Ina Garten’s Beef Bourguignon ~ the ultimate homey dish from the Queen of comfort food herself! This easy beef stew will quickly become a family favorite.
I have to say right up front that I am a little biased…Ina Garten is by far my chef. She’s like Martha without the ego, Julia without ‘the voice’ and the crazy techniques, Nigella without the suggestive spoon licking, Rachel without the hyper-chatter, and Paula without the gooey this and gooey that. She’s kinda perfect. In a good way.
I could have chosen a million different dishes to make in honor of Ina, but I chose Beef Bourguignon because it represents a lot of what she’s all about. I would classify Ina’s style as simple, classic American comfort food, influenced by a passion for French life and cuisine. She and her husband Jeffrey made a four month sojourn to France early in their marriage that inspired a lifelong love of all things French. Throughout her career Ina has explored French cooking and has infused a French attitude towards food into her classic American dishes. Here she’s taken the venerable Beef Bourguignon, a dish that Julia Child taught us to make in excruciating detail, and simplified it… made it more friendly.
Her recipes are so well loved that they have a tendency to morph into family favorites and become so entrenched in our kitchens that we claim them as our own…her Parmesan Chicken has become one of ‘my’ signature dishes, the way so many recipes from the Joy of Cooking or Fannie Farmer have been been assimilated into our food culture over the generations. Part of the reason for this is that Ina’s recipes are almost always foolproof. You can count on them.
For me, anyway, the appeal of Ina’s cooking style is that it’s not overly ‘branded’; it’s not regional, ready in 30 minutes, diet-friendly or swimming in butter. From coconut cupcakes and lemon curd to lentil soup, it’s real food for real people, and whatever Ina is cooking is always exactly what I feel like eating.
But Ina’s franchise is as much about a lifestyle as it is about recipes. It’s the dreamy Hamptons New York world of cute little butcher shops, cheese mongers and creative florists whom Ina calls upon to help her craft parties, gatherings, or even just a special dinner for two. It’s a world where you walk outside your kitchen door into a sprawling herb garden, your adoring husband (and biggest fan) is always arriving home from work or a business trip just in time for his favorite perfectly roasted chicken, and neighbors pop over eager to barter something amazing in exchange for a batch of your brownies.
And somehow Ina manages to convey all this without a hint of superiority or entitlement. Maybe it’s her self-effacing giggle, that adorable upturned nose, or the swing of her impossibly shiny bob. She’s your dear friend next door, the aunt you always wanted, your best inner self.
Did I mention that I love Ina?
For more of Ina inspired recipes on the blog…
- INA GARTEN’S MUSTARD ROASTED CHICKEN
- 1770 HOUSE MEATLOAF
- LEMON CHICKEN SALAD WITH BUTTERMILK DRESSING
- INA GARTEN’S COCONUT CUPCAKES
Notes: I was too chicken to ignite the cognac, I just let it evaporate ‘naturally’. I also added the carrots along with the mushrooms towards the end of the cooking process instead of in the beginning with the onions. I really don’t like mushy carrots. I skipped the bacon (I was out) and used half the bottle of wine. It all turned out wonderfully.
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