Ingredients matter for this traditional French dish. Wine is a crucial component of beef bourguignon (you’ll use a whole bottle of it!). Pinot noir is a medium-bodied wine that won’t overwhelm the stew, but has a good amount of tannins that help tenderize the beef as it simmers. Be sure to choose chuck roast to trim and cut into chunks yourself, versus buying pre-cubed stew meat—those pieces of beef can come from any part of the cow and may vary in taste and fat content. Tomato paste is a super-concentrated ingredient that adds umami—or savoriness—to the stew.
Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup
In this genius slow-cooker soup recipe, two types of onions are caramelized for hours before adding a sherry-spiked broth. For a bistro-worthy presentation, ladle the soup into ovenproof crocks, top with the bread and cheese and broil.
Quick French Onion Soup
Bring the allium family--onions, leeks, garlic--together in this simpler and heartier version of French onion soup. If you've always found the traditional melted cheese topping too intimidating to try at home, you'll find this version user-friendly; just top toasted bread with cheese and pour the soup over to melt it. Including chickpeas makes it filling enough for a main course.
Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup with Gruyère Toasts
Fans of French onion soup who love it for its caramelized onions, beefy broth and cheesy toast topping won't be disappointed with this recipe, which offers all those elements plus a hands-on time of only 20 minutes.
Steamed Mussels in Tomato Broth
With fresh mussels increasingly available at supermarket fish counters, you can easily make this bistro favorite at home.
Quick Coq au Vin
Here's a quick version of Coq au Vin, a red wine-braised chicken-and-vegetable stew that usually takes the better part of an afternoon to make. Serve with herbed mashed potatoes and green beans.
Creamy Cremini Mushroom Soup
Reduced-fat sour cream and low-fat milk make this soup creamy without all the fat. The pudgy brown mushrooms called cremini are generally firmer and richer-tasting than common white mushrooms.
Homemade Chicken Broth
Nothing soothes, nourishes and comforts like homemade chicken broth. Canned broth is a handy standby for quick soups, but homemade delivers maximum flavor while contributing minimal calories.
Rich Chicken Stew
A blanquette is a classic French stew of veal, chicken or lamb with mushrooms in a velvety sauce. This concept has been adapted to the slow cooker to make a lightened-up version using chicken thighs. Just a little whipping cream (which is less inclined to break down than lighter creams and gives more density to the sauce) adds richness. This is delightful over egg noodles.
Slow-Cooked Provencal Beef Stew
The flavors in a slow-cooked beef stew improve as it sits for a day or two, so it is a perfect make-ahead for a dinner party. Buy nicely marbled meat, such as chuck, for this recipe.
Quick French Onion Soup
French onion soup is a favorite but it usually isn't substantial enough to make a complete meal. We've solved this problem by adding fiber-rich chickpeas to a broth flavored with sherry and three kinds of onions. Of course, we didn't forget the gooey topping, we've just made it a little lighter and a lot easier to prepare at home--simply top toasted whole-wheat bread with cheese and pour the soup on to melt it.