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Sides for Beef Bourguignon - Little Jfood Needs

So little jfood sprung a good one on jfood the other night.

"Dad, I invited 12 of my colleagues from work over for dinner next Tuesday and they want you Beef Bourguignon." Jfood's response, "That's fine but I have a client dinner, so it's you and your mom on duty."

So jfood just placed more Beef Bourguignon in the oven than he has ever seen after three hours of prep. Mrs. Jfood wonders over and says, "So what are we preparing for sides."

First idea was roasted potatoes (little jfood wants deperately). She's also decided on a salad with gorg, walnuts and pear with a balsamic vinaigrette. Dessert is a chocolate terrine (mrs jfood specialty) with creme anglais (jfood will make monday night and into the fridge).

Now the question is:

Anything else a 22-year old might pull off with reasonably skills in the kitchen for 13-people sides?


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  1. Maybe sauteed string beans (or French-cut string beans) with slivered almonds. Simple buttered noodles would be good too - to soak up all the delicious sauce from the beef bourguignon! Good luck to Little Jfood - let us know how it turns out! :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sra. Swanky

      I agree whole-heartedly with a sauce soaker-upper. If not buttered noodles, perhaps mashed potatoes?

      1. re: JoanN

        I have made both spaetzle and risotto as sides for Beef Bourguignon, but buttered noodles or roasted potatoes are more traditional. No-knead bread who be very nice, as this meal demands a crusty bread.

    2. I think she needs a green vegetable, jfood, and something simple, not too loaded, to balance the substantial beef, potatoes, terrine.

      Like Sra. S., I thought of string beans, or maybe minted peas.

      Broccoli florettes are a possibility I mention only reluctantly. Its strong flavor not at all my first choice with her menu, but not too much too pile on to the cook's workload.

      Or--asparagus spears, roasted simply with a little oil or butter, S&P, touch of sugar, and then garnished with grated orange peel.

      I like the mint in the peas or the orange peel with the asparagus to offer a little refreshing respite from a delicious but rich menu.

      1. I'd nix the potatoes with boeuf Buirguignon, and go for the more traditional buttered/parslied egg noodles, some super crusty bread, and a tossed green salad with from-scratch vinaigrette. Gorgonzola, walnuts, pears, and balsamic vinegar are too far out, in my opinion, to go with the entree. As for veggies, there are plenty of them in the Bourguignon. If noodles aren't agreeable, I've also been known to serve bulgur with Bourguignon, as well as Stroganoff.

        The best crusty bread I've found in years is Member's Mark (from Sam's) organic Tuscan pan brigio in their frozen food section. I'ts "heat and eat," but it is truly exceptional. Well, I have to confess... I tear off big chunks of crust and throw the bread away. '-)

        3 Replies
        1. re: Caroline1

          I agree with the noodles, and the idea of doing a simpler salad.

          1. re: MMRuth

            I agree with the noodles and simpler salad as well. Serve with a beautiful crusty bread.

            If you feel veggie deprived, try roasted beets. You can do red and gold for contrast if you want. Most everyone will eat them if presented beautifully. Serve warm with your walnuts and gorgonzola if you want. No one says it has the veggie has to be green.

            1. re: RGC1982

              Wholeheartedly agree buttered noodles. Seems more authentic. don't know why.

              Also, easier and do-able by little jfood. Salad is enough green-ness and no need to re-create the world beyond that already created by m/m jfoods. Especially after being "sprung" on.

              Wow...little jfoods sure made good choice of parents out of all the ones available.

        2. Perhaps polenta? Will pair nicely with a rich bourguignon.

          1. My SO and I made beef bourguignon for a dinner party a few weeks ago and decided to forgo the potatoes/noodles route and instead opted for warm crusty rolls (from Balthazar by way of Whole Foods) and slow roasted plum tomatoes. The tomatoes went over really well and turned out to be a very nice pairing - fresh tasting but not too heavy. It was also a nice complement because the tomatoes were a bit sweet so they helped to balance out the saltiness of the stew.

            1. i like the idea of noodles as well... or even orzo to be different... i fear polenta might be too heavy. (if you really want to do something a bit different, use buttered spaghetti squash).

              how about a baked brie with some sort of raspberry or cranberry chutney w/ sliced crostini to start?

              as a vegetable side, i love the idea of sauteed mushrooms with caramelized onions, with or without a little chopped tarragon - not wanting to overpower the meat flavors

              8 Replies
              1. re: Emme

                Excuse me, I don't mean to sound rude, but are you familiar with boeuf Bourguignon? It has pearl onions and mushrooms in the sauce! It's full bodied, made with a good bottle of Burgundy wine, and my recipe includes a bit of cognac as well. No room for chopped tarragon or a side of sauted mushrooms and carmalized onions. That would be redundant with a capital R!

                1. re: Caroline1

                  My recipe does not include them in the suace but suggests them as a garnish; sorry to offend you with my redundancy, but my table has plenty of room for that side dish.

                  1. re: Emme

                    I wasn't offended. I just thought you must have been thinking of another recipe. I just went through a bunch of Bourguignon recipes on line to see if I could find any that don't include mushrooms and onions and I couldn't. BUT... Travesty of travesties! I found a website where they claimed to be presenting Julia Child's recipe for boeuf Bourguignon, and they said SHE suggested making it with Chianti! I find that very hard to swallow (pun intended).

                    But it brings up a pet peeve of mine. This "fusion" cooking thing is turning all of our food into a global porridge! I really liked the distinctive flavors of national and ethnic cooking. They're going the way of regional accents. Radio and television are wiping out regional accents. Do Paula Deen and Alton Brown sound alike? They're both from the south. And I just can't handle sushi with cream cheese and salsa. <sigh> I'm an anachronism in my own time.

                  2. re: Caroline1

                    Sounds like a great recipe. would you care to post it for all of us?


                    1. re: Barbarella

                      Oh dear... Do you know what you're asking? I'm one of those people who cooks by instinct, so I hope I don't leave anything critical out. Here goes:

                      Boeuf Bourguignon (from memory)

                      2 pounds or so of beef, cubed
                      large yellow onion
                      salt pork cut in lardons, maybe 4 ounces or so
                      bouquet garni of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, clove crushed garlic tied in cheese cloth
                      Olive oil (not necessary to use EVOO, just a good cooking grade)
                      cognac or brandy
                      bottle of burgundy, if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it
                      tablespoon of tomato paste
                      beef stock
                      a pint of baby pearl onions
                      a pint of mushrooms
                      Unsalted butter

                      First, some information. I use salt pork because it doesn't have all the nasty chemical flavorings of modern bacon. Look for the fatty kind. You don't want a lot of meat in it. Then cut it into lardons and blanch them several times (put them in cold water, bring to a simmer, discard water, repeat) to take the salt out. They will still render lots of fat!

                      Cooking vessel: I have an old pottery vessel from Mexico I use for braising. It's safe on top of the stove and in the oven. If you don't have such a thing, any kind of vessel that in NON-REACTIVE to acids such as wine and tomato should do. And it helps if it has a lid.

                      Bouquet Garni: Just take a fairly large square of cheese cloth, rinse it well in cold running water to get all of the sizing out, then spread it out and mound your ingredients in the middle, then tie the four corners. It saves a lot of fishing later on. I put my garlic in the bouquet garni, though this isn't traditional, but all I do is smash the clove(s) and dump them in paper and all. Works fine.

                      Now for the cooking: The beef should be a good grade. I prefer USDA choice, but these days you use what you can get. Cut it into cubes about an inch and a half square. Put the flour in a plastic bag, add some salt and pepper, and put in the beef. Shake it well to coat on all sides. Let it sit in the bag while you

                      Render the lardons in the bottom of the pan. Brown lightly, remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Now, TASTE the fat. Over the last decade or so I have had an occasional problem with salt pork that is beyond its prime. If it tastes musty, discard the whole thing and we'll just stick with olive oil for browning, but good salt pork does add a nice dimension. Besides, it's an important part of the traditional "Bourguignon" garniture.

                      Add enough olive oil to brown the beef. Do not crowd the pan. We want to sear, not stew. Remove the browned beef to a bowl and add more until it is all browned. Try very hard not to let the flour in the bottom get too dark. It's the thickener that is critical to the outcome of our dish.

                      Toss in the large onion. Cut it in half, then in large shreds, toss them in, brown lightly to soften, return the meat to the pan. Pour in a shot or two of cognac and ignite. when it is burning low, add the bottle of burgundy, stirring the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add enough beef stock to cover the meat. Toss in the bouquet garni. Either reduce the heat to a very low simmer to continue cooking on top of the stove, or put the lid on tightly and place it in a 325F oven. Stir occasionally to get the fond off the bottom of the pan. After the first hour, add the tomato paste. It gives a robustness to the finished flavor. Continue cooking another hour to hour and a half until beef is meltingly tender.

                      Cut the heads and tails off the pearl onions, put them in a non-aluminum pan and bring to a boil. Cool and pop the skins off.

                      Wipe mushrooms clean, and cut in quarters. Button mushrooms work fine. If you're really flush, so do morells, but you have to invite me to dinner! Use some discretion on the mushrooms. I don't like shiitake in Bourguignon, but hey, if it lights your fire, go for it. Just don't invite me!

                      Melt some butter in a skillet. Brown the pearl onions, rolling them around in the pan during the process. Put them in a bowl. Now saute the mushrooms. They will drink up butter like you won't believe, so limit their appetitie!

                      Taste the meat sauce and correct seasonings. Remove the shredded large onion (if it is still recognizeable) with a slotted spoon. If they're all mushy, don't worry about it. And now add the "Bourguignon garniture," the lardons, the pearl onions, and the mushrooms. Stir, recover the pot, and simmer gently for another ten minutes or so. Again, taste and correct seasonings. Sometimes I brighten mine up with another small dash of cognac at this point. Serve from the pot. Enjoy!

                      I serve mine with parslied noodles. I don't particularly like potatoes with it, but to each his/her own...

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        basically the same as jfood used but with some carrot chunks as well. The sauce was thickend with a butter/flour mix.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          I know the post is old. But just made this tonight and it was amazing. I followed cooks illustrated which is very similar, but thickens with butter/flour too. I do like the idea of the the lardons. I took the salt pork out at the end. next time I will do the lardons.

                          I also did the classic butter noodles but added roasted asparagus.

                          Perfect for a cold night in North NJ. Next time I would like to try the minted peas.

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            I'm a bit late to the party but have just made this recipe of Caroline's. Thanks for your generosity in posting it.

                            I made a few small alterations, mostly cooking time, using Toronto chef Lucy Waverman's recipe(another relatively unsung talent).

                            Waverman uses tomato paste in her beef stock so I didn't add extra but I did follow Caroline's suggestion about the cognac. I actually used Calvados.

                            Thanks, Caroline.

                    2. I made Beef Bourguingon last night (adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Paris cookbook). Made a side of mashed potatoes with a few drops of truffle oil. Worked wonders at scooping up the delicious sauce from the stew. Also had some sauteed spinach for a bit of green on the side. Crusty bread too (semolina loaf from WFM).

                      As an aside I really like her version of the recipe b/c it was all ready to eat in under 2 hours and tasted like it had been cooking for twice as long.

                      1. Go with what little J wants to make. After all it's her party. Let her shine.

                        1. The meal sounds wonderful, especially during this time of year. Serving the beef and roasted potatoes I think will be substantial, so I would go with a green vegetable that would lighten things up a bit. My suggestion would be to lightly steam some green beans and toss with a bit of olive oil and or some fresh lemon. An alternative green vegetable would be sugar snap peas (same cooking method).

                          The dessert sounds incredible and I would want my guests to have room for that!

                          Good luck and enjoy the dinner.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Pawsinhand

                            What a great Dad! I hope little Jfood has fun!
                            I was also thinking green beans with a hint of lemon (and maybe dill?) and
                            egg noodles with salad and crusty bread of course. I prefer simple, light side dishes with such a heavy and tasty entree.
                            Although you probably don't want egg noodles if making potatoes.

                          2. rice or Israeli couscous?

                            1. I've always served my boeuf bourguignon with rice. It's not fussy, soaks up sauce well, and I find it more pleasant a combination of textures than noodles, mashed potatoes, or boiled potoatoes.


                              1. Thanks all and the family discussion occurred last night to finalize so jfood can buy on the way home this evening.

                                The salad will be the appetizer course. Mrs jfood and little jfood will prepare and plate in the afternoon, so pre-ready
                                Sides -
                                1 - Love the idea and agree the traditional way to go is noodles. And people who know jfood know he is a traditionalist (see all the pizza comments). But with, now 14, low-20's types, there was a concern about "wearing" some of the sauce with noodles. (See also jfood comments on eating at a business dinner). So tonight jfood will prepare a big schizzel of roated potatoes (uncooked) and little jfood will throw in one of theovens.
                                2 - Mrs jfood had her heart set on making a spinach souffle. she'll make a nice pyrex pan of these and they should be fairly easy to serve
                                Dessert - Mrs jfood famous chocolate terrine with chocolate dipped strawberries. Berries prepared tonight and kept in the downstairs fridge.

                                FYI - the dish BB is a double batch of the Ina Garten recipe and it does contain mushroom and pearl onions, so that part of the pyramid is covered.

                                Hold your breath. jfood should arrive around dessert time.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jfood

                                  thanks jfood for the reference on your recipe for it--was trying to get the nerve to ask you to post--this is a dish I have never made or had..and wanted to try-but with a heads up on a recipe that someone uses...so since I enjoy your posts-will go with the one you use and attempt!
                                  Hope little jfood has a wonderful dinner party!! Good for her!

                                2. Many great ideas here. As for green - and I agree green is needed - sauteed spinach is a great side for Beef B. And relatively easy. If you have a large pot, you can make a lot of it, just saute it in olive oil, a little garlic, with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Various chards and kale would be a nice twist on spinach as well.

                                  1. Bearing in kind that your classic BB is quite heavy on veg, I would stick with something simple. The salad starter sounds good. As do the roast spuds.

                                    The recipe I have, originally in French, suggests saute carrots as an additional veg (which I would not do as carrots Vichy as it'll be too sweet after the salad)

                                    1. OMG, Jfood forgot to follow-up with the results. And thank you to all his chow-buddies for assistance and recommendations.

                                      End result was that it worked out great.

                                      Little jfood had 15 people over for dinner. Since jfood was at a client dinner and mrs jfood assisting in some other family matters jfood hired some assistance for little jfood. Even with an extra hand in the kitchen serving and cleaning, little jfood told him later that it's a lot of work to serve that many people. No kidding Ms college grad.

                                      The night before she made a few dozen chocolate dipped strawberries and decided to purchase dessert and some nice crusty bread on the way home since the schedules did not allow otherwise. Jfood left a timeline for her to take food out of the fridge, turn on oven, place in oven, etc so she just needed to follow the directions.

                                      She arrived at home in time to make a nice salad with the pears, walnuts and gorganzola and served with a balsamic vinaigrette. She said it was a nice way to start.

                                      She followed the directions on the beef and potatoes (roasted with some seasoning) and was a bit overwhelmed by serving 15, even though she was serving while her "assistant" plated. She really enjoyed everything and so did the guests. Dishes cleared, dessert served with the strawberries and the evening came to a nice close.

                                      When jfood arrived home at 1130 the cleaning of the dishes were just being completed, everything was in a container in the fridge, little jfood was still sitting at the table with a few straglers and nothing was broken.

                                      Granted she still is not fully aware of the effort it takes to feed 15 people since she did not cook, did not have to serve solo, did not clean or do the dishes, she still crashed in a chair after it was over and looked at jfood and said, "Wow that was a lot of work." What could jfood do but smile. She's now an adult and jfood is really proud of her thinking of inviting her colleagues.

                                      They are already booking next month's Italian Feast. Little jfood will have more to do on that one. Only one "Free Pass" allowed.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: jfood

                                        What a marvelously choreographed dinner party, jfood. No wonder everything went so well. Little jfood has had her first lesson entertaining guests in Grand Scale. I take it next month's Italian Feast will be at your home. When word gets around about the superb dinner you might find yourself having to rent a hall.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          Thanks for the report back, jfood. I always enjoy your writing - even when you criticise my region's lamb :-)

                                          1. re: jfood

                                            Thanks for the report back! It WAS very thoughtful to invite her colleagues over, good job all the way around!
                                            Growing up, my parents traveled a lot. When they were away in High School and College I started having "dinner parties" for friends. The food was typically nothing too special, but we all had fun and your post just completely reminded me of those days. Thank you :-)