We’re on a French food kick at the moment.
It has a lot to do with our recent travels to France. But it’s also because French food is just plain delicious.
Contrary to expectation, our November foray in France wasn’t filled with Michelin starred dining experiences. We were too busy touring chateaux in the Loire Valley and driving through Paris in a vintage Citroen convertible to do our usual food scouting.
[We know, we know… we can’t complain.]
Rather than make reservations like any self-respecting traveler might, we simply wandered around and found the closest creperie or the cutest, most convenient café in our given neighborhood.
The results were not disappointing: Moules frites near the Louvre, sweet and savory crepes in St. Germain des Pres, baguette and cheese near the Palais Garnier, and beef bourguignon in Beaune.
Despite these delicious discoveries, the true hallmark of our French escapades did not come to us on a plate – it came to us in a bottle. Many bottles, to be precise.
The final stop on our travels was Burgundy [or, more appropriately, Bourgogne] in Eastern France, home of the Côte d’Or escarpment, which produces some of the finest – and most expensive! – wines on the planet. We had the distinct privilege of sipping our way through the Route des Grands Crus from Dijon in the north to Beaune toward the south.
What we tasted was almost as impressive as what we learned.
Here in Bourgogne, Pinot Noir grapes are simply a translator of the soil. Prestigious classifications of Premier Crus and Grand Crus are determined not by their taste, but by the makeup of the earth from which they were grown. The different Climats of Burgundy were originally mapped out by early Cistercian monks and have continued to serve as the foundation of oenological understanding in the region.
What impressed us the most was how much wine is revered in Bourgogne.
Instead of producing as much wine as possible for maximum distribution revenue, winemakers only bottle the very best in a given harvest [which means some years, they bottle nothing at all!]. They also do not use any types of pesticides or irrigation systems, favoring instead the divine providence of Mother Nature and her ebb and flow of sun and rain and drought and disease.
Best of all, additives are banned.
Trust us, after an entire day of tastings [or even a bottle shared at night] this matters. Clean wine without the sulfites leaves little chance for headaches and hangovers – something we experienced firsthand after an entire day in the vineyards.
The problem is organic, clean wine such as those produced in Burgundy are practically nonexistent elsewhere. Most of the wines bottled and sold in the States and around the world happily incorporate additives if it means producing more product for the masses.
That’s why it felt practically like kismet when our friend Courtney reached out to our exhausted toddler-rearing selves with the promise of good, clean wine from Scout & Cellar in our near future. Having just experienced the organic and vastly superior wines of Burgundy, we were ready to jump on the clean wine train closer to home and learn more about her business.
All of Scout & Cellar’s wines are grown naturally without the use of synthetic pesticides or added sugars and chemicals to modify their flavor or color. The result is wine that is just as nature intended it to be — and just like those we came to respect during our travels in France.
If you want to learn more about Scout & Cellar’s clean-crafted wines, we highly recommend giving our friend Courtney a call. There are opportunities to join as a member of their wine club, host a wine tasting for your friends and family, or become an expert consultant yourself.
Let’s just say we’re hooked.
Because if we can’t make it back to Burgundy to replenish our supply of feel-good wine, then at least we know we have an amazing resource available to us from the comfort of our own home. Here’s how to learn more:
We had the most delicious beef bourguignon in Bourgogne. Ever since, we’ve been dying to recreate it in our own kitchen. We dare say this recipe is even better than the original, but that’s because we cheated: we leaned on our newly gifted Instant Pot to take out a fair bit of the cook time. But don’t worry… you can still make it the old-fashioned way and cook the beef for several hours with a lid slightly cracked on the stove. Either way, we guarantee your house will be filled with delightful aromatic smells. For an extra special touch, we suggest pairing the beef bourguignon with a nice, clean Pinot Noir. The Resident by Scout & Cellar was the ideal velvety complement to our little taste of France and served as a delightful reminder of the clean Burgundy wines of our travels.
- 8 oz. bacon, cut into small strips
- 2 to 3 lbs. chuck roast, chunked
- Flour for coating beef
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 lb. carrots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 c. chicken stock
- 2 heaping Tbs. Better Than Bouillon dissolved in 2 c. water [or 2 c. beef stock]
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 c. red wine [whatever you like to drink while you cook!]
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large sauté pan over med-high heat, cook all of the bacon until crispy. Remove and add to the Instant Pot. Drain most of the fat, but leave some in the pan to sauté the beef.
- Salt and pepper the beef, then generously coat the beef with flour. Sauté the beef in the pan, working in batches, making sure to caramelize on most of the sides before placing in the Instant Pot. Continue to sauté the beef until it is browned on all sides. If you run out of fat in the pan, add bacon grease or butter.
[We find that sometimes the bottom of the pan gets pretty caked with flour during this process. To prevent, deglaze liberally between beef batches with either red wine or red wine vinegar. If it gets too liquidy in the pan after deglazing, pour the excess liquid into the Instant Pot to preserve flavor.]
- Once all the beef is cooked, sauté half the fresh thyme with onions and carrots for five minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are caramelized, about 7 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan one last time if needed, then throw everything into the Instant Pot.
- Cover solid ingredients and remaining thyme with chicken and beef stock, tomato paste, and red wine. Do not to fully submerge.
- Cook on high pressure in the Instant Pot for 30 minutes. Release after 10 minutes. If it is a bit thin, you can set Instant Pot to sauté and let it cook down for an additional hour or two until thickened.