As Mother's Day approaches, many of us are searching for the perfect way to show our mums just how much we appreciate them. And what better way to celebrate the occasion than with a special Mother's Day dinner? First things first, however; here's a piece of advice for entertaining a group — make a large batch of just a few things and serve it family-style. Reduce the strain of over-catering with a multi-item menu and serve only a few dishes that are expertly executed. Ideally, these dishes should not require:
• Hours of prep
• Standing in front of the stove, stirring, flipping, or rotating
• Intricate assembling techniques (hello, sui mai)
• The use of more than one motorised kitchen tool
Plus, family-style dining allows for guest interaction and promotes social skills. Now if that doesn't please mum nothing else will! When thinking of what to serve, to borrow from a famous slogan, "Beef: it's what's for dinner".
Beef bourguignon is ideal for serving at a dinner party. The classic French beef stew is both rustic and fancy; however, the traditional method is involved and takes hours. But, after discovering a simplified version of Julia Child's classic boeuf bourguignon, there's no going back. The addition of mushrooms, smoky bacon, and red wine elevates the humble beef stew into something magnificent. Serve alongside mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables for a fantastic meal. Don't worry, the recipe has been included.
Not sure who started the rumour, but roast beef is not a complicated dish. It begins with a quality piece of meat that is seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs. That's it. The result is delicious, moist and seems as if a lot more effort went into it. Impress mum with a show-stopping roast served with roasted potatoes, glazed carrots and a hearty salad.
Another dish whose delightful taste belies its simplicity to execute. Braised to flavourful perfection, short ribs are no-fuss and easily married to a variety of sides from cornbread to rice and peas.
Want something even simpler? Well, why not opt for a cowboy steak? Sometimes referred to a tomahawk steak (the bone is left in and, at some angles, the piece of meat can resemble an axe), cowboy steaks are thick cuts of ribeye that, once grilled, apportioned and paired with hearty sides, can easily serve a table full of hungry people.
So, whether you choose to stew, braise, or grill on Mother's Day, think beef served family-style.
Quick & Easy Beef Bourguignon for Eight
4 lbs boneless stewing beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 slices of thick bacon, chopped
2 cups onions, sliced
4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups beef broth
2 cups dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Pinot Noir)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Season beef cubes with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven or stockpot, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat.
Add beef, and cook for two to three minutes, until browned on the outside. Remove and set aside.
Heat remaining oil, add mushrooms and onions; cook until tender and brown. Remove and set aside.
To the same pot, add bacon and cook until all the fat is rendered. Add tomato paste, garlic and thyme.
Cook and stir for one minute.
Add flour; stir for a minute. Add cooked mushrooms, broth and wine; heat to boiling.
When the sauce is slightly thickened reduce heat to low, add beef and cook until tender (or to the desired doneness).
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