Boeuf Bourguignon with Baguette Dumplings

27 April 2012

Post image for Boeuf Bourguignon with Baguette Dumplings

If you love beef stews, you will love this French classic, boeuf bourguignon. With the weather in Zurich being its typical and formidable grey in April, beef stew has been on the menu a few times in recent weeks, but having cooked my way partly through Rachel Khoo’s wonderful new cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen, I was drawn to her recipe for boeuf bourguignon because of her pairing with baguette dumplings. I instantly loved the sound of these dumplings and was curious to see if they could provide a fresh change to this classic dish which is so often served just with boiled or mashed potatoes.

The ingredients for boeuf bourguignon are nothing too different to your usual beef stew. The dish is thought to have its origin in the Burgundy region of France but each region has its own version of this classic dish, using its local red wine. As red wine is the predominant flavour in this dish, it would be wise to use a good-quality wine, one which isn’t necessarily expensive, nor a Burgundy (unless you need to impress). I often make this dish with a Pinot Noir or a Côtes-du-Rhône, nothing too expensive but good enough to also drink with the meal later. If you’re not prepared to drink the wine, don’t invest 3 hours cooking with it.

The baby onions are a must in this dish, as are the mushrooms, as a way of introducing vegetables in what is otherwise a meat-heavy dish. So despite the tedium of peeling a dozen baby onions, you will be thankful later when everyone is trying to fish about for something to eat alongside a large chunk of meat.

And the dumplings themselves cannot be simpler to make. The idea for the dumplings came about as a way to use up leftover stale baguettes. Although Rachel stipulates 200 g of stale baguette, this equates to a whole baguette in my neck of the woods. So I set about buying an extra baguette to leave for a few days to become stale. Tough task given that we go through bread pretty quickly in our home, and a guilt-ridden task given that hubby went without breakfast one morning upon realising that this entire baguette loaf had been reserved for dinner that night. But it was all for a good cause …

As you can see from the photos, the baguette I used is pretty thin and crusty. It is important that the bread is stale for this recipe so that it can soak up all of the milk but not go mushy. Trust me – I made these dumplings again a few nights later with somewhat fresh bread and the result was very sticky and messy. That said, once the dumplings were cooked, they still tasted delicious.

The star of this recipe is definitely the baguette dumplings. I’m not sure I’ve tried anything like it before and so it’s difficult to describe how they taste. Think savoury fried eggy bread. They were absolutely delicious on their own and were the perfect accompaniment to the boeuf bourguignon, both in taste and as a way to mop up some of that lovely sauce. The recipe states that it serves 4 to 6 but my husband and I finished the entire serving of baguette dumplings between ourselves! Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted to that here …

I can’t wait to make these baguette dumplings again and think they would be great alongside other stews as an alternative to, or alongside, boiled potatoes.

But this meal was not all about the baguette dumplings … the boeuf bourguignon was also excellent. I’ve made this dish many times in the past and Rachel’s recipe is not too dissimilar from others which I have tried. I know Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver have been promoting as of late that you do not need to brown the meat, that this step makes no difference to the end result. I beg to differ. I think browning the meat and letting it caramelise is an important step in order to add depth and flavour to the sauce.

But one thing which has often stressed me out is flouring the meat before I brown it. By the second or third batch of meat, I often find that the flour is beginning to burn and the pan is starting to smoke like crazy. So now I don’t flour the meat at all before I brown it, but that once I return all of the meat to the pan, I then sprinkle over the flour and let it cook away for a minute or two. Much less stressful and you won’t have burnt bits in your stew later.

All in all, another successful recipe from The Little Paris Kitchen, and perhaps my favourite recipe so far from this book. Stay tuned for more recipe reviews from this wonderful book :-)

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah de Bevy de La Faverge 27 April 2012 at 1:48 pm

This looks scrumptious Creme and just the weather for it! Hubby makes similar dumplings called Knodel (buy they are without the bread crust) really good and as you say a change from the normal dumplings/potatoes etc. Fabulous photos too, as usual!

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eat, little bird 27 April 2012 at 6:37 pm

Thanks, Hannah! :-) I’ve also tried Knödel but I think they were steamed dumplings. This was actually a few years ago in Austria where a good friend celebrated her birthday with the most amazing buffet of local Austrian food, including Knödel which was served alongside a stew of some sorts … my memory is bit hazy now! But they were so delicious! Given that Rachel Khoo is part Austrian, I wonder if these baguette dumplings draw some inspiration from the Knödel? Given the bright spark she has given to French cuisine, imagine what she could do with Austrian cuisine!

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Reed 2 November 2013 at 12:01 pm

Knodels are most often boiled potato dumplings and are a local dishes for many central European countries such as Austria, Poland, Czech Rep etc.

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Ann Koekepan 27 April 2012 at 1:50 pm

Oh, love the new pictures you added. Love in fact the look of your blog.
Another to do from your blog for my list but first the wonderful, beautiful looking rhubarb cake.

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eat, little bird 27 April 2012 at 6:37 pm

Thank you, Ann! I can’t wait for you to try the Rhubarb Custard Tea Cake! Please keep me posted :-)

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Caroline 27 April 2012 at 2:01 pm

Oh Thanh, what a post! What pictures!!! I love the first ingredients piccie, and admire your patient resolve to get the three bay leaves, just so! I so admire the clean, streamlined, classic look of your photos :-) As for the stew, oh it has to be one of the best ever created. The baguette dumplings sound so very intriguing, the almost french equivalent to american biscuits, no?? It sounds like it would be a wonderful accompaniment to a light, broth like chicken stew and can’t help thinking of an asian slant to these already! Your poor Hubby, hahah! I cannot believe he listened and walked away from the bread. Brad would scowl and tell me where I should go!

I will definitely do this but it will have to wait at the end of the year again. It’s hitting 35 deg C now, at 10am so there is no chance a hearty, bolstering, full-on stew like this would be welcome at the moment.

FANTASTIC post ;-) I have to get this book. Miss Khoo should be paying you commission!!

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eat, little bird 27 April 2012 at 6:46 pm

I don’t think these baguette dumplings are typical in France, although they now should be! As Hannah has alluded, I think these dumplings are closer to the Austrian Knödel which are steamed dumplings, typically served alongside meat or stews. But unlike the Knödel which are really light and fluffy, these baguette dumplings are much more dense, but in a good way.

I’m thinking I might make these baguette dumplings to serve alongside ALL stews, LOL! But you’ve made a good suggestion … I reckon American biscuits would also be great with boeuf bourguignon! Yum!!

If it’s blisteringly hot where you are, I think it would also be wise to wait until the end of the year before you embark on this recipe. We thought spring had arrived early in Switzerland but we then had a cold snap in the last few weeks where it has rained and snowed, providing me with the perfect excuse to make this dish :-)

I wonder what Mademoiselle Khoo thinks of me blogging about her book … it can only be a good thing, no?

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Caroline 30 April 2012 at 6:55 pm

Definitely :-) She’d be daft not to!

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eat, little bird 30 April 2012 at 6:57 pm

I hope so! I’ve tried quite a few recipes but haven’t had a chance to photograph some of them, but I will still blog about them somewhere soon. Some recipes have been really good, some have been so-so … But that’s to be expected of any cookbook, I guess :-)

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Mandy_C 27 April 2012 at 3:16 pm

Oh, how I wish I had a bowl of this in front of me right now. It is a grey, damp, miserable day here and this would be the perfect dish.

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eat, little bird 27 April 2012 at 6:48 pm

Oh I hope the weather picks up in London soon! It’s going to be 24°C in Zurich tomorrow :-) That said, I’m almost sad that I’m unlikely to make this dish again until autumn/winter … those dumplings are heavenly!

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Kristin 27 April 2012 at 5:03 pm

You had me at dumplings! I was in the bookshop this morning and finally got a chance to flip through this book. I wound up getting two books for my kids instead (oh, the sacrifices we make!), but I’ll definitely be buying it at some point.

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eat, little bird 27 April 2012 at 6:50 pm

Oh I’m sure your kiddies will appreciate the gesture :-) I’ve surprised myself by how much I have cooked from this book since I bought it a few weeks ago. I’m not sure this has happened to me with any other cookbook. It’s fun when you find a cookbook that resonates with you :-)

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Anita Menon 28 April 2012 at 1:27 pm

That looks so classy. I wish I ate beef but I don’t. This looks so good. The photography is beyond amazing. I end up buying books on baking and none on cooking because there is very little that appeals to me in a cook book. We don’t eat most kinds of meat and sea food :-(

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eat, little bird 29 April 2012 at 1:18 pm

Thank you, Anita :-) I haven’t worked out yet which I enjoy more – cooking or baking. But I’m rather selective about which cookbooks I buy because the recipes have to appeal to me when I am flicking through the book.

Being a vegetarian certainly limits the types of recipes you can try but, as you would know, it should not limit the taste of your meals. I would certainly make these baguette dumplings to serve alongside a vege stew, something where you might serve it with boiled or mashed potatoes.

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Anita Menon 3 May 2012 at 5:59 am

that’s a great suggestion. Thanks so much!

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Liz Headon 28 April 2012 at 1:41 pm

What fascinating dumplings ! I came across bread based dumplings in Prague, but the bread must have been fine crumbs which were then incorporated into a dough. These sound very different.

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eat, little bird 29 April 2012 at 1:22 pm

Liz, these dumplings are really delicious! The moment I started to fry them in the butter and had the wonderful aroma waft up to my nose, I knew they would taste great. I’ve also tried dumplings in Prague and they were quite different to these. Actually, I didn’t really like the dumplings in Prague! Maybe it was because we ate a place which was catering to tourists and didn’t seem to focused on their cooking, but I didn’t try any other dumpling in Prague after that! Though, we did stumble across some amazing restaurants in Prague which were out of the tourist areas, one being a Thai restaurant which served probably one of the best Thai meals I have had in my life! I initially didn’t think Prague would be a foodie destination but I certainly left with lots of good food memories.

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Mathilda 30 April 2012 at 1:37 pm

I am also very curious about those baguette dumplings, it looks delicious !

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eat, little bird 30 April 2012 at 6:53 pm

I bet the French now wish they came up with this idea! ;-) But it’s a lovely way of using up stale baguette, and an even more delicious way of serving boeuf bourguignon. I will definitely be making these dumplings again and again :-)

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Heather 30 April 2012 at 5:31 pm

I love your pictures. They are gorgeous. Even though I am a vegetarian, you make this dish look really good.

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eat, little bird 30 April 2012 at 6:55 pm

Oh thank you, Heather! Even though you wouldn’t want to sit down to a plate of boeuf bourguignon, I highly recommend the baguette dumplings :-)

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Reem | Simply Reem 1 May 2012 at 12:17 am

Beautiful!!!
Absolutely gorgeous photography, This dish is screaming comfort in every click..

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eat, little bird 2 May 2012 at 1:00 pm

Thank you, Reem!! It is a very comforting dish and I’m tempted to make it again very soon … or maybe just the dumplings! ;-)

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2peasandapot 2 May 2012 at 3:42 pm

Great picture! Even better idea with the dumplings. Usually I just toast up a buttered baguette and serve alongside, but this seems a nice twist.

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eat, little bird 2 May 2012 at 4:20 pm

A toasted baguette is always delicious with boeuf bourguignon, but turning the baguette into some dumplings is – now that I’ve tried it – even better :-)

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Little Kitchie 10 December 2012 at 12:40 am

WOW! I just found your blog when searching for this recipe (saw it on TV yesterday). Your entire site is GORGEOUS! I just spent over an hour reading through it and oohing and aching. :)

I’m going to make this for a special date night with my husband this week. He used to live in Paris and misses it a lot. I think a big bowl of this will ease the pain! :)

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eat, little bird 12 December 2012 at 2:02 pm

Oh thank you :-) I hope you’ve enjoyed browsing through my blog. With the weather cooling down significantly where we are, I think this dish will be on the menu again very soon. The baguette dumplings are just divine! The perfect meal for a date night, I think ;-)

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Little Kitchie 10 December 2012 at 12:41 am

*oops, meant oohing and AHHHing, not aching!

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melissa 6 February 2013 at 3:03 pm

I just discovered your blog when looking for reviews of this recipe online before I tried it myself. You’ve inspired me to make this version tonight. May I say your photography and food styling is so beautiful. I simply cannot wait to leisurely peruse your blog!

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eat, little bird 10 February 2013 at 11:20 am

Thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed making this dish. I’m planning on making it again soon, especially since the weather has been freezing where we are. Plus, I just adore these baguette dumplings. I hope you will enjoy browsing my blog :-)

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Shari Eckstrom 14 September 2013 at 2:35 pm

Your pictures are beautiful. Looking forward to making those dumplings. They look amazing!

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eat, little bird 17 September 2013 at 10:32 pm

Thank you! These baguette dumplings are really delicious. I hope you will enjoy them!

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