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What’s Cooking: Comfort food

By Lucy McCullough

In March, I still dream about comfort foods. Today the comfort food that comes to mind is a hot, bubbling stew. One of our family favorites is Beef Bourguignon, an elegant French stew. It does take a while to cook, but is well worth the effort. I like to cook more than we will consume for the evening meal, allowing for an easy meal preparation the next night or later in the week. It tastes even better the next day.

Beef Bourguignon 

(4 servings)

5 medium onions, sliced

½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes

¾ cup beef bouillon*

1 ½ cups red Burgundy

¼ teaspoon crushed marjoram

¼ teaspoon crushed thyme

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tsp. salt (optional)

1 ½ tbsp. flour **

Cook and stir onions and mushrooms in hot olive oil until onion is tender; drain on paper towels. Brown meat in same skillet, adding more oil as necessary. Remove from heat. Sprinkle seasonings over meat. Mix flour and bouillon. Pour into skillet. Heat to boiling, stir constantly for 1 minute. Stir in the Burgundy. Cover; simmer until meat is tender (1 ½ to 2 hours). The liquid should always just cover the meat. (If necessary, add a little more bouillon and Burgundy—1 part bouillon to 2 parts Burgundy.) Gently stir in onions and mushrooms, cook uncovered 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve in large soup bowls. Sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired.

*The beef bouillon may be made by dissolving 1 beef bouillon cube or 1 tsp. of beef base into ¾ cup of boiling water. You can also use canned beef broth.

** Gluten free option: replace flour with 2¼ tsp. arrowroot (starch/flour)

French bread is good for dipping into the sauce.

“Let’s eat!”

Did you know: Arrowroot (starch/flour) comes from an herb rootstock. It is used as a thickener and in gluten free baking. As a substitute thickener for cornstarch, use at a one to one ratio. (One cornstarch = two flour)

Please join the Observer in welcoming our new recipe columnist, Lucy McCullough. She will share the role with Williston resident Anna Robertson, who begins March 19. Ginger Isham will continue to submit recipes every other week. Lucy McCullough and her husband, Jim, started Catamount Outdoor Family Center on the family farm in 1978 and have been operating Catamount’s B&B since 1996. A former cook at Catamount’s Tavern, she helps manage the farm and works part-time as Catamount’s CFO and office manager.