If I’ve learned one thing from Cora & Louise so far, it’s this: you can do hard things. In all sorts of ways, every single day. I see people rising up and doing hard things with grace & it’s pushed me to do the same. To dream bigger, do better, and push harder for the things I want. Reminding ourselves to do the hard work takes us from where we stand, to where we want to be.
Hear me, I’m learning so much and getting gray hair too. (I do not have it all figured out.) Moving, starting a new job, growing a blog & *having a life* is an intimidating combination but also full of happiness. (Did I mention Morgan has a crazy full plate of things too? We don’t let each other give up.) If you want to know more, let’s get coffee, but for now, let me say this — you can totally do harder things than you ever thought you could. (I’m saying this for myself & for you too.) Don’t let feeding yourself good things be one of the hard things you give up on. Preparing great food will put life back into you and make you feel accomplished in the best way.
Not only can you accomplish everything that’s on your plate — you can also make fancy sounding French food! (Don’t be fooled, the hardest part of this recipe is spelling the word “Bourguignon” without looking.) I hate the stereotype that we are all overly busy humans with little time or energy to feed our bodies and people we love. (Some days are crazy, I know this.) On the days that I come home feeling tired or overwhelmed, what gives me life and brings me back to reality is putting on good music, dropping garlic & olive oil into a pan and creating something tangible. We are totally smart, intuitive and capable enough to make delicious food. I think most “hard" things are mostly easy things we’ve built up in our heads or talked ourselves out of. Don’t let making dinner be one of these “hard” things.
When it comes to recipes, some people have told us they don’t feel like they could ever make the things we post. Hear me again, you SO can. Don’t let a recipe title or ingredient list scare you away. We may be posting two french recipes in one week, but trust me, we are not fancy and you can do harder things than you imagined. Like learning how pronounce bourguignon and also feeding it to good people. (This is an easy one-pot meal and your house will smell like heaven — you’re welcome!)
The text for this recipe comes from Jen Hatmaker's book "For the Love" — I'm quoting her recipe in its entirety because the way she writes about this dish is the reason I had to make it. (You'll see why!) I hope to be as funny and well spoken as Jen one day.
"First of all, don't panic at the ingredient list. Look at it: butter and flour and such. You have almost all of this. Don't let the fancy name fool you: This is basically stew. A one-pot meal, sisters. So get your Dutch oven because you are about to make magic.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add bacon (baaaaacooooon!) and cook over medium about ten minutes, stirring a bit until it is brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large plate (but leave that baaaaacooooon grease in the pot, for the love of deliciousness.)
Dry the beef cubes with a paper towel and give them a hefty douse of salt and pepper. In single layer batches, sear the beef cubes on all four sides in the hot-oil-slash-bacon-grease (about three to five minutes). Remove the cubes to the plate with the bacon and keep this up until all of the beef is browned. (Don't skip this step! Sure, it adds a few minutes to the recipe but it will turn that cheap cut of meat into a superstar later. Stop rushing. What else do you need to do? Go cure cancer?)
Into all that good juice and drippings, toss in the carrots, onions, a tablespoon of salt, and two teaspoons of pepper. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. (At this point, the aroma gets ridiculous.) Put the meat and bacon back in the pot. Add the bottle of wine (you read that right.. the entire bottle, you lushes!) plus enough beef broth to cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid, and slide in the oven for about two hours until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender."
"Pray someone knocks on your door to witness how good your house smells.
Back on the stovetop, combine two tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork. Stir the product into the stew (this will thicken it and add creaminess.) Sauté the mushrooms in two more tablespoons of butter until lightly browned, and add to the stew. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast thick slices of bread, then rub them with a cut clove of garlic. The garlic melts into the hot bread like magic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley. (You could also serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles or just nothing because it is so delectable, but whatever you do, dunk some bread in it.)
Serve in shallow bowls with a rich, spicy Cabernet, and a fire in the fireplace.
This is such a crowd-pleaser, you have no idea. You cannot mess this up. If it is for company, make it the day before and heat to serve, because the first day of this recipe is divine, but on its second day you hear angels sing and see the face of the Lord."