Boeuf… It’s What’s For Dinner

I don’t speak a lick of French, but I love the cooking terms.  They make me feel more animated.  (Not that I need any help in that department.)  Try saying ragout without a hearty goo on the second syl-la-ble, or mirepoix without a saucy little kiss at the end.  (Julia Child I’m not, but there’s joie de vivre in my kitchen!)

Earlier this month, we feasted on a fabulous roast infused with garlic and smeared with Dijon.  “Pardon me, but would you happen to have...  (Yes, the chauffeur was undeniably British, but Grey Poupon remains indelibly etched in my mind.)

After we ate our fill, I relegated the rest to the freezer for future consideration.  Then inspiration struck.  Voila!  Ragout.

Traditionally, ragout is prepared by searing fresh cubes of meat and simmering them to perfection.  However, my schedule requires speeding things up now and then — kinda like being on “Chopped” in the comfort of my own home, without Ted Allen.

But no matter how rushed I am, a mirepoix is a must.  The marvel of this 2:1:1 ratio of onions, carrots and celery cannot be overstated.  (Unless you dice the onions last — then it’s 1:1:2.)

Confession.  For all of my French word frenzy, I forgot to add one vital ingredient: Cabernet.  I dispensed it in a goblet instead…

Weeknight Ragout

Leftover roast beef (preferrably using this recipe)

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 c. onion, diced

1/2 c. carrot, diced

1/2 c. celery, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c. beef broth or bouillon — another fun word!

1 c. red potatoes (unpeeled), cubed

1 fresh tomato, seeded and chopped

Cabernet, to taste…

1/4 t. ground thyme

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Green onion tops sliced diagonally, for garnish

Cut the roast into cubes; set aside.  Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or heavy kettle, sauté the onions, carrots and celery in oil until translucent.  (Take your time — “sweating” brings out the maximum flavor.)  Add garlic; sauté briefly until fragrant.

Pour in broth and bring mixture to a boil.  Add potatoes and tomato.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are barely tender.  If desired, add wine.  (Or not…)  Stir in beef and thyme.  Simmer until heated through.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls.  Garnish with green onion tops.  Makes 2 lovely servings.

One last thing.  Ragout is generally more of a stew, thickened with a roux.  Woohoo.  But I was content with the way this turned out, so I served it au naturel. ;)  C’est la vie!

Enjoying ma petite foray in the kitchen,

~ Kim

25 thoughts on “Boeuf… It’s What’s For Dinner

  1. Bonjour, Mademoiselle! I speak French too! Yipee! Besides this lovely phrase & Bon appétit, I know the vocab in menu too; like amuse-bouche, entrée & oh, oh, oh, my fave Foie Gras. Oops! Hahaha! That’s about all I know. LOL!

    I love ragout but have never tried making it. Kim, u seem to be enjoying a high life too. Having Cabernet? Cool! It sounds so romantic. Life’s short, so we must enjoy while we can :)

    • Absolutely, Shirley! Any meal can be made special with love and care, eh? I generally cook from scratch so I use the “grocery budget extra” for life’s little luxuries: good wine, fresh flowers now and then, and chocolate! :)
      ~ Kim

  2. For a very long time I stopped eating all forms of animal protein. It was one of my many nutritional “experiments.” I have since reintroduced some of that meat back into my diet—not because I really missed it. It’s the “experience” of savoring a meal like the one you prepared here, with all of it charm and history and unspoken secrets. What kind of wine did they drink? Did they eat the meal on the deck, wrapped in blankets, listening to the lapping of water? Did they have a little chocolate for dessert?

    Thank you for reminding me to savor EVERY meal. . .

    • Sue Ann, I was a vegetarian during one stretch in my life until the thought of a bacon cheeseburger did me in. Now I, too, “experiment” with my nutrition and only eat what makes me “feel good.” Especially chocolate. :)
      ~ Kim
      P.S. Loved your thoughts about our meal — other than the blankets, yes ma’am! (Will do the “bundled up dinner setting” now that the weather’s cooler!)

  3. Onions, Carrots an Celery the holy trinity of French cuisine.. I love French cooking terms too.
    Wen I was 19 I moved from Dublin to London an got a job at a high end French restaurant and all the orders were called in French it was truly scary for the first few weeks.

    Votre ragoût est délicieux, je suis sûr

    • Just goes to prove that you don’t have to be a classically trained chef to know what you like to EAT. :) That dish was another flea market find — it says “Made in Montana” on the back and I’d love to know the history behind it. Another project for a rainy day… :) Thanks, Heather!
      ~ Kim

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