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    Notes - December 16, 2015

    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music

    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache, Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael David 6th Sense Syrah, Michael David Petite Petit.

    Have a listen!

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    This classic chicken liver paté recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine. We serve this by itself with most types of red wine and whites like Rueda, Pinot Grigio and Cava. The only additions we ever make are a few brined green peppercorns on top for a little bite and a bit of crunch. This recipe is also part of the ‘Mount Everest’ of Christmas dinners, Classic Beef Wellington. It’s quite a bit of work, but the result is spectacular and delicious. In case you are curious, here’s the full recipe.

    Beef Bourguignon

    This recipe is referred to by the CBC and Canadian Living as a ‘classic’ and relatively easy preparation of the dish. Enjoy it with any red wine. This dish is a great one to make ahead of time and re-heat when serving.

    If you are interested in spending a couple of days (really) to make an authentic version, check out Fine Cooking’s Masterclass recipe here.

    1 pkg (14 g) dried porcini mushrooms
    3 lb (1.5 kg) boneless beef cross rib pot roast
    4 oz (125 g) thickly sliced bacon, chopped
    3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil
    1 each onion and large carrot, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
    1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
    1-1/2 cups (375 mL) red wine, (such as Pinot Noir or Merlot)
    1/2 cups (125 mL) beef broth
    3 sprigs fresh parsley
    2 sprigs fresh thyme
    2 bay leaves
    1 pkg (10 oz/284 g) pearl onions
    1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
    3 cups (750 mL) button mushrooms
    2 tbsp (25 mL) brandy
    2 tbsp (25 mL) minced fresh parsley

    Soak dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup (125 mL) hot water for 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, trim fat from beef; cut meat into 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) cubes and set aside.

    In Dutch oven, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from pan.

    Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil to pan; brown beef, in 3 batches and adding remaining oil as necessary. Transfer to bowl. Drain fat from pan.

    Add chopped onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper to pan; cook over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

    Reserving soaking liquid, remove mushrooms and chop; add to pan along with soaking liquid, wine and broth. Bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits. Tie parsley, thyme and bay leaves together with string. Add to pan along with bacon, beef and any juices. Cover and braise in 325°F (160°C) oven until meat is fork-tender, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

    Meanwhile, in pot of boiling water, boil pearl onions for 3 minutes; drain and chill in cold water. Peel and trim, leaving root ends intact. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat; brown pearl onions, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl.

    Add mushrooms to skillet; fry until browned, about 5 minutes.

    With slotted spoon, remove beef to separate bowl. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and brandy to liquid in Dutch oven; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened and onions are tender, about 25 minutes. Discard herbs. Return beef to pan and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

    Slow-Cooker Boeuf Bourguignon:
    Reduce wine to 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) and beef stock to 1/2 cup (125 mL). Omit flour. Follow recipe except put everything (including browned pearl onions) in slow cooker instead of Dutch oven. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until beef is fork-tender. Add browned mushrooms and brandy. Whisk flour with 1/2 cup (125 mL) water and add to slow cooker; cover and cook on high heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.

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