My wife got the following recipe for Beef Bourguignon from her Dad, who in turn got it from his friend in 1992!  The recipe is “typed” on three ring binder paper, and has hand written notes and revisions from start to end. I do not know if the recipe was entirely original or extensively revised in 1991 through 1992 (revisions are dated by hand). 

Early in our courtship, my wife made this meal for me. I was very impressed by her cooking skills.  Over the years she has prepared other great meals. By sharing this recipe with you, I will be giving away 1/3 of her recipes.  I hope, for my sake, she does not see this blog.

By the way, once you put this in the oven, you will have nothing to do for about 3 hours, so watch a football game or have a good book handy.

This fun family meal serves 6, and you will need a clay pot (such as Romertopf) for cooking.  [If you prefer you can forget the oven and cook it in a crock pot for between 6 to 8 hours depending on setting]. 

 2 lbs stew meat trimmed of fat

2 cups Burgundy red wine

2 envelopes Lipton Onion Soup mix

2 cans of cream of mushroom soup

2 – 8 oz cans of mushrooms (including the liquid) (mushrooms can be buttons, stem, or pieces, whatever you like) 

Stir all the above ingredients together into the clay pot, put on the lid and put it into a 425 degree preheated oven for 3 hours.   After 2 hours you can sneak a peak and if it is “quite dry add ½ cup of water”.  

Prepare egg noodle pasta (per package instructions) for 6 plates, and serve the prepared Beef Bourguignon stew over the noodles.           

One final suggestion on the recipe was to double it, and freeze ½ for later use.  Good idea!  


Everyone is familiar with Napa and Sonoma Valley wines, and for good reason.  Touring the Napa and Sonoma Valley area is a must when visiting Northern California.  But, if you find yourself in Southern California, and you want to think outside the theme park box, a great vacation idea is to visit the wine country near Santa Barbara. And what could be better than spending a day or two shopping and eating in Santa Barbara, followed by a wine tour through the Santa Ynez Valley.    

My wife and I spent two nights in Santa Barbara and did just that, touring and dining in the city, and then taking a guided tour of the Santa Ynez Valley. There are many fine resorts, hotels, and motels to fit all budgets and tastes in Santa Barbara.  If you do not need to be on, or within walking distance of the beach, I have a lodging recommendation for you.  Near State Street, known for shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, there is a fine small boutique hotel called The Inn of The Spanish Garden. I am probably violating an oath of secrecy I made to the friend who told me of The Inn by telling you about it, but what the heck, trust me, for special occasions it is a gem. The rooms are suite sized, and as far as I can tell they all have fireplaces. To learn more about The Inn of The Spanish Garden click http://www.spanishgardeninn.com.

When you have satisfied your sightseeing goals around town, it is time to go to the wine country of Santa Ynez Valley. For a listing of all the wineries and a great map of the area follow this link to, http://www.santaynezwinecountry.com.

 If, in addition to touring the beautiful valley, you plan to sample the wines, you should consider taking a door to door guided tour. We chose Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours for our wine country guide (http://www.ccjeeps.com/index-alt.php). If you have any serious back issues, a jeep tour might not be for you, but rest assured there are other options.  If you can handle a slightly bumpy ride, and want to ride in an open vehicle with unobstructed views, and wind in your hair, the jeep tour is for you.

Due to our lodging being last on the way of town, we were the last to be picked up by Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours. The driver came into the lobby to get us, escorted us out, and opened up the rear side of the extended seating area of the Jeep. After being introduced to our wine tasting companions, the guide handed my wife a wool blanket, and off we went driving up the canyon, and into a thick fog bank.  The wool blanket was just what we needed until we eventually broke out of the fog and into the sunny and warm valley.

After a beautiful drive in the country, we arrived at our first stop, Bridlewood Winery. Our guide provided each of us with a wine glass adorned with a marker (for later identification) and off we went.  After each tasting the wine glasses were cleaned and stowed for the drive to the next winery. The tour price includes the cost of wine tasting at 4 to 6 wineries, depending on time, and a picnic lunch on the deck of the last winery, which in our case, overlooked the vineyard and the valley beyond.

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable of the wineries, and invited our thoughts after each tasting.  At just about each winery, wine was purchased by someone in the group (ok, it was usually me). It was amazing how much wine can be stowed away in a jeep.

My wife’s favorite winery was Lincourt Vineyards (http://www.LINCOURTWINES.COM) because she is fond of white wine and they had many to choose from.  My favorite winery was Sunstone Vineyards & Winery (http://www.sunstonewinery.com). I loved their rich red wines, and their beautiful Tuscany style chateau which even had an underground cavern for its tasting room.  

After a great day of wine tasting, we were driven to the door of The Inn, carried our purchased wine to the room, lit the fireplace, and began to relax after our perfect day in wine country.  I am the kind of guy who can’t stay still too long.  So, not long after we settled in the room, I began to set up the wine bottles for viewing. While I could not be certain, as it had been a full day of seemingly endless wines that demanded sampling, just as I began thinking I had bought more wine, there was a knock on the door, and there stood our guide with another box of wine.  Talk about a great guide!  We were his last stop, he had gone back to his business to check the jeep in, was probably ready to go home, saw our wine, and rather than simply calling us to tell us to pick the wine up the next day,  he jumped back into the jeep, drove to The Inn and brought the wine to our door!

That was a great trip.  From the various wine and cooking magazines I read, it seems that just about every state has a wine region these days.  So, while enjoying your dinner of Beef Bourguignon why not strike up a conversation about the vineyards you have visited and the wines you sampled.

Good Eating and Table Talk,


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