Sunday Boeuf Bourguignon

It is Saturday afternoon and I have prepared my Sunday meal.

I, undecided, had asked your opinion about Sunday supper

Coq au vin or Boeuf Bourguignon?

Frankly, I was leaning in the direction of the Coq au vin (stewed chicken) but your vote persuaded me to the B.B. (stewed beef).

What should Fr. Z make for Sunday?

  • Boeuf Bourguignon
    446 66% of all votes
  • Coq au Vin
    229 34% of all votes

Total Votes: 675 Started: 7 May 2010

For Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, which I haven’t made since days when I cooked in a rectory long ago in happier times and far far away,…

I already had the carrots, salt, pepper, flour, beef stock, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and the dreaded chives… even parsley … for later.  I also have good bread on hand.

I therefore, by means of donations, trekked to the grocery store and got my lacking ingredients.

  • bacon 5.00 (I used about half)
  • beef  16.00 (I used all)
  • onion 2.00 ((I used all)
  • wine 18.00 (two bottles, one for cooking, the other for dining)
  • mushrooms 4.00 (All to be used)
  • potatoes 1.25 (All to be used)
  • peas 1.50
  • total 47.75  let’s call it $48.00.

“But Father! But Father!” you may be sputtering.  That is an awful lot of money for a meal!  Couldn’t you just have had a hamburger or something?”

There will be enough for at least 8 very large servings, including potatoes.

Thus, $48/8= $6.00 per capita including wine.

I grant that eight bowls of Cheerios would be cheaper, but that wouldn’t make much of a Sunday supper to be enjoyed with leisure and conversation.

My shopping, prep time and cleanup took 1.5 hours.

In gratitude for your help with the groceries, here is my prep process.

This not being rocket science I started with a cup of coffee in my NASA “meatball” mug.

I had to get the butcher at the store to go back into the hidden lockers and get right size of the correct cut.

He didn’t seem pleased that I wasn’t merely acquiescing to the offerings he pointed to in the case, none of which were what I wanted.  But he complied and became more interested in doing his job when he found out what I was making.

Here is 3lb 8z of rump roast, which I trimmed.

Thick cut bacon.  Brown it. Render its fat for the whole cooking process.

The bacon is browning in the bottom of the large casserole.

Make sure you start with a large enough pot.  Quite a bit will go in and you need room for the liquid.

While I am browning the bacon this is what I am doing to the roast.

I cut it into roughly 2 inch pieces.

Pull the bacon with a slotted spoon and put it in a big bowl near to hand.

Start browning the beef a few pieces at a time in the bacon fat.

Don’t try to brown too much at a time!  That is a common mistake.

When you try to brown too much of just about anything at a time, anything that has a lot of moisture, it won’t brown.  Beef simply cooks and gets gray rather than brown.  You want the color and flavor from the browning.

So, brown beef in batches.  This was the longest component of the prep, aside from the shopping.  Be patient.

Don’t keep your pan too hot, lest your fond burn.  It is okay, great as a matter of fact, if you see it caramelize.

Oh yes… dry the pieces of beef with paper towel.  When dry, it browns better.

Having a thick pan that distributes heat really speeds this process.

Put your browned beef into the bowl, for now, with the bacon.  Repeat.

Things I will need later.

Chopping onions can challenge some people.  The vapor they release combines with tears and makes an unpleasant sensation.

Chopping them quickly can be a good skill.

I will sometimes halve them and then slice through several times but not quite to the far end.  That way, when you turn then at 90 degrees and chop them, they tend to hang together better and you can chop them more finely in a single process than having to chop the batch over and over.

Brown the onions and carrots.

I had some baby carrots I use for snacks.  They hereby attain their apotheosis.

If you must, if your bacon fat is all gone, add a slight drizzle of olive oil.  Don’t use too much.  Don’t let this get oily.

You can season in stages, if you wish.  A bit with the veg and again when you rejoin the meat in the pot.

Add the beef back into the pot and sprinkle with the flour, salt and pepper.

Stir it in a bit at a time.

You will want to stir this in well and then cook for a bit, stir and cook, stir and cook for a couple minutes.

Cook that flour!  This helps the gravy/stew thicken later, much as a roux would do.

Add the rest of the things, the garlic and bay and thyme.

I blended the tomato paste into the beef broth.

Add your broth.  I cleaned out the bowl the meat was in using the broth.

Waste not a drop or scrap.

This is effectively peasant food: they didn’t waste anything and neither should you.

Hints: Clean as you cook: You will waste less food and have a more pleasant experience in your kitchen once your dish is done.

You will have an easier time cleaning as you cook if you have done some small prep ahead of time.  Don’t wait to get something at the moment you need it.  Have it out and to hand before you start and then put it away or clean as you finish with it.

I don’t always do that, I confess, but I did it this time and my actual preparation time was really decreased.

If you are doing something new or complex read through the whole recipe before you start, noting in your mind where every element is, including your tools.

Check the steps off as you go, so you know where you.

If I am doing multiple courses, I create a time sheet in columns: courses in steps plotted down the page marked in 10 minutes increments.

When you are done, jot notes about problems you had.

Add your wine.  Ditto with some of the wine, making sure that every bit of stuff in the bowl or knives, etc. goes into that pot.

The wine was a great buy, on sale, %88 pinot noir and 12 grenache. It proved to have good fruit and decent tannins.  It should marry well with the thyme and bay and the caramelized beef, onions and carrots.

Bring to a simmer, cover, and then put into your pre-heated oven (325F).

There is a little wine left.

I’ll give this about 3 hours in the oven and then check it.

Though it will technically be done tonight, I will use it tomorrow.

Flavors blend and marry overnight. Dishes like this tend to be better the day after!

Tomorrow, the main course being done, I will merely have to boil the potatoes and saute the mushrooms and prepare the peas.  Easy-peasy beef-bourguinesy.

UPDATE 9 May 20:26 GMT:

I am about to move into the next phase of Sunday supper.

I am doing some prep so that when company arrives I won’t have so much to do at the last moment.

I must saute mushrooms with a little onion, and boil red potatoes..

For the mushrooms, I will use butter and brandy.

I have two large skillets on the stove, to make the process faster.

You need space around mushrooms if you want them to brown properly.  They have so much moisture in them that they will simply steam each other instead of browning.

I prep most mushrooms by brushing off any remaining compost.  An old toothbrush is still useful.

The red potatoes don’t need a lot of explanation.

I’ll clean them up and boil them in slightly salty water for 12-15 minutes, or until I think they are done.

I am debating the wine.  We shall what might show up, otherwise I have the second bottle of the Pinot Noir I used for the B.B.

“But Father! But Father!” you are no doubt exclaiming, on the edge of your chair.  What about dessert?  Won’t you make dessert?”

I don’t usually make dessert, in fact.  But today, in honor of my mother for mother’s day I will make chocolate chip cookies with her recipe.  She makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the cosmos, in fact.  I have tried to replicate them and get pretty close.  I have even made them with her standing by a directing – still not quite there.  But these will be pretty good with paint-thick strong coffee.

In the meantime, I will collect some herbs, which survived the winter.

I need some parsley and will use a couple chive flowers as garnishes.

More later.

Ah… the cookies.

UPDATE 10 May 15:52 GMT:

Here is the final chapter of the Boeuf Bourguignon Sunday Supper.

I slowly warmed up the beef in the oven.  By meal time, it was so tender that it just fell apart.

Now for the final chores.  Brown the mushrooms (small batches).

I did the peas and onions in the same pan with a splash of brandy.

Chive flowers worked well as a garnish.

Since I made the beef with plenty of “gravy”, I was sure to have good bread.

This is one of those buy at the store and warm in the oven loaves.

I am a seriously wretched baker, though I can handle cookies.

I opted for the gigantic portion option.

I sent home a care package of a couple servings and still have a good three meals from this in the fridge.

Now for the last clean up.

One of the bonuses of good cookware is that it is easy to clean.

Roughly a minute later and not all that much elbow grease.

All that remained was to write my notes in my book for that purpose.

And thus endeth the Boeuf Bourguignon Sunday Supper.

My deepest thanks to those of you

  • who voted in the original poll
  • who sent donations
  • who followed and commented

This was a cooperative venture in a sense, and more enjoyable as a result.

Make plans for Sunday meals with others.

From John Paul II’s Dies Domini:

72. The Eucharist is an event and programme of true brotherhood. From the Sunday Mass there flows a tide of charity destined to spread into the whole life of the faithful, beginning by inspiring the very way in which they live the rest of Sunday. If Sunday is a day of joy, Christians should declare by their actual behaviour that we cannot be happy “on our own”. They look around to find people who may need their help. It may be that in their neighborhood or among those they know there are sick people, elderly people, children or immigrants who precisely on Sundays feel more keenly their isolation, needs and suffering. It is true that commitment to these people cannot be restricted to occasional Sunday gestures. But presuming a wider sense of commitment, why not make the Lord’s Day a more intense time of sharing, encouraging all the inventiveness of which Christian charity is capable? Inviting to a meal people who are alone, visiting the sick, providing food for needy families, spending a few hours in voluntary work and acts of solidarity: these would certainly be ways of bringing into people’s lives the love of Christ received at the Eucharistic table.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Fr. Z's Kitchen, SESSIUNCULA, The Feeder Feed and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mark Pavlak says:

    Food is sacramental, and you honor that Sacramentality (sic) of food, Father, so well! Glory to God for food, in all of its textures and colors! Praise Him!

  2. Melody Faith says:

    Meat, not goop. Yummy!

  3. Andrew says:

    I’m sorry you had to settle for a Pinot Noir and coudn’t get a Cabernet Sauvignon. I hope you get lucky with the Pinot, it is a very fickle grape.

  4. Vincenzo says:

    I have that knife – Wüsthof?

  5. Maggie says:

    Looks great Father! Just remember to take it out in time and don’t overcook it like Julie Powell does in the movie.

  6. JosephMary says:

    This is something I will never make in my whole life! This is the closest I will ever, vicariously, get to it!

  7. Andrew: I’m sorry you had to settle for a Pinot Noir and coudn’t get a Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Don’t be sorry. I could have gotten a Cab, but the sale price on this Pinot was very good. After mulling it over, I think I made a good choice. My interim taste was superb.

    And the Pinot from the bottle will stand up very well to the final product.

  8. JosephMary: This is something I will never make in my whole life!

    Don’t say that! It really isn’t hard or expensive.

    Pool your resources with some people and then make it! Turn it into a nice afternoon and evening with friends.

    Everyone should be able to cook a simple, economical meal for a group of people.

  9. Maggie: don’t overcook it like Julie Powell does in the movie

    You lost me. Which movie is that?

    And, for the record, I have already turned off the heat.

    It now waits for the morrow…. if it survives the night!

    It smells so good, I may eat it now. It falls apart, too.

  10. Vincenzo: Wüsthof?

    Yes. This is my favorite knife, and my lone Wüsthof: the Classic Santoku.

    I received it as a Christmas gift a few years ago and use it all the time.

  11. Dr. Eric says:

    The movie is Julie and Julia, Father. I give it 3/4 stars.

  12. Dr. Eric: Ahhhh… yes. I must watch that. I think it is now available on cable.

  13. Charles E Flynn says:

    Steven D. Greydanus reviewed the movie:

  14. MikeM says:

    I’m going to have to make that sometime… especially now that you did the math on the cost.

  15. Charivari Rob says:

    “Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon… wine 18.00 (two bottles, one for cooking, the other for dining)”

    Julia would have been proud, though you might have had to include a line item in the budget for Cambridge Taxi.

    ” “But Father! But Father!” you may be sputtering. That is an awful lot of money for a meal! Couldn’t you just have had a hamburger or something?” “

    Pay them no mind, Father. Locusts aren’t in season yet. ;^) I don’t know much of anything about beekeeping, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t harvested much honey yet this spring, either.

    About the movie… Oh, Dr. Eric already covered that.

    “Dishes like this tend to be better the day after!”

    I would agree most heartily!

    By the way, my wife astutely noted that your Le Creuset is not of the color commonly sold in the US. Cherished souvenir of Rome, perhaps?

  16. Animadversor says:

    Well, it is hard to believe: fourteen comments already, and nothing from the semi-Jansenist pseudo-ascetic killjoy food-haters, may God bless them, beato Laurentio intercedente.

  17. MikeM: Watch for sales. The pricier items are the beef and the wine.

    The better each are, the better the outcome.

    That said, you can knock several bucks off by going even cheaper than I did and still create a fine meal.

  18. Margaret says:

    Mmmmm, that looks yummy…

    And with regards to the obligatory “But Father! But Father!”, as one who cooks almost daily for my big family, there actually isn’t a whole lot to shave off those food costs, except perhaps a less-pricey cut of beef, and skipping the second bottle for drinking purposes. It does cost money to feed a crowd, and to put it in context– the cost would have been substantially more to take eight people out to a fine enough restaurant to obtain a well-prepared dish like this. Even in a low-cost part of the country, I don’t think you could keep the check under $20 pp, between the food and the wine.

    Technical question for Fr. Z: I do not own an oven-proof covered roaster or dutch oven. Would it affect things to do stove-top preparation first in a more standard pot/pan, and then transfer the whole works to a covered casserole? Or am I missing something here?

  19. Geoffrey says:

    I love these mouth-watering posts!

    I will have to give that Pinot Noir a try. As Andrew said, “it is a very fickle grape”! It is a rare bottle that I have enjoyed.

    I do hope you make Coq au vin one weekend, and show your steps on the blog. This is something I am dying to try myself but looks very intimidating!

  20. Margaret: It would have cost that much to take that many people to McDonald’s.

    I think you could do that. The problem is that you might miss out on some of the flavor in the original pot, unless you carefully deglaze using the wine and stock, etc. Why not? It would probably be a good idea to pre-heat the casserole.

    This isn’t exactly nuclear physics. I think just doing it as you can would work just fine. Jot some notes along the way.

  21. Geoffrey: I agree about the Pinot Noir. Not my favorite. But the price was great, on sale, and I figured it would have the body I wanted for this round of B.B.

    I may not actually use the second bottle to go with the B.B., now that I think about it. It could be that that second bottle will go into some other dish.

    We’ll see.

    Perhaps I’ll use it in the Coq au vin, which needs a wine with light tannins.

  22. Charivari Rob: not of the color commonly sold in the US

    Really? I had no idea.

    I inherited these pieces and am glad to have them.

  23. As the clock ticks towards suppertime, I am on the rack. I really want to eat that B.B., but I must save it for tomorrow.

    I had better open the windows and air out the house NOW and then eat something quickly.

  24. The Egyptian says:

    Never been that fancy with pot roast, :)))) About cookware, She who must be obeyed and I purchased a heavy duty Kitchenaid Crockpot with automatic timer for each setting, this thing has power and puts out the heat. We put in a browned cut up roast from one of my own organic beefs on top of carrots, onions, potatoes and celery if there is any. top off with any wine we have in the house and liberally salt and pepper. Set the timers to 3 hours on high, 6 low and then it goes to a buffet keep warn setting for four hours, She puts this together before she leaves for work at 6:30 am, smell drives me nuts all day as I am in and out with farm work, great supper at 5:00. we gave away all our other crockpots since we got this thing, none of the others made a decent roast [Slow cooking… sounds perfect. I don’t have a crock pot but I have often thought about getting one.]

  25. Stirling says:

    Mmmm, that looks like a tasty dish. Thanks for the sharing the recipe and process. For the record, I think the Pinot Noir was a good choice…although a good Cab is hard to beat.

  26. Fr. Z, you ROCK. I must try this.

    BTW have you ever cooked carbonade flamande? It’s Flemish stewed beef, made with beer. Again, peasant food, and mighty good.

  27. Sean: carbonade flamande? It’s Flemish stewed beef, made with beer.

    Nope! I have made some sort of meat with some sort of beer, however. But I can’t remember off hand what it was.

  28. Art says:

    It looks very tasty! The only thing that is keeping me from attempting this dish is the bacon fat. Does the acidity of the wine help it from becoming too heavy/greasy?

  29. Nora says:

    Love the post and pics! Good cooking of good food, especially to share, should be a corporal work of mercy; it gives such glory to the creator of all good things.

  30. Art: You got it in one. There is a chemistry to cooking, which I partially understand… from years ago and practical experience.

    I will check my B.B. later to see if I want to skim any fat.

  31. Liz F says:

    Okay, Father, we’ve been giving you more prayers than money lately as we are trying to adopt again. However, between the cooking lessons and the inspiration, I felt it was time for a little donation. God bless you, your little birdies, and the delicious looking food! (p.s. The kids think of ramen noodles as a treat around here. Tee hee. Home-cooking is what’s taken for granted!)

  32. Liz F: Thanks for that. And who said ramen noodles aren’t a treat? Try them with a little warm peanut butter, soy sauce and chopped cilantro.

    I buy ramen by the case.. really.

  33. Andy Lucy says:

    Ah, yes. My family and I are Revolutionary War re-enactors, and this dish is EXCELLENT when made over a slow fire in camp in a large dutch oven. Bake some crusty bread in the camp oven. [Holy Cow! I bet that is good and lots of fun.] Holds up well the second day, it’s just that there are seldom any left overs for the second day. lol

    Bon appétit, mon Père Z!!

  34. wanda says:

    Father, You must have an iron will to not dig in to that delicious dish. Hope you had a few hefty tastes while preparing & testing.

    I wasn’t considering ever trying this, but, maybe, maybe..since it seems a relative of beef stew.

    Thank you for the cooking lesson and step-by-step photos. More pictures tomorrow?

    Rest up and enjoy the remains of the day.

  35. poohbear says:

    Father, you must get a crock pot, they are great. I have two, and one of them came with different size crocks, so cooking for one is as easy as cooking for a crowd.(and it was very reasonably priced compared to some others) Take your time and find the one that is just right for your needs and you will love it. BTW, ramen with peanut butter–YUMMY!

  36. Christine111 says:

    I’ve eaten this dish in Dijon, the heart of Burgundy, and have made it. On “Julie & Julia”, see here:

  37. AnAmericanMother says:


    Wow, we have the same Le Creuset dutch oven, same color too. It’s old — dates from when we were married back in ’77.

    This sounds far, far easier than the Miz Julia version, I think I’ll give it a try thanks to your very clear instructions (it was peeling and braising the pearl onions and saute’ing the mushrooms separately that took up a lot of the time!) [Sadly, I don’t have pearl onions, but I have a whole bunch of small onions.]


    When the kids were in the Boy Scouts (including my girl, who couldn’t stand the Girl Scouts because they were ‘too girly’) we did quite a bit of dutch oven cookery over the campfire. Had a big one for the main dish (stew, chili, Mountain Man Breakfast), and a small one (for bread, rolls, and cobblers).

    You have inspired me to dig them out of the Camping Closet. We have never done re-enactment or Rendezvous, but we do Cowboy Action and we could camp at the next two-day match and break out the heavy iron.

  38. AnAmericanMother says:

    Oh, and Father . . .

    Be sure to go around to the yard sales in your hunt for a crock pot. You can probably pick one up for under five dollars.

    I still have one that was a wedding present and it’s still working fine for cooking despite being used for all sorts of non-food projects like melting wax or heating dye (no, we never throw anything away, and our garage and our spare bedroom look like it.) It’s ugly as homemade sin, though, because Harvest Gold and Avocado Green were the designer colors of the era.

  39. Andy Lucy says:

    Our first event of the year is coming up over Memorial Day at Vincennes, IN. The boys are already packing their trunks and making sure the tents are OK. I’ve been re-enacting since 1989, and the first date I had with my wife was to attend an event… so she knew what she was getting into. lol

    What is even more fun, for me, is at Ft de Chartres, in IL, when a priest from the Diocese of Belleville comes to the fort and does an EF Low Mass in the chapel of the Fort… and this was even before Summorum Pontificum. It is really sort of ethereal, all of the re-enactors in period dress, the priest in period vestments, saying Mass in the same manner as the 18th century Jesuits, even hearing confessions prior to Mass. Awe inspiring.

  40. eiggam says:

    Thank you for the cooking lesson. My friend and I have enjoyed reading and discussing it. Fine Photos!

  41. AngelineOH says:

    Andy Lucy,
    We are also RW reenactors, and I won cooking contests for rolled stuffed roast with wine, and puff paste quince tarts. You can make amazing things over a campfire!

  42. RichR says:

    Fr. Z,

    I was at the supermarket getting our usual Saturday groceries, and I remembered your wine photo…..and got some Shiraz. It will go nicely with the ribeye roast we eat tomorrow for Mother’s Day.

    Let me know if you are ever open to a visitor dropping in and paying for lodging, food, and a weekend course of cooking lessons. I might take you up on it. Top it all with a TLM and that’s my idea of a foretaste of Heaven! I can just see the line forming…..

  43. Imagine… more than one RW reenactor in the same discussion!

  44. BTW… have gotten a couple emails expressing doubt that I eat ramen… ever, much less often.

    I pulled this from my pantry.

  45. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Father, this is an awesome post, and I love the comments. I enjoy it when you respond to the commenters.

    We all secretly, okay, maybe not so secretly, want to come over and cook and eat with you. Ahem, when would be a good time? LOL

    I laugh at the thought that some berate you for your occasional ‘fancy’ meals. Do you need to post daily the ramen, hot dogs and soup that you eat? zzzzz. maybe boring, but some folks just don’t get it otherwise.

    Bon Appetit!!

  46. Agnes says:

    My arteries are clogging. I need Anointing.

    I have a NASA mug that reads “I need my space.” I choose between that and Mother Teresa’s “Do small things with great love.” everyday. Typically, “I need my space” wins out!

  47. apagano says:

    My husband has been trying to get me to get a dutch oven and now maybe I will. Your BB looks great. I might be printing this post and making BB in the near future!! I was hoping though that you would make the coq au vin. I make one, which my husband really enjoys, but would be curious as to how a more seasoned chief makes it. Next time you make it, please post pics.

  48. Andrew_81 says:

    Sounds and looks delicious, Father! I’ll cook this for Pentecost Sunday’s meal with some friends and perhaps a priest or two.

    You mentioned meat and beer above. When I used to work at a local brewery we’d take turns making a Wednesday meal for the whole company (about 60 people). I was famous, or infamous, for using beer in my recipies, serving at one point an entire meal of five dishes (including dessert), each containing a different beer from our taps. The stout ice cream failed horribly, so it became a creamy sauce for vanilla ice cream, but what I was most proud of was my Saison Chicken. I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking to to Coq au vin at some point. It’s very similar in its preparation, but it’s an immediate eat, not an overnighter. I made it on the spot from what I had for 60 people, so it’d be hard to give an exact ingredient list.

    Get at least two 750ml bottles of any standard Saison (I like Omegang’s Hennepin as it’s very tasty, and it’s named for a priest). Take some chicken breasts and soak them in the contents of one bottle with some onions, garlic, salt and pepper, a bit of fresh ginger and a few sprigs of rosemary. for a while at room temperature. After an hour (or more) brown the chicken in butter on high heat and then put back into the marinade add some carrots and other veggies as you prefer and let it cook until it’s reduced to your liking, or thicken it if you wish. I threw in some extra ginger and rosemary toward the end to get some more potent flavors. It went well with some “spent grain” bread (bread made from the sweet leftovers of the grain brewing process.

    The other bottles are for drinking at cellar temperature.

    For this meal of 60 people I ended up spending $150 on groceries. That’s a huge sum of money, [HARDLY! Not for that number of people.] but as you note, when you cook for a crowd and then examine the per capita cost, [Yep.] it’s at least as cheap as fast food (and so much more Catholic!). [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

  49. Andy Lucy says:

    AngelineOH… which unit? I’m with the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment, Grenadier Company, NWTA. There is usually a joint NWTA/BAR event annually in OH… it’s just a LONG haul from far Western KY.

    I encourage everyone to learn how to cook with a dutch oven on an open fire. During last year’s ice storm, we were out of power for 17 days, but never missed a meal due to knowing how to cook over open fire. And somehow, it always tastes better over an open campfire.

  50. AnAmericanMother says:


    “Forty-twa, no deid yet.” (to paraphrase slightly – it’s actually the Gordons’ catchword).

    My dad served with the 79th, the old Cameron Highlanders, who have been amalgamated out of existence.

    At least the Black Watch is still around.

    Do you wear the belted plaid or the little kilt?

  51. Adam Welp says:


    I have to tell you what happened after I voted for the BB this morning. Not ten minutes after I voted, I flipped the TV over to one of the local PBS stations and was watching a grilling show. One of the dishes was a “beer can chicken” style Coq au vin. [Excellent!] It looked really good and was not dry at all. It made me really hungry for the remainder of the day. I may have to try both dishes! Now…how can I convince my wife to let me get a larger charcoal grill. Oh wait, can’t…stupid apartment complex regulations.

  52. AnAmericanMother says:

    I agree re the dutch oven. Everybody should have one, a cast iron one with the cute little legs to stand over the coals. Our local army surplus store sells them MUCH more cheaply than the outdoors superstore, as cheaply as the Lodge outlet about 150 miles up the road.

    We’ve never missed a meal due to power outages either – and they are frequent in North Georgia. I also have a white gas stove just because I hate cleaning soot off my good teakettle. But we had a nice fire ring set up in the back yard when Hurricane Opal came through a few years ago, and we were without power for about a week.

    Of course, because our power goes down so much, we also have a 3000w gas powered generator. But I prefer to cook outside and not run the vent hood, the generator is just to keep the food cool and the gas furnace blower running.

  53. Andy Lucy says:

    AnAmericanMother: Aye, it was a shame to amalgamate all of those regiments out of existence. The Black Watch is no longer an independent regiment, it is 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland… 3 SCOTS. Mores the pity.

    I have a Cameron kilt, as I also dabble in World War I reenacting… much fun. In my Rev War unit, we all wear the belted plaid… although, it would be allowable to wear a philabeg, as they cut their plaids into philabegs when the aprons on the lower half of the great kilt wore through, and Whitehall was slow with resupply.

    To those wondering why a Highland reenactor would be making Boeuf Bourguignon or coq au vin… well, it’s hard being the only one in the group that likes haggis. lol

  54. AnAmericanMother says:


    Your answer re Boeuf Bourguignon and coq au vin should be: “Remember the Auld Alliance!”

    One of the good things the French did was bring their cooking to Scotland. When we were visiting Britain back in the 80s (before our first was born), we never had a bad meal in Scotland, and never had a good meal in England. The French influence on Scots cooking was obvious (and delicious).

    We don’t do re-enactment, but we DO do Scottish Country Dancing and have for many years. If you ever go to a Highland Games in Georgia, Tennessee, or Alabama, or Grandfather Mountain in NC, look for the very large man (6’6″, 250#) with the bushy red beard (now mostly gray) in a Gordon kilt. I look just like every other little dark West Highlandwoman or Black Irishwoman, but I’ll be with him. You’ll find us at the Country Dance platform.

  55. Andy Lucy says:

    AnAmericanMother: If I were older, I would say that I fought with the Régiment Écossais for King Louis.

    Do you ever make it to the Glasgow Highland Games in Glasgow, KY? I’ve wanted to go to the Mountain for years, but something (usually a big reenactment) has always prevented it. We usually make it to Glasgow, mainly for the music… Father, Son and Friends is a musical group whose father (Joey) is our captain, son (Shawn) is our drummer, and the friends are usually members of the unit. Really good folk/Celtic music.

  56. Charivari Rob says:

    Father Z – “…not of the color commonly sold in the US.” Really? I had no idea. I inherited these pieces and am glad to have them.

    I’d imagine you’re glad – I certainly would be. It’s excellent stuff – on my wife’s wish list if we ever get around to renovating the kitchen (or other stuff wears out). Anyway, the models we’ve seen in stores lately are usually orange or pea green. I could be completely wrong about blue, of course.

    I second the others, Father – a crock pot is a wonderful thing, and not expensive at all. Two recommendations: Get one with the simple “keep warm”/low/high knob (I don’t see much point to shelling out extra for digital lcd touchpad models) – and – get one with a removable crock.

  57. Clinton says:

    Father, that looks lovely. It was a perfect choice to use the pinot noir for the dish, as that and chardonnay are the two principal grapes
    grown in the Burgundy region. So even if you were not intending to, [I was.] you were cleaving to the original intent of the dish’s authors. It’s as if you’d asked yourself “what does the recipe really say?”.

    I agree about the need to have the beef dried off before browning it. In fact, for chores like that or to dry off a brined chicken, say, before roasting and to get a nice crispy skin I use a blow drier. It works beautifully in no time.

  58. Childermass says:


    Thanks for the demonstration! I was planning to make a crock-pot version of this soon, but now I’m having thoughts of trying your recipe.

    I had a question though…I’ve got a nice sauerbraten roast in the fridge, marinating on day 2 of 4. My grandmother is German so I’ve made this many times before, but I’ve always used cooking wine in it.

    Do you ever use cooking wine, and what is the difference (in your experience) between using that and a bottle of drinking wine?

    Also, have you ever made a sauerbraten? [I LOVE sauerbrauten! I should make it sometime.]

  59. The Egyptian says:

    Per a previous poster, by a GOOD crockpot, you need HEAT. That said, I must clarify, the timer will not work for one of you trips, don’t think it would work for one of your New York or Rome jaunts. :->

  60. Phil_NL says:

    Bon appetit, Father!

  61. MWP says:

    It looks fantastic and it’s bound to taste even better!

    Bon appetit! Eet smakelijk! Smacznego!

    PS. Father, what prayer do you usually say before eating a meal with your friends? Could you maybe post one in your blog? Thank you! [The standard meal blessing, unless the liturgical day calls for another.]

  62. Tom in NY says:

    “Cooking” wine, widely available outside licensed stores, has salt so that it is not covered by a license. By definition, it adds salt to the dish.
    Those who have less time but same ingredients can use a pressure cooker and reduce the sauce to taste. Rev. Moderator is provident in preparing his dish ~24 hrs ahead of his supper.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  63. irishgirl says:

    Very cool pictures of your ‘culinary adventure’, Father Z! I voted for the Coq au Vin, but the BB looks good!

    I’m not much of a cook-have no patience with big fancy recipes! And I live by myself, anyway-no friends to invite for supper. So my meals are quick by circumstance! I go by the adage, ‘If it doesn’t come out of a box or a can…’ Ah, well….

  64. Grabski says:

    Father I humbly implore you to put together a cookbook! Bestseller, no doubt….

  65. AngelineOH says:

    We’re with the 4th New Jersey Volunteers; before that I was with the 1st Jager Company(it was a RW marriage). We’ll definitely have to meet up, perhaps at Glasgow.

    AnAmericanMother, I used to do Scottish Country dance too!

  66. Phil_NL says:

    So, given the time-difference the question is probably 5 to 8 hours premature, but how did it taste? (good, of course, but there are degrees to that too)

  67. I am starting to get hungry.

    Time to eat something to fend off the pangs, read some office and the prepare the table, etc.

  68. Maltese says:

    Father Z, you accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative! Cheers!

  69. Sleepyhead says:

    As the BB was cooked the previous day, what’s the best way to reheat it before serving?

  70. Oh Father—my homemade vegetable soup does not seem quite so yummy by comparison. This is quite a treat–though I agree with your analysis per serving, quite justifiable, as well.

    How wonderful, to have this great tutorial for the day when I can persuade DH to have a meat day, so I can try this. thank you for sharing your culinary expertise. Have a wonderful supper!

  71. Sleepyhead: Just reheat it in the oven, slowly. If it doesn’t have much gravy, be sure to spoon it over the meat and vegetables once in a while.

  72. Vincenzo says:

    “I don’t usually make dessert, in fact. But today, in honor of my mother for mother’s day I will make chocolate chip cookies with her recipe.”

    Can you share the recipe? And is your Le Creuset 5&½ quarts?

  73. Susan the Short says:

    Really dumb question: Do you add the potatoes and mushrooms to the BB or serve seperately?

  74. PostCatholic says:

    I hope the company was as good as the food. I grew up a few blocks from Mr & Mrs Child (she was the best house on earth to trick-or-treat, bar none!) and I can hear in my head her saying “Bon Appétit.” If you discovered that recipe in her “Mastering the Art”, I heartily recommend her “Blanquette de Veau” for a future Sunday dinner.

  75. Food education all over the place. Folks who know Father, Son & Friends in one post, Julia Child in another. Talk about your six degrees of separation…. Ah. With all its faults, I love the Internet. :)

  76. Nan says:

    Liz F, for similar reasons I still find toaster waffles to be an exotic treat. My mom made waffles from scratch, but my grandma served me toaster waffles on her Jewel Tea China for breakfast.

  77. PostCatholic: If you discovered that recipe in her “Mastering the Art”

    To tell the truth, I don’t have any of her books.

    But I’ll put them on my wish list!

  78. I am tempted to attempt this this week, as my folks are in town. I think it may be too late in the season to serve something as robust as this. I imagine that mean temperatures at the Sabine Farm are several degrees cooler than they are in my neck of the woods. Perhaps it will have to wait until the return of Autumn.

    Thanks for posting this.

    The use of God’s bounty and human genius for nourishment, delight and strengthening the bonds of family and community is a real contribution to happiness.


  79. PghCath says:

    Father – Like all good cooking teachers, you made an intimidating meal look easy. I’m sure many readers will try this recipe as a result. Your guests must have been delighted.

    For another cooking priest:

  80. Sleepyhead says:

    “Easy-peasy beef-bourguinesy” says Fr Z.
    LOL, last Friday’s soft-boiled egg seems more challenging!

  81. poohbear says:

    Father I humbly implore you to put together a cookbook! Bestseller, no doubt….
    Comment by Grabski — 9 May 2010 @ 9:09 am

    I second that!

  82. AnAmericanMother says:

    I give it a second second!

    With copious illustrations, please! And suggested menus with wine selections.

  83. David D. says:

    “not of the color commonly sold in the US.”

    Le Creuset has introduced some new colors in recent years but blue has definitely been around for at least several decades. I think the particular picture of Fr. Z’s French Oven makes the blue appear lighter than normal although I believe Le Creuset introduced a very light blue recently.

    Le Creuset can be quite pricey but the French Ovens are good investments. With proper care there is no reason why they shouldn’t last a lifetime.

  84. David: With proper care there is no reason why they shouldn’t last a lifetime.

    More than one lifetime!

  85. Consilio et Impetu says:

    “I don’t usually make dessert, in fact. But today, in honor of my mother for mother’s day I will make chocolate chip cookies with her recipe.”

    Any chance of getting your mother’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?

    Thank you!

  86. Gregg the Obscure says:

    “I am a seriously wretched baker”. Interesting. I know very few people who are good at both cooking and baking, though I know many good cooks and many good bakers. Fr. Z is clearly a very good cook.

  87. ebreid says:

    Father Z., on baking, one good thing has come out of Hell’s Bible. A few years ago, they published a recipe for no-knead bread that is as easy as can be, and it receives rave reviews whenever I bring it to potlucks. Time and heavy cookware do all of the hard work.

  88. dcs says:

    How did the carrots hold up? When I am making beef stew (and I bake it in the oven using a dutch oven) I usually cut the carrots into huge chunks so that they are soft rather than mushy.

  89. PghCath says:

    In light of Fr Z’s exhortation to share a Sunday Supper with others, it seems like a great idea for readers of this blog to invite their priests over for boeuf bourginion or some equally delightful meal. What a wonderful opportunity in this Year of the Priest to thank them for their service, pitch the EF, etc.

  90. dcs: How did the carrots hold up?

    Pretty well, all in all. After a second cooking, on Sunday, they were soft, but still in one piece.

  91. wanda says:

    Thank you, Father Z., for the beautiful story in pictures of your meal, start to finish. My favorite picture is the ‘gigantic portion option’! Close 2nd is the empty plate, meal consumed.

    Did you see the movie The Greatest Game Ever Played? That’s where I heard a similar line to your easy-peasy, beef-bourguinesy – only the line was easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy! Terrific movie based on a true story.

  92. AnAmericanMother says:

    Father Z,

    “I am a seriously wretched baker” . . .

    I am a pretty fair cook and a pretty fair baker – sort of splitting the difference, I guess. But I think I have a solution for you.

    If you can get hold of a bread machine (the kind that does the larger 2 lb. loaf rather than the little 1 lb. loaf – they are not expensive if you just get a plain one without all the bells and whistles), you can START the dough in the machine by using the “dough cycle”. That will take it through first rising. Take it out, knead it for a minute or so, then form a round loaf or put it in a loaf pan, whichever you prefer, and set it in your second oven (if you have one) with the oven light on and a pan of warm water underneath. When it’s risen to double (two fingers pressed in don’t rebound), pop it in and bake it – voila! Almost instant home-made bread.

    I’ve made sourdough, “white mountain”, and caraway rye bread this way. It’s great when I don’t have the time for my gg grandmother’s full dress home-made bread, which takes at least half a day from start to finish. There are tons of recipes on the internet. My only caution would be to make sure that the dough is quite stiff and not sticky and cleaning the sides of the machine. You can peek at it once it’s well blended.

  93. Father: I’m having a really bad last couple days and would feel so much better with a chocolate chip cookie


    Vincenzo asked me to come over here and beg for it; which I stink at (as you can see). But, he’s relentless
    regarding matters of the stomach!!!

    I don’t see how anyone can codify a “mom” recipe anyway. It’s never the same. We can’t get the right amounts
    of those secret ingredients like: love and pride (in the best sense)

    In any event, I’m alarmed that you have ANY packs of ramen in the house…reminds me too much of $1/day
    college eating habits.

  94. Thomas in MD says:

    Prepare to sit down Father: a third RW re-enactor has been lurking. 23rd Foot, Royal Welch Fusiliers here. Huzzah for Father Z and his BB!

  95. MargaretC says:

    Yum! I have made BB for years, I may have to try it for Pentecost.

    Oh, and I second Father’s advice about advance prep and washing up as you go. It really does reduce the workload and leave you with a clean kitchen and a calm cook before your guests arrive.

  96. dimsum says:

    Father, Great meal. I tried a similar Boeuf Bourguignon from Cooks’s Illustrated magazine recently. My dutch oven is simlar to yours, mine is green.

  97. lucy says:

    Father, thanks so much for this cooking lesson. I have made this dish before, but you really make it come alive. My enamel cast iron is a hand-me-down from my deceased mother-in-law (God rest her soul) and I love it – it’s yellow and is a very old piece of Deskoware (sp?) from Belgium. Also it’s oval. I love cooking in it.

    Some friends and I have a cooking lesson (the 2nd this year) this Saturday with my friend who is an Italian chef. We’re making homemade ravioli’s this weekend ! Should be loads of fun !!

    Thanks again, and please keep your cooking adventures coming. I enjoy reading about them !

  98. Ralph says:

    Man that looked good!!

    Thanks for posting this entry. I really enjoy it when you share your cooking experience. I am not a great chef by ANY means. So I really try to pick up tips from my betters. Reading your step by step instructions makes it seem less daunting to cook “fancy” food.

    Now, any tips on getting little children to eat it? :)

  99. ArtND76 says:

    Regarding your reference to From John Paul II’s Dies Domini

    My wife and I (and our now adult children) have been celebrating Lord’s day meals on many Saturday evenings for decades now. I have used 3 different versions of Lord’s day prayers before the meal, with the one we have been using for over 15 years now being “Celebrating the Lord’s Day” by Servant Books (ISBN: 0892833157). Unfortunately, this is now out of print.

    While it is nice to have well prepared food, we find the more meaningful aspects to be the conversation about the good things God has done for us during the preceding week. There are times we like to celebrate this as a couple, as a family, or with friends.

    As the quotation you gave notes, we find the brotherhood (and sisterhood) to be the important part, where we reflect on the week, on what we have heard at Mass, and on what we are learning through participation in our Cathedral’s bible study or by helping out our confirmation catechists.

  100. AnAmericanMother says:


    1. “This is adult food, with wine in it, but you may have it as a special treat.”

    2. “You may help cook it, if you’re good.”

    3. “This is a recipe from Father Z’s internet cooking school.”

    The first two always worked for me. The third ought to work just fine – my teenage son was a big Iron Chef fan when he was home, and was very keen on recipes from TV or the internet.

  101. mikew says:

    Father Z…

    This looks really great! My family made your last recipe with pork chops and sauerkraut, so this will be one we will try as well. It is interesting you commented that dishes like this always taste better the second day. Growing up, my dad would always comment on how much better my mother’s pot roast tasted the next day when we had it again as a left-over option at dinner time. I always wondered why Mom never just cooked the pot roast, put it into the refrigerator and actually served it the next day.

    Thanks for posting! It looked great and despite the fact that I actually voted for the Coq au Vin, this turned out looking very good. I could taste it through the computer screen!

    God’s blessings upon you!


  102. q7swallows says:

    A masterpiece–even now–days later! And were those baby portabella mushrooms that I spied?! Did they work for you?

    I *loved* the quote from JPII that you closed with. And although I’m not a thorough purveyor of this blog, I think you responded to about 95% of the commenters–which seemed higher than usual to me. Thank you for including us in the process (and the conversation!) in such a fatherly way even though we were unable to sit down and actually enjoy it with you. Someday. . . ?!

    All the photos with the instructions and tips was a “teaching us to fish” kind of lesson. Thank you for this spiritual–and corporal!–act of mercy in instructing the ignorant (and a few cheering pros)!

    WAY, way more mileage than 8 bowls of Cheerios . . . !

  103. RichardT says:

    But Father! But Father!

    Boeuf Bourguignon, great. But don’t use rump roast. You want stewing meat – shoulder, shin, even some neck (preferably a mixture of all three). Not only is it cheaper, but it tastes even better. Those cuts are more strongly flavoured, but usually less good because they are tougher and fattier – but the fat melts and flavours the sauce, and the long, slow cooking tenderises the meat, leaving you with all the wonderful flavour.

    The French also clean out the pan (while it’s still hot) with a small glass of brandy and tip it all into the pot. Don’t know whether it adds much to the flavour, but it’s a good excuse to get the brandy out.

    A personal hint as well – try throwing in a small handful of green peppercorns before it goes in the oven. Bliss.

  104. RichardT: Thanks for the ideas.

  105. RichardT says:

    On crockpots, I do a lot of this sort of cooking, and thought that a crockpot would be ideal.

    First time I tried it, I came home to a house smelling of wonderful Boeuf Bourguignon (by coincidence). Excellent, I thought. But then disaster – took the lid off and tried it – no taste! All the flavour had escaped into the air.

    I tried the thing several times, sealed the lid with flour, tried different times and temperatures, everything. In the end it went to a charity shop.

    Perhaps I just got a bad one, but I found the oven was much better (and even a pot on top of the stove was better than the crockpot).

  106. RichardT says:

    You’re welcome, Father; always good to share cooking tips. And thanks for the onion chopping hint, I’ll try that, and for inspiring me to do BB again (farmers’ market this Friday – I shall be there looking for good cheap stewing beef).

    If you do try it with the different cuts of meat, let us all know next time if you prefer it! And if so, re-price it, so that the hair shirt brigade can see just how cheap good food can be. As you say, this is peasant food – good, nourishing & cheap.

  107. AnAmericanMother says:

    Well, I was inspired by the Father Z Cooking School!

    We just finished mopping up the last of the sauce in the Boeuf Bourguignon with thick slices of home-made bread.

    Sort of a hybrid FatherZ/Julia recipe – did still braise the little onions separately and saute “baby Bella” mushrooms separately a la Julia, and added them after the 3 hour oven simmer. But added baby carrots for a bit of color. With boiled new potatoes and a nice green salad and the homemade bread — excellent. And the leftovers (oodles – there were only two of us) will be perfect for dinner tomorrow night because my parents are coming into town from the GA coast to drive up with us to oldest child’s college graduation.

    And they’re bringing fresh shrimp!!!!!!!!!!!

    So, Father . . . we need a shrimp recipe . . . . [ pretty please? ]

  108. RichardT says:

    Having just come back from the market with some very good looking beef, the cuts I bought were a third of the price of rump (that’s comparing the prices on the same stalls).

    Not that I mind paying for good food, but as I said above, for these slow-cooked dishes I think the cheaper cuts are better – and the fact that they are so much cheaper is an added bonus. It means almost anyone (in the West at least) can afford this sort of good food.

Comments are closed.