Sunday, January 30, 2011

Venison Bourguignon

I have been having fun trying out new recipes from a book that Luke got me this Christmas, Nourishing Traditions. This past week I tried their "Beef Bourgignon" recipe with venison instead because we have a lot of that right now. Here is the recipe (with my additions in parenthesis) with some pictures that I took of some of the steps along the way. The recipe is found on page 336 of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Beef Bourguignon
3 pounds stew beef (or venison), cut into 2" pieces
2 cups red wine
4 cups beef stock
6 tbsp butter
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/2 cup unbleached flour
several small slivers of orange peel (didn't use)
several springs of fresh thyme tied together (used 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp dried green peppercorns, crushed (used red)
1 lb fresh mushrooms
2 pounds medium boiling onions
sea salt and pepper

Marinate beef in wine for several hours or overnight.
(I forgot about this and so mine only marinated for 2 hours. It still turned out well. And don't throw the wine away, you will use it later in the recipe! If I wouldn't have read the directions well, I would've done that probably.)

Remove and dry well with paper towels. This is important. If beef is too wet it will not brown.

Melt 3 tbsp of each butter and oil in a heavy flameproof casserole. (Okay, I guess it might depend on the casserole pan, I used a dutch oven type, but that was way too much oil when I tried this and my meat didn't brown well. My advice would be to only use 3 tbsp of oil.)

Brown the meat cubes in small batches, transferring with a slotted spoon to a plate when done.

When all are browned pour out cooking fat. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the casserole, let it melt and add flour. Cook the flour in the butter, stirring constantly for several minutes. Add wine from the marinade and the stock.

Bring to a boil, stirring up scrapings from the bottom of the pan and blend well with a wire whisk. Return meat and juices that have accumulated in the plate. Add thyme, crushed peppercorns and orange peel.

Transfer casserole to a 300-degree oven and cook 3 or 4 hours or until meat is tender. Meanwhile (as in 45 minutes before you're going to take the meat out of the oven), brown the mushrooms, either whole or sliced. Peel the onions (there were directions on the package of pearl onions I got, that made this step much quicker) and saute them gently in butter and oil for about 20 minutes.

When meat is tender, remove from the oven. Season to taste.

Remove thyme (unless you are cheap like me and didn't want to buy fresh). Stir in onions and mushrooms and serve. (I also served it with cooked quinoa to add a little more substance.)

Overall it turned out great! It's a time consuming recipe, but delicious. In Luke, my taste tester's opinion :D it was, "Really good. Tell them I loved it. I really like the spicy-ness. And it tasted even better the next day as leftovers!" So mission accomplished! My husband liked it. And he never even knew until today that there was thyme in it (which he usually dislikes and points out right away even if I try to sneak it in, lol!). And I loved it too.

Now it's your turn to try it.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Fear is Dispelled

"For He Himself is our peace..."

God has been my peace in the last few weeks, despite myself and my circumstances. Fear is something I continually struggle with and have to keep giving to God to heal me.

In the past month I have dealt again with the presence of a rash on my hands and face. (For those of you who don't know last winter's story of my crazy skin issues, you'll have to ask me about it all some other time.) A couple weeks before Christmas it appeared again on my hands, not in full strength, but just enough to freak me out. I was so afraid that last years trial was going to be repeated again. After a few days of silent fearing, I exploded at my poor husband who was only trying to give me ideas of what might help. Luke had been giving me suggestions which he intended for me to at least try. After my yelling at him, he calmly said something along the lines of, "Dessa, I don't know if this is the full reason that God is having you deal with this, but I want to you to talk to God right now and see if He might be giving you this trial to force you to deal with any sin that might be in your life. Take a real close look." And he walked off, leaving me there to think and pray. And I did just that. I was humbled by what God showed me--a spirit of rebellion in my heart towards Luke's authority and leadership in our home. Ouch. I confessed that sin to the LORD and to Luke. Was I immediately healed? No...but God gave me the peace that I had been asking for all those days that had avoided me. God doesn't give us the peace we pray for when we are in sin, I've found.

My rash slowly went away that week, to only come back a week later on both my hands and face, after spending time around a Christmas tree. What I now believe to be at least part of my problem is a pine tree oil allergy (based on a lot of what went on last year). But you know what?!! I didn't freak out! I had a complete and utter confidence in God! I was blessed by the peace that God can give. The rash is now gone again.

God is healing me. He has healed me in the flesh (for now anyway), but most of all He is in the process of healing my soul and spirit from the affects of my sin. I pray that God would keep me close to Him, no matter what happens in the flesh. I pray that I wouldn't live in rebellious sin, but submit to the LORD and my husband.

As Elizabeth George says in her book A Woman After God's Own Heart,
"Faith is the opposite of fear...It is by faith that you and I believe that God works in our lives directly through our husbands. It is by faith in our sovereign God that we trust that God knows our husbands' decisions and the end results of those decisions, and trusting that God redeems, if not guides, those decisions. And so it is by faith in God that our fear is dispelled and we gain the strength to submit."