Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Cognac and Dijon Beef Stew

I haven’t been doing much in the line of interesting cooking lately. This is partly due to the penitential nature of the season. However, on Sunday I determined to get something done, do something different.  Another motive was the fact that our great bishop here came down with the Wuhan Devil.  He’s fine, but he’s cooped up in his apartment for a while.  I kept picturing him opening his last can of soup and thought, “We can do better than that.”  I determined to deliver a hot meal.

A variation on Supper For The Promotion Of Clericalism.

My choice was a French beef stew with cognac and Dijon mustard. What could go wrong?

Salt pork in pieces.

Render for fat.  First batch.

The recipe called for chuck, but the rump was on sale for about $3.50/lb, so that’s what I got.  Not as much fat, so I used a little more pork and left some of the lardons in rather than discarding them.



Meanwhile, out came “The Contraption“.   This was sent to me from one of you readers, I don’t know who, from my wishlist.  I had been challenged by a reader to put it on the list, but the one who made the challenge was not the giver.  I’ve posted about this before.  There was no “gift slip” in the box, so you are a mystery to me still.  That’s doesn’t mean that you are not remembered.

Back to the stove.   Onions.  The recipe didn’t call for putting some color on the veg, but I don’t think you can go wrong with a little carmelization.

Brush up your mushrooms.  Start brushing them now.

I learned from The Great Roman™ what the growing medium is.

Brush your mushrooms.

The carrots are getting some color.  I had a bag of these little pre-cut on hand.  Just the right size and they needed employment.

Time for the Dijon.  The recipe called for both the smooth and the Pommery.  Happily I had both…

… until I ran out of the Maille.   But, in my cupboard was a jar that I brought back from Paris.  Good to go.

Time to add stuff to The Contraption.

1/2 cup of Dijon and a few tbls of Pommery.   When adding the beef stock, I used the opportunity to clean out the remaining mustard from the measuring cup.  Waste not, want not.

In go the shallots and the cognac.   Yes, also shallots.  And you can see that I have a nice crust on the chunks of beef.

In goes the Pomery and the red wine.

With a bit of a mix.  The Contraption was set for Slow Cook: Low.  And it has a stirring arm on a timer that runs both on the bottom and the sides.

About midway in the process I adjusted for salt and liquid and gave it some tarragon from my indoor garden.  The tarragon is doing well under the grow lights.

Behold.  Five hours later.

Delivered.  Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew.

It was mighty good, I must say.

The bishop received a few slices of the bread and a large portion of the stew along with a couple glasses worth of the Côtes du Rhone and a little bottle of my homemade limoncello.

The report came back that he recovered his sense of smell and taste while eating this.

My work here is done.

Next up….

The Great Roman™ sent photos of the pangiallo they made.  I am going to make some too!  Also, I will assemble some ingredients for zampone e lentichie, pigs feet stuffed with lentils, etc., for Christmas Day.  I will have a Midnight Mass and then have two Masses on Christmas day, one at dawn and one probably at Noon.  So, in between 2 and 3, if I can get the ingredients, I’ll do my prep and, later in the after my Roman Christmas repast should be ready.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. kyle says:

    What’s that brand of cognac Fr Z?

  2. Anneliese says:

    You lost me at mushrooms…and pigs feet…

    The stew reminds me of German rouladen minus the cognac. My grandmother would have made that on a special occasion with dumplings. I never ate it growing up. As an adult I think I would be willing to try it and possibly enjoy it.

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    Looks wonderful! So glad the good Bishop is doing okay.
    We just found out we were probably exposed to the Wuhan Devil on Sunday.
    I hope you and all here have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  4. acardnal says:

    Looks like a sure cure for the Wuhan Devil virus! The mustards and the cognac especially!

    However, I note the French trinity of celery, carrots and onion was missing one ingredient. Looks tasty and filling nonetheless. Bravo!

    Sorry to hear about the bishop being ill. I will keep him in my prayers.

  5. acardnal: Indeed. I noted that too. The recipe did not call for celery. I can see why, however, with the mustard going on.

  6. Cognac: inexpensive Maison Rouge

  7. iamlucky13 says:

    “The report came back that he recovered his sense of smell and taste while eating this.”

    It seems the CDC should be made aware of this discovery!

    I have not yet figured out how to make anything decent out of beef round, even in a slow cooker, so I stick with chuck.

  8. mysticalrose says:

    Wow. You put my cooking to shame, Fr. Z.!

  9. Mariana2 says:

    Not for the first time do I wish I had an establishment where I could employ Father as Abbé, cook, historian, Practically Perfect In Every Way-Person.

    I’m off to the shops to get ingredients for this!

  10. PostCatholic says:

    I love the multi-cooker. Mine was given to a food writer by KitchenAid, who used it for writing a review and then passed it on to me. So far the best thing it’s produced for me was a pintade a vin and I like that it makes risotto a more frequent dish for us. You had mixed feelings when you tried risotto, so–how do you think it did with stew? Which looks wonderful by the way, was this the NYT recipe? I use St-Rémy XO French brandy in the kitchen in lieu of cognac for the sake of the budget–makes a great Steak Diane.

  11. The Masked Chicken says:

    “ The carrots are getting some color. I had a bag of these little pre-cut on hand. Just the right size and they needed employment.”

    Out-of-work carrots are a terrible sight…

    The Chicken

  12. hwriggles4 says:

    Making me hungry. Looks tastier than beef bourginone.

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