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  • Writer's pictureCoco

Just a Bunch of Old Wives' Tales

Updated: May 25, 2018

You just woke up, and it is cold outside – at least in the middle of the winter in Montana! – and you are already thinking of dinner, the kind of dinner that will spread its aroma throughout the house… a hot, hearty, country stew… something different tonight. Why not try a Bœuf Bourguignon?

“Boeuf” for beef, and “Bourguignon” for Burgundy – the region of Burgundy where it comes from, but also the red wine of Burgundy that it is made with. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

The Burgundy area is famous for its “Charolaises”, its cows - the white ones. Add to that some cottage bacon, some carrots, garlic, rosemary, maybe some mushrooms, and you have a delicious Boeuf Bourguignon, which we traditionally serve with potatoes or pasta – I like to serve it with pasta, but that is a question of preference.

Of course, it is served with a wine from Burgundy. Bearing in mind that the success of the dish depends on the quality of the meat and the quality of the wine, you may want to serve the same wine as your cooking wine … That’s what a fine restaurant would do. You can save a bit of money and use a cheaper wine to cook your Boeuf Bourguignon, but you still need to serve a nice Burgundy wine as your pairing wine to drink.

The success of the dish also depends on the carrots. They need to be fresh and tasty, and they need to be bright in color. If they meet those criteria, then they will add a good, final, important touch.

One serving of carrots covers 200% of our daily needs in betacarotene.

What are the benefits of the betacarotene? Healthy skin, a boost for the immune system, good for your eyesight and for the general health of your eyes. Also, carrots are a good source of potassium, calcium and magnesium.

How to choose them? The color must be bright. The leaves must be fresh, not tired. Try to buy them with the leaves, because it is the leaves that reveal the freshness. Once you buy them with the leaves, cut off the leaves before storing the carrots in the refrigerator, otherwise the carrots will put all their energy into the leaves, and they will soon be depleted from their water content.

And finally, a carrot can stay fresh, meaning that it can keep its moisture, for at least a week in the refrigerator.

My grandparents grew a lot of vegetables in their garden, and when one vegetable was ready to harvest, you knew it, because you had it on your plate twice a day for many days. Such was the case with carrots.

My grandmother had all kinds of ways to push her carrots. I usually left them half buried in the dark sauce of the Boeuf Bourguignon and sometimes under a forgotten bay leaf, but she would always catch those in the corner of her eyes. Her best trick was to tell me that, if I ate my carrots, I would get a tan. And in those days, girls competed for the best tan!

The truth is, because the betacarotene is a strong pigment, your skin would probably start turning slightly orange should you eat a large, very large quantity of the vegetable day after day for three months or more. As a result, I will give my grandmother some credit, but not a full credit. She was pointing in the right direction … although pigmentation and sun tan are two different things. Grandmothers will try anything to get some results.

She also told me that carrots bring you happiness, put you in a good mood, … and give you optimism. Ohh…, Grandma…!

If you would like to try my recipe of Boeuf Bourguignon, please look in the “Cook” section of this web site, or just click on the following link:

Merci, et bon appetit!

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