and you’re only par cooking it until it shrinks.

 

Chicken Florentine 84. Preheat your oven to 200°C (mine takes 10 minutes to heat up to that temperature, making this the perfect time to switch it on). Pour the condensed mushroom soup and cream into a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the Italian herbs and lemon juice and stir well. Add the cheddar and stir until melted.

Chicken Florentine 65. In a deep dish, spray cooking spray at the bottom and layer the spinach across the dish. Place the mushrooms over the spinach and pour half the sauce over the mushrooms. Spread the chicken pieces on top and pour the remaining sauce over the chicken, making sure you cover the entire dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve with rice or pasta.

Chicken Florentine 7

 

Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pies

It’s cold and wet in Cape Town so pies. Is there really any better meal than fresh and crispy just-out-of-the-oven homemade pies on a chilly winter’s day? I’ve been making this recipe for about five years and it’s a keeper. I use individual pie dishes as opposed to one large dish and I get four individual pies with a little bit left over, which I stuff into the remaining pastry and bake for The Husband’s lunch.

The aromatic flavour of thyme coupled with the buttery chicken is a win-win. When you add these ingredients together, the creamy aroma will not go unnoticed and the bacon and mushrooms finish the dish off perfectly. It’s a filling dish that will leave you satisfied and warm!

Servings: 4     Prep time: 20 minutes     Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes

Chicken bacon mushroom pies ingredients200g streaky bacon, sliced
500g chicken, cut into inch-size pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
400g chopped white mushrooms
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
400g ready rolled puff pastry
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs for painting the pastry

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 2 (2)In a large pan on medium heat, fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms have browned, about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 2.5In a bowl, sprinkle the paprika and thyme into the flour and coat the cut chicken thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 3 (2)Melt the butter in a large pot and add the contents of the bowl. Fry on medium heat until the chicken changes colour, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken and stir frequently to prevent it from sticking.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 5 (2)Add the bacon and mushrooms to the chicken, pour in the stock and extra water and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 4While the food is simmering, preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Roll the puff pastry out on the counter, sprinkling some flour underneath to prevent it from sticking. Measure your pie dishes by placing them on the pastry and outlining them. Cut out the four pieces and stretch them, if necessary, covering the sides.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 6 (2)Fill the pie dishes ⅔ full and cover the top with pastry, extending it over the sides. You may need to use a little bit of water to stick the sides down onto the dish.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 7 (3)Beat 2 egg yolks and paint over the pastry. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the pies are golden brown on top. Let them stand for about 5 to 10 minutes as they will be very hot inside.

I was not trying to be romantic with the candles – we had a power failure just as the pies came out of the oven!

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 8 (2)

 

Tomato Bredie

Right now my butt is planted firmly on the couch with the TV on the background. Something about a family with 18 kids. My very first thought is “how on Earth do they feed everyone?”. No, really, HOW? Can you imagine cooking for 20 people? That’s a small village. It’s apt, though, that this show is on at the same time as I was planning to blog about this recipe.

Food never goes to waste in my house. Ne-verrr. The Husband is a human vacuum. It’s really quite amazing, his dedication is admirable. There have been many occasions when I’ve though we’d have considerable leftovers, only to wake up the next day and find empty bowls and containers scattered around the kitchen. However, with this tomato bredie, we did actually manage to live off this food for the next three days. This made me very happy as bredie only gets better with time.

I’ve played around with this recipe for a few months and finally feel like it’s blog-worthy.  Bredie is a quintessential South African stew of Malay origins and I feel like it’s only right that I finally post a traditional dish, this being my favourite. I used beef roast instead of knuckles or lamb, but you can use mutton or lamb. Beef is my favourite meat and I love how tender it is when slow-cooked for several hours but there are some who would fiercely disagree and insist upon only using lamb. You can do either, it’s entirely your preference.

Bredie 1

Ingredients:

1.5kg beef roast
200g bacon, cut into strips
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
100g tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup beef stock
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
500g baby tomatoes
8 potatoes, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Bredie 2Cut the beef into inch-long pieces. Heat oil in a large frying pan and on medium heat, lightly brown the beef on all sides taking care not overdo it. You will probably need to do this in two batches. Remove the beef from the pan and add the bacon, frying until cooked.

 

 

 

Bredie 3In a large pot, heat the butter on medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Fry until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Bredie 4Pour in the stock and add the tomato paste, tinned and fresh tomatoes, paprika, cinnamon, parsley and thyme and and fry for another 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Bredie 5Add the beef and bacon to the pot, adding their juices too. Add the potatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Cover and bring to a gentle boil, turn down and simmer, gently and uncovered, for three hours. Season as desired. This dish is best when it’s rested overnight or for at least several hours. It’s ideal to cook the day before or put it in the slow-cooker overnight. Serve with basmati rice.