Last Night I Made the Barefoot Contessa's Beef Stew, Almost.

April 16, 2020

I'm sure if I'd had the cognac and the mushrooms, this would have been even more delicious. But we're going for accuracy here, not precision.

With baking you have to be a lot more careful. What I've learned with cooking is there's usually more room for improvisation. So, when I set out to make the Barefoot Contessa's boeuf bourguignon I was bummed to realize I didn't have the cognac, mushrooms or pearl onions. And since we are all busy social distancing I was not going to get in my car and make a special trip when it's really not needed.

By the way, she starts this recipe with bacon, which I had but did not use simply because I couldn't be bothered. I figured that was going to add (at least) 20 minutes to my prep time and I wanted to get things moving. I had some white sweet potato so I added some. Other than that I quite followed her recipe.

I think the most important part is drying and searing the beef. And I did.


Some chopped carrots and onions and garlic and lots and lots of wine later, this is what went into the oven.


And what came out. I added some chopped rosemary from the garden which was not in the recipe. It was all heavenly.


I did miss the mushrooms and since I don't really know what cognac tastes like I don't think I missed that. Of course, next time I'd like to have everything the recipe calls for but I'm also worried about flaming the cognac and dropping the match in the stew. She does a beautiful demonstration of this in the video from the link above, but I'm still intimidated.

Anyway, next time you find yourself without absolutely every little thing you need to make culinary perfection, don't worry about it. Just go ahead and make it. Bet it will still turn out tasty.