For my birthday my college boyfriend took me to adorable French restaurant Beau Monde in Philadelphia, where I had the best crepes I've ever tasted. Ever since then I have been dreaming about that savory, buckwheat crepe filled with the most wonderful beef bourguignon. Then recently, while I was watching the Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate, the crepe suddenly showed up on the screen. I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Beef bourguignon is special on its own, but a beef bourguignon crepe? It's like all the best parts of France tucked into the most delicate, scrumptious package. This dish calls for a party -- a French dinner party, to be exact.
The beef bourguignon must be made in advance, but not the crepes -- these little blankets from heaven create the perfect opportunity to get your party guests into the kitchen. Crepes can be a pretty daunting task and if you're inexperienced. I can promise you'll use at least an entire batch of batter on mistakes (I used this recipe). But at least no one can judge you for less than perfect crepes if the guests are flipping them themselves.
The key to crepes is to realize that the batter will be much runnier than you think it should be, and that you must leave them in the pan longer than you think you should. The crepes will let you know when they're fully cooked on the first side by releasing from the bottom of the pan.
For the beef bourguignon I used this recipe with a few health-conscious, wallet-conscious and sanity-conscious alterations. First up, I committed sacrilege against Julia Child and omitted the bacon. There's plenty of fat; let's not get carried away. The other ingredient I cast aside was the cognac, because procuring some would not have been fiscally responsible. I also used low-sodium beef broth and cut back slightly on the overall amount of salt and butter used, because the puffiness resulting from water retention is not a good look on anyone.
When it comes to the wine, please forget that Burgundy exists, unless you feel like throwing money away. The "Bourguignon" in the name refers to the region that inspired the style of cooking, not the wine. I used a 2009 Luc Pirlet Pinot Noir that was less than $10 and tasted delicious both in the stew and alone in a glass.
When it's all ready, wrap the crepes around a few ladles of beef bourguignon, add something green and let the party begin. End the night à la française with this simple baked Brie recipe. Or simply pop open a bottle of Champagne and let the bubbles work their magic.
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