Peace in Beef Bourguignon

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I love Ina Garten. She is my favorite chef and while I don’t buy any cook books for the house, I have three of hers. (Make It Ahead is my favorite book, simply for the practicality of it. BRAVO, Ms. Garten, BRAVO.) The cookbooks have mostly been gifted, and they are gifts that have kept on giving. I think Ina has three new books I haven’t even purchased. How time flies.

Every year at Christmastime, I sit down with my Ina books and choose between her recipes, deciding what my family might like and what I can actually handle from a somewhat beginner’s cooking perspective. This year, I thought a Beef Bourguignon would be awesome. It sounded rich, hearty, savory, and kind of Christmasy for reasons I can’t describe.

I got into my head that I would make the dish, but then I completely forgot to snap a photo of the recipe or hark back to it from my phone once I made it to the grocery store.

So, what usually happens is EXACTLY what happened: when I sat down to start cooking, I was missing about half the ingredients:

  • cognac
  • red wine
  • pearl onions
  • beef broth

Wow, Mommy, way to go, I thought.

But I had beef, carrots, chicken stock, mushrooms, thyme, tomato paste, and salt and pepper. When I did the math, there were more ingredients that HAD in the house than those I DIDN’T. Talk about the pot being half full! I decided to go for it and cook the dish, not necessarily half-assing it, but half-correctly making it.

Someone told me once that the BEST inventions are actually mistakes, so WHY NOT ENCOURAGE A MISTAKE?!!?!?!?

I didn’t light the kitchen on fire with Cognac like Jennifer Garner nearly did. But I made maybe a beef stew sort of thing that was delicious. It awarded me some peaceful time in the kitchen: chopping, stirring, simmering, and tasting along the way. I was thrilled to have a dutch oven for the process and plan to try the recipe again with more of the correct ingredients. Note: the dutch oven was also a gift that keeps on giving. I use it for all my soups, meatballs, stews, and more. It is a staple in my house I’m so thankful for (wink: you know who you are!)

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!