I’m still dreaming about my Christmas Day Beef Bourgogne I made in my little kitchen in Paris. It was so amazingly delicious that I made it again when I got home. At home, it was horrible! The second attempt was better, but not even close yet. A perfect beef Bourgogne, I’ve learned is about the quality of the ingredients as much as it is the recipe.
So I searched for the best ingredients I could find. I discovered the best beef from my local butcher, hung to perfection - it’s only $4.99 a pound, how can you not go for quality at that price! The second time I made it, it was much better than the first but simply not quite right yet. So learning from the beef, I went further.
The butcher in Paris recommended a bit of cheek in my Bourgogne and it was marvelous. So my local butcher got me cheek. Instead of regular, off the shelf flour, I had some stone ground all natural flour from Morningstar Mill in Thorold. I found little pearl onions at the market and went back to using regular white button mushrooms.
I’m not sure what the key ingredient was by OMG the Bourgogne was as spectacular as what I made in Paris! Perfecto! The sauce was sinfully rich, smooth as silk and elegantly full of flavour. The meat melted in hearty flavours while the little pearl onions creamed on the palate like silk. Aughhh, finally a dish to swoon over.
The entire experience reminded me of a time when a beautiful kitchen store graciously volunteered to make a dish out of my cookbook during my book signing. It was the Pesto Pan Chicken, a delicious and easy one skillet meal. When I arrived, they shared some concerns so I took a look. It looked so horrible I didn’t want to taste it. I suspected they added too much liquid because the entire dish was swimming. I saw no brown searing marks on the chicken either. Now I know that the chicken was injected with water that was released when cooked. The cook at the time didn’t know enough to drain the skillet of the chicken juices. You see, when you brown meat, it acquires delicious flavours, when you boil meat, it becomes bland and tough. When I made the recipe, I used chicken from the butcher so my recipe turned out very yummy.
So here’s my lesson for 2012. Buy the best ingredients you can from people who are experts in what they do. Second guess all recipe ingredients and make sure they’re the best you can buy. If you don’t, you're leaving yourself vulnerable. I'm raising my fork full of Bourgogne to toast the best quality Ontario ingredients!