Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Bonne Femme

Over the weekend I took my kids to the library, and of course, I had to check out the cookbooks! After careful consideration, I checked out the Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day, by Wini Moranville. 

This delightful cookbook was obviously appealing to me, being a "bonne femme" ("good wife") myself. Hmm...hmm. After reading it almost cover to cover (cookbooks are like novels to me), I whipped out my apron and began. The first recipe I tried was for "Hamburgers with Bordelaise Sauce with Mushrooms." I've never seen a recipe for a French hamburger before, and thought it would appeal to my American children. So, according to Wini, a French hamburger consists of a pan-fried hamburger patty covered with melted cheese (French, of course), served on a thick slice of toasted country bread, topped with a French sauce, and eaten with a knife and fork. How civilized! I found the Bordelaise Sauce with Mushrooms to be very easy and delicious; but, with the combination of the hamburger patty, it brought flash-backs of bad TV dinners, specifically, Salisbury steak. So, while I will probably keep making my hamburgers in American fashion, I will make this delicious sauce again, but serve it with a perfectly grilled steak instead! Mmmm!

Bordelaise Sauce Ce Soir

Makes about 1 cup, 4 servings


1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
1 small shallot, quartered
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Variation for Bordelaise Sauce with Mushrooms: Add 1 cup sliced mushrooms, sauteed in a little butter, to the finished sauce and heat through.


In a medium-size saucepan, combine the broth, wine, shallot, parsley, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain the sauce into a bowl, discarding the shallot, bay leaf, and herbs; return the sauce to the pan. Mash the butter together with the flour to make a paste (a beurre manie). Add the beurre manie bit by bit to the reduced sauce, stirring with a wire whisk to blend away any lumps. Boil gently, stirring, until the sauce reaches the desired thickness, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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