While the blueberries may still be ripening on the bushes and the kids are making sandcastles on the shores of Eeyou Istchee, cooler, damper weather is on its way and with it will also come the desire for heavy comfort foods.

That’s when you’ll need to brush up on health cooking skills, and to help, Burgoo: Food for Comfort, a cookbook put out by the Vancouver-based bistro chain of the same name, by Justin Joyce and Stephan MacIntyre, should be the newest edition to your kitchen shelf.

Featuring spectacular stews, savoury sandwiches, mouth-watering starters and out-of-this-world desserts, Burgoo is a comfort-food treasure chest.

These recipes are very accessible, often using simple ingredients and then combining them sensibly and masterfully to achieve something divine.

What’s also great about this cookbook is that it’s quite varied and presents options for simple comforts throughout the year. For hot weather, Burgoo has some excellent recipes for guacamole, hummus and a white-bean dip and ratatouille.

Also featuring a wide variety of spice mixes and biscuits, this cookbook has some wonderful dishes for the whole family (two fabulous recipes for macaroni and cheese) or the following recipes that are perfect for an adult dinner during a quiet night at home.

Beef Bourguignon

BurgooBeefBourguignonA red-wine braised beef with mushrooms, caramelized pearl onions and carrots
Serves 6 to 8

vegetable or extra virgin olive oil
3 lbs beef chuck, in 2-inch cubes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium white onion, diced
4 to 5 medium carrots, peeled and diced
5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup tomato paste
1 bottle (750 ml) of your favourite red wine
3 cups good quality beef stock
2 to 3 bay leaves
3 tbsp potato starch
40 pearl onions, peeled
1 lb small button mushrooms, left whole
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

The often-mispronounced Beef Bourguignon is the most popular and longest standing dish on our classics menu. We simply love it, and we’ve worked hard to make it a bistro favourite. We’re humbled that you share our affection for it. In our take on this classic dish, we have omitted the traditional bacon or salt pork and used potato starch instead of wheat flour to thicken the sauce. These small changes make the dish accessible to more people, but, if you like bacon, feel free to add it to yours. Bourguignon goes really well with Homestyle Mashed Potatoes (page 127) or buttered noodles. And be sure to have at least one extra bottle of red wine and a fresh baguette on hand.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large, heavy bottomed casserole or Dutch oven, heat vegetable (or olive) oil on high. Season beef with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then sauté in batches until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer cooked beef to a plate and set aside. (Cooking the beef in batches allows it to brown more evenly.)

To the pot, add diced onions and carrots and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned. Stir in garlic and sauté for another minute, then add tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.

Deglaze the pot with red wine (reserving ½ cup), then add beef stock and bay leaves. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then bring the sauce to a low boil. In a small bowl, whisk the reserved wine with the potato starch to make a slurry, then whisk into the sauce. Return the beef to the pot, cover and place in the oven to begin cooking.

While beef is braising, heat a large splash of vegetable (or olive) oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high. Add pearl onions and sauté until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the cooked onions to a bowl and set aside. Add another splash of oil to the pan, stir in mushrooms and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned.

Remove the beef from the oven, add the browned onions and mushrooms as well as the thyme and ½ of the parsley. Stir well and return to the oven for about 2 hours, or until beef and vegetables are tender and sauce has thickened. Check periodically to be sure the liquid has not evaporated too much, and add a little more wine or stock if necessary.
Remove stew from the oven after 2 hours and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then serve family style or in individual bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Straight Up Tomato

BurgooTomatoSoupA red-wine-simmered tomato soup with garlic, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
Serves 6 to 8

2 cans (each 19 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups water
½ bottle (375 mL) of your favourite red wine
8 large, ripe garden tomatoes, diced
2 medium red onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is our version of good old-fashioned tomato soup. Pair it with the Gooey Cheese Grillers (page 73) to make our classic After School Special, especially when you need warmth on a rainy day. Heck, serve it with any sandwich that reminds you of when you were growing up.

In a large, heavy pot on high heat, bring canned tomatoes and their juice, water, red wine, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar and a splash of olive oil to a boil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Using a blender or a hand blender, purée soup until very smooth. Season to taste with more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Portion the soup into bowls and drizzle each serving with a few drops of olive oil. Serve hot.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

BurgooStickyToffeeA moist spice cake made with hazelnuts and dried fruit and topped with molten caramel
Serves 6 to 8

½ cup butter + extra for greasing ramekins
1 cup raisins
1 cup currants
2 cups orange juice
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup hazelnuts
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1½ cups brown sugar
2 free-run eggs

Caramel Sauce
1 cup butter, softened
1½ cups whipping cream
1 cup brown sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy or whiskey (optional)

This British steamed pudding has been on our menu since the day we opened. Although this dessert is traditionally made with dates, our interpretation uses raisins and currants instead and adds hazelnuts and a little Winter Spice. The caramel sauce is easy to make and can be flavoured with a bit of whiskey or brandy if you want to add some booziness.

In the bistros, we bake this dessert in individual ramekins and, just before serving, spoon enough warm sauce over each pudding to completely fill the ramekin. At home, you could make one large pudding in a medium casserole dish and cut it into squares, or spoon the batter into 6 to 8 medium muffin tins, turn out the cooked puddings onto small plates and spoon the warm sauce on top. Whichever method you choose, a simple rule of thumb is to pour the batter about 2 inches deep, and not much more, so that it bakes evenly. Make the caramel sauce while the pudding is cooking.

Serve this dessert warm with generous scoops of fresh vanilla ice cream or, the traditional British way, topped with several lashings of cream.

Pudding: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease 6 to 8 individual ramekins with butter.

In a medium pot on medium-high heat, boil raisins and currants in orange juice until most of the liquid has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Place flour, hazelnuts, baking powder and Winter Spice in a food processor and pulse until hazelnuts are ground to a fine powder and blended into the flour. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

Add ½-cup butter and brown sugar to the food processor and mix until fluffy and well combined. With the motor running, add eggs, one at a time, blending until fluffy. Pour in the flour mixture and blend well. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Add the fruit mixture to the food processor and purée until smooth. Using a spatula, fold the fruit mixture into the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins, filling them no more than 2 inches deep. Bake until puddings are slightly golden and the centres spring back when pressed lightly, 35 to 40 minutes.

Caramel Sauce: In a medium pot on medium heat, bring butter, whipping cream and brown sugar to a low rolling boil. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bubbling and thickened to a heavy dark golden brown syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla (and the brandy or whiskey).

Finish puddings: Serve the puddings warm with a generous spoonful of warm caramel over top.