The other day, I was feeling real fancy and wanted to make “bœuf à la bourguignonne,” so I went to the source for French cooking, the Larousse Gastronomique.
My copy has been in my life since college (a very, very long time ago) and it’s still a useful resource when a recipe calls for historical accuracy. Guess what, y’all. “Bœuf à la bourguignonne” is pretty much beef stew! And also a great way to use up the rest of a bottle of red wine someone left in your fridge. Turns out I had sort of made it before, and just didn’t know.
The Larousse, as always, did not let me down and the stew was delicious. We ate it with crusty French bread and gorgonzola creamed spinach. That was a pretty good Saturday.
The next day, I headed to my Sunday Funday Ladies’ Supper Club, which meets once a month and is pretty much the highlight of any given month. This month’s hostess prepared a gorgeous sit-down dinner with vintage china, copious amounts of good wine, and loads of excellent conversation. We are a fun group of ladies — it says so right there in the name of our club. The main course was a vegan version of Smitten Kitchen’s mushroom bourguignon, served over polenta. It was a weekend full of bourguignon, and you should try it.
While I was at supper club, my family finished off the bœuf à la bourguignonne for supper, which I didn’t know because they left a container of the sauce. With no beef. (Thanks, guys.) All was not lost! Inspired by my hostess the day before, I cooked a bunch of portabella mushrooms in the leftover beef sauce and poured it over some day old baguette. You should do this. Seriously, now. It was so good I felt a little guilty for not sharing. (Not that guilty, because my family did fail to tell me they ate all the beef. Also, they ate all the beef.)
Making a roast, whether it’s chicken, beef, or pork, often results in leftover gravy or sauce that’s far too rich to eat on its own. Why not add vegetables and call it a brand new meal? After all, you just had a big hunk of meat, so now is a great time for vegetables. Also? If you’re me? I know you have some in your fridge that just need cooking.
Y’all know I’m a big believer in the continued usefulness of leftover food. Just like a seasoned Goodwill shopper, I know that leftovers have a second and glorious life still to come.