The influence of French cuisine has always been very predominant in my culture. Although in Québec we have our own traditional recipes, it wasn’t uncommon to eat classic French dishes such as Escargot au beurre à l’ail, Pain au Chocolat, Vichyssoise, Chateaubriand, Coquilles Saint Jacques, terrine, Crêpes Suzette, Rillettes, Navarin d’Agneau, Chocolate Eclairs, Bourride and so on…
One dish my mother made every year that was well received with so much enthusiasm was her Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Bourguignon). Oh my! The aroma floating in the air from the beautiful cubed beef slowly cooked for hours in a dark rich wine sauce with fresh herbs and spices, made everyones mouth water with anticipation! In our family we loved to serve this scrumptious dish over creamy mashed potatoes with crusty bread…
Every year it seems that David and I entertain more and more. There are soooooo many recipes that I created with or without his input and nonetheless I love to go back to my roots and serve what means the most to me… my family’s own traditions! Growing up in the suburbs of Montréal, I had a pretty good life as a child. The only missing link was that we were so far away from the rest of our family. Both of my parents grew up in the region of Québec city. Back then, the 3 ½ hours of driving seemed like a 5 day trip. For some reason, going to visit family was an adventure. When I was younger, I remember going often but as years went by, we barely went there therefore my brother and I never really connected with our cousins … we were the “outsiders”! Although some of them tried slightly to bind over the years, the “deep” connection won’t ever be there… sad to say!
But let’s not drift away from the initial subject… Boeuf Bourguignon! Oh lala! My mother served this dish on very special occasions and the Holidays were one of them. One time, we went to Québec (okay it was Lévis which is on the South shore of the capital city) to visit the family. My grandmother Juliette (on my mother’s side) was an incredible cook as well as a talented musician and an extremely smart woman. She had us over for dinner and served her Boeuf Bourguignon. I was surprised about the taste as it was slightly different from my mother’s version. When I had a chance to ask my mother why hers is not quite like my grandmothers, she replied that hers needed a little improvement. Was she cocky? Maybe or maybe not … I did the same with her recipe… lol!
If you compare my recipe to my mother’s, many ingredients have been added. Now if you compare mine to my granny, it might be a little closer but at the same time pretty far apart when it comes to ingredients. I believe the recipe hasn’t changed much until three generations ago… thanks to a few stubborn women who thought their way was the better way… mine included!
With a few changes (or maybe more than I think it is), here’s a recipe from my family’s ancestors who brought their culture to the “New World”. Leaving France and crossing the very big pond separating Europe to Canada, my ancestors brought something very important along with them… their traditions! Because of them, I’m sharing a part of “me” with you, somehow bringing my culture and traditions to you during this special time of the year which is the Holidays! From the bottom of my heart, please let me pass on a very precious piece of me… my roots!
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
- Frehsly ground black pepper, to taste and divided
- 1 1/2 lbs. side round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp. butter, divided
- 4 slices bacon, cut in small pieces
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, or more if needed
- 3/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup carrots, sliced
- 2 large cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 1/2 cups dry red wine of your choice
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 herb bouquet which is 1 bay leaf and 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 pkg (about 15 onions) small pear onions
- 10 medium white button mushrooms, halved
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
FOOTNOTE: If the sauce is too thick, add broth. If the sauce is too thin, uncover and mix 3 tsp. cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water.
KITCHEN TOOLS: The Regency Spice Bags for Bouquet Garnis with Drawstring Tops (set of 4) can be purchased in the "SHOP" section of Club Foody.