Every year at Christmas, I’m reminded of a significant gift. This gift so pure and powerful, can only be sent from the heavens above. Christmas for me isn’t just about commemorating the birth of our Saviour but it’s also my mother’s birthday. And for us, this is truly a family holiday. While my family can be as dysfunctional as the Walkers (from TV’s ‘Brothers & Sisters‘), but in no way as big or as complicated like theirs, we put our differences aside and come together as a unit to celebrate the true meaning of the season…LOVE.
If there is a dish that can truly epitomized the meaning of LOVE, it’s a pot of Mum’s Beef Bourguignon. This traditional French recipe has recently been made popular again by the comedy-drama Julie & Julia (which I coincidentally watched with Mum on Christmas Eve), is a one-pot-wonder that perfectly compliments the holiday cheers. It’s rich, full bodied, complex, well-rounded, aromatic, sweet, lingering, succulent, tender, addictive, and joyous – all the qualities of LOVE.
The dish is made with nothing more than bacon rinds, lean beef chunks, a bottle of Merlot, carrots, celery, onions, tomato puree, beef stock, smashed garlics, thyme and bay leaves. And unlike Julia Child’s version, Mum doesn’t bake hers in an oven. She just let it simmer in the pot for over 4-hours until the juice is reduced to a thick burgundy stew and finally right at the end of it all, she stirs in a little butter for that extra smooth texture. It’s insanely delicious to dip some toasted raisin bread into the stew.
I know its your special day, but thanks Mum for the tireless hours you’ve put into making our holiday a special one year after year. I LOVE you and happy birthday.
This post is dedicated to the late Mrs. Lee, Kelvin‘s mother, who is dearly missed on her birthday today as well.
By the way, this is also my official entry for Masak-Masak’s Christmas Giveaway #2/What Is Christmas To You contest in hopes to win Mum some lovely new cookbooks. You’ve got about two more days left to submit your entry (closing date is on 28th).
Updated (January 2010): Hooray hooray, the post did win a cookbook!