From Beef Stew to Boeuf Bourguignon

January 3, 2014

Author: Gloria Kobrin

For 60 years, my parents employed a wonderful woman named Annie Mae. In fact, I wrote an article about her for this site last year. While Annie Mae was not my biological Grandmother, she was my Grandmother in many ways I wish my real Grandmothers had lived long enough to be. Annie Mae listened to me whine. She introduced the world of “Soaps” to me; watching in secret because my Mother would have been furious at us both. Most importantly, Annie Mae let me hang out with her in the kitchen and watch her cook-and eventually, help her cook. Amongst the many recipes that she made that we all loved and wish we had written down, was Beef Stew. Chunks of soft meat in thick gravy with carrots and potatoes- YUM!

While Beef Stew is considered as American as Apple Pie, there are variations of it in every cuisine. My parents gave my brother and me the opportunity to travel with them when we were teenagers. It was in Paris, that I was introduced to Boeuf Bourguignon. This was Beef Stew of a different kind. After I was married, I turned to Julia Child’s books to learn about French cooking. I took her recipe from Mastering The Art of French Cooking and worked on it to make it kosher. Success-my Boeuf Bourguignon was delicious. More recently, I’ve gone over many of the recipes in which I used a great deal of margarine and substituted much of it with oil. In the case of Boeuf Bourguignon, I brown the beef cubes in a very hot pre-heated t oven with no extra fat at all. Not only is it kosher but more healthy as well. I have no doubt that you will enjoy this recipe as much as we do.


4 pounds lean chuck beef-cut into 1 inch cubes

4 ½ cups dry red wine (you’ll need 2 bottles)

2 cups beef stock (fresh/boxed)

2 bay leaves

2 large garlic cloves

1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon crushed thyme

½ teaspoon crushed marjoram

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ pounds white mushrooms

One 14-16 ounce bag frozen white onions-defrosted

herb bouquet: 2 parsley sprigs, 1bay leaf, ½ teaspoon thyme, 6 peppercorns tied in cheesecloth

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons non-dairy margarine-softened

6 tablespoons flour


Large roasting pan-tin foil pan is fine

Large skillet

10-12 inch Dutch oven

Slotted spoon




The combination of red wine, vegetables, and spices turn the humble beef cube into something spectacular.

Prep time: 45 min.   Braising: 2 ½ -3 hours   Mushrooms & Onions; 30 min.   Finishing: 30 min.

Preheat oven to: 425 F.

Trim beef cubes of all loose fat, rinse and pat dry.

Arrange beef cubes in a single layer in roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1½ tablespoons flour. Place pan in oven and cook beef for 10 minutes. Shake pan vigorously and sprinkle remaining 1½ teaspoons flour over beef. Cook for 8 minutes longer. Remove pan from oven. Reduce oven temperature to: 325 F.

Using a slotted spoon, remove browned beef cubes from pan and put into Dutch oven. Reserve liquid from pan.

Pour 4 cups wine over beef cubes. Add just enough beef stock to cover meat. Refrigerate  remaining stock.

Crush garlic cloves and add with herbs, spices, and tomato paste to meat. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and place in lower level of oven. Cook 2 ½ to 3 hours or until meat is very tender. Check casserole 2 or 3 times to be sure that a simmer is being maintained. While meat is cooking, prepare mushrooms and onions.

Wipe mushrooms clean and quarter them. Cut them in sixths or eighths if they are very large.. Heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium high heat in skillet. Add mushrooms. Toss quickly so that they brown lightly. Remove mushrooms from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave mushroom liquid in the pan.

Add remaining ½ cup wine, herb bouquet, reserved beef gravy and onions to skillet. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove onions with slotted spoon and add to mushrooms.

When beef is done: remove from liquid and cool. Mix beef with onions and mushrooms. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Chill gravy separately-either several hours or overnight- until fat has congealed.  Remove fat.

Cream 3 tablespoons margarine and remaining flour. Bring gravy to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Whisk flour and margarine paste into gravy stirring vigorously until sauce has slightly thickened. This treatment of the sauce not only thickens it but also gives it a beautiful sheen. Return meat, mushrooms, and onions to gravy. Simmer until beef is hot. Serve Boeuf Bourguignon piping hot with rice or noodles.

Note: This recipe gets even better when prepared one or two days in advance.

This post was submitted by Gloria Kobrin.

Posted in Main Courses

Tags: beef, wine, mushrooms, onions




Shiitake Mushroom and Barley Soup

December 26, 2012

Author: Akasha Richmond

Akasha is a self-trained chef and artisan-style baker who has been cater­ing events in Los Angeles and other parts of the coun­try for over twenty years. She began her pro­fes­sional career at the Golden Temple, a now defunct but once pop­u­lar veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant in Los Angeles. It was in this kitchen that Akasha dis­cov­ered her pas­sion for mak­ing deli­cious dishes with good-for-you ingre­di­ents. After the Golden Temple she became Michael Jackson’s per­sonal and con­cert tour chef. AKASHA is her first restau­rant ven­ture, the result of a vision she has had for many years.

Her cook­book HOLLYWOOD DISH includes tales of Hollywood’s 100-year pas­sion for organic foods and healthy lifestyles and sto­ries of her favorite cook­ing expe­ri­ences: mak­ing hol­i­day din­ners for Billy Bob Thornton, cater­ing par­ties for Pierce Brosnan, pro­duc­ing events at the Sundance Film Festival, and work­ing as a pri­vate chef for Barbra Streisand.

She lends her time and exper­tise to groups such as Share Our Strength, Environmental Media Association, Common Threads and Pediatric Aids. She has appeared on The Food Network (The Best Thing I Ever Ate), Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Planet Green, and nation­wide news programs.


2 cups water

2 ounces dried porcini or other dried mushroom

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped

2 leeks, pale green and white parts only, cleaned, and finely chopped

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems wiped clean, trimmed and sliced

2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

1 large carrot, diced

1 large parsnip, diced

1/2 cup whole barley

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish


Bring the water to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms, turn off the heat and cover.

Let sit for 20 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft. Drain, reserving the liquid, and finely chop the mushrooms.

Heat the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallots, and salt. Cook for

about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and fragrant. Lower the heat to medium, add the

leeks, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the shiitakes and the soaked porcini and cook another 5-8

minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are well cooked.

Add the stock, celery, carrots, parsnips, barley, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for one hour or until the barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

Sauteed Chicken Livers

April 19, 2014

Author: A Klonsky


Chicken Livers




Red Sweet Peppers


Fresh Ginger

Soy Sauce

Dry Mustard

Pinch of Oregano or Thyme


Saute onion, garlic & shallots until golden

Add peppers & mushrooms

Add chicken livers that have been cut in half

Add fresh ginger, dry herbs & dry herbs

Season to taste

Simmer until ready

Serve over rice or noodles



Beef Barley Soup with a Secret

April 4, 2014

Author: Liz

My grandmother, Bertha Scher, was a believer in the slow sauté. Chopped onions and garlic, sautéed over the lowest flame, still releases the familiar memories of so much of the food she joyfully prepared for 8 grandkids. We all loved the sweetness and depth of flavor in her cooking and of course, never gave it much thought.

It occurs to me, now, that she teased it out with another kitchen basic. This common and distinctly American condiment added a toasty honey hue (yup, she knew about eye appeal, too) to countless bowls of her veggie soup and equally irresistible potted meatballs.

The secret ingredient was ketchup.

And while Nanny may have knowingly reached for ketchup for a little zest and tang, I rarely do. But, anticipating yet another snowfall last week, I channeled her slightly sweet and perfectly uncomplicated cooking with this easy, long simmered, beef barley soup. I am sure she would have loved this “bowl of health”.



1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

6 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

one pound beef flanken, chopped or stew meat (not too lean)

8 oz. white, organic, mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

1 cup homemade beef or chicken stock

10-12 cups beef or veggie broth (organic, preferably)

3 Tb. ketchup

a generous handful of fresh dill, chopped

salt and pepper


Sautee onion and garlic, 7-10 mins.

Add beef and brown.

Throw all ingredients into slow cooker, stir to combine and simmer on low for 8 hours. Alternatively, simmer, covered, on stove top for 2 hours.

Enjoy this rich and old fashioned soup on a freezing winter day!

Tips: The best dishes use homemade chicken, beef or vegetable broth. I keep a container for each, clearly labeled, in my freezer. When I have leftover gravy from roasted chicken or cooking liquid from wokked or steamed vegetables, I cool it and add it to the appropriate container. These long simmered gravies serve as rich, complex bases for winter soups.


Posted in Soups and Stews

Tags: barley, Beef, carrots, celery, grandparents, ketchup, Mushrooms, Soup