Ladies, Gentlemen, and all those who prefer their own label! I’m excited to finally present a recipe that’s been the belle of my idea banquet for years — since I started the blog, actually.
Like any millennial kid raised in the nineties, I remember and treasure Disney’s golden age of animation. As an early book nerd, I especially loved Beauty and the Beast. So that’s why I invite you to be my guest with this recipe for a Provencal-style beef ragout, served in a cheese souffle bowl.
- Click here to skip to the recipe for Belle’s Beef Ragout.
- Click here to skip to the recipe for Cheese Souffle Soup Bowls.
La Belle et La Bete
I know folks rail on this film for a portrayal of Stockholm Syndrome — but I don’t think that is what we see in the development of Belle and Adam’s relationship. And yes, it does develop in a way that makes complete sense. The film tells us that appearances are not what they seem. What we need to understand, though, is that it addresses misconceptions derived from appearances rather than simple physical appeal.
The film does this often through objectification and dismissal. Adam becomes cursed as a beast because he dismisses a fairy disguised as a crone. It’s not this simple act, though, that is the lesson — it is clear from his attitude before and during the film that he only acknowledges people if they are useful to him. And thus, the fairy turns Adam’s servants into the literal objects he sees them as.
Belle, on the other hand, lives a comfortable life in a small village. And just about everyone, including herself, deceive themselves through appearances. Everyone idealizes Gaston because he embodies the ideal of status, power, and physique. Gaston objectifies Belle as a trophy to hunt — the one thing he cannot have. Belle is a conundrum because she is a beautiful woman who doesn’t fit into any of the roles the villagers assigned themselves and others. She, in turn, dismisses an entire town as small-minded but only spouts her interests without getting to know others beyond their profession.
Belle laments that no one tries to understand her. Adam resigns himself to isolation. Through their meeting and time together, though, they learn to banish misconceptions. Adam begins listening to and treating his servants and trusted confidants. Belle learns to get to know others before dismissing them and finds friendship. They both find a sanctuary and understanding in each other, which evolves their pairing into a loving one.
The Dining Room Proudly Presents…
The song Be Our Guest highlights a diverse menu. But as a savory cook, the beef ragout and cheese soufflé intrigued me the most. Sure, you could find recipes all over the internet for either. I wanted, though, to first serve one inside the other, and two, make the recipes specifically fit the film.
So first, I researched beef stew recipes from the Provence region of France. I turned up Daube — a beef stew made in a daubière with wine, garlic, onions, carrots, and herbs, and then thickened with tomato paste. A daubière is a terra cotta pot with a handle and concave lid used for braising through condensation. This recipe, though, I use a dutch oven for its ease from stovetop to oven.
Rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and parsley most commonly season this stew. Likewise, unless made with lamb, red wine acts as the braising liquid of choice in most recipes. With this being a Beauty and the Beast-inspired recipe, though, I thought I’d make everything come up roses. That’s why I added dried rose petals to my herb strainer, braised the beef in rosé, and finished the pot with rosewater.
As for the cheese soufflé, this component is specifically why I didn’t make this recipe until now. I kept on trying to figure out how to make soufflés into bowls and keep them intact. It wasn’t until I made my Feldpost Inn Fireside Tart recipe for Munchies & Minis that I realized I could fudge this a little as Yorkshire puddings are also egg-based, have a similar taste and are sturdy enough to act as little bowls.
So I essentially made giant Yorkshire puddings and blended in Herbes de Provence, gruyere cheese, and rosewater. You’re welcome. This recipe is enough for two 8 to 9-inch bowls. Though if you want to use a giant cupcake tin for four mini bowls, be my guest.
Sing for Your Supper!
If you plan to cook the recipes off the site, keep scrolling. However, while access to recipes on the blog will always be free, I also have printable PDF recipe cards and thematic cook-along Spotify playlists as rewards for those who choose to support the blog.
The printable recipe cards and playlist for Belle’s Beef Ragout and Cheese Soufflé Bowls will be available as a $2 donor reward on my Ko-Fi page until the next post goes up.
You can instead join my Patreon community at the “Sing for your Supper” level ($1/month) for access to the playlists or the “It’s All in the Cards” level ($5/month) or higher for access to ALL of my blog recipe cards and playlists. Patrons of all reward tiers will even receive a welcome gift of my Lord of the Rings recipe cards and playlists from January 2019 to get you started.
Be Our Guest
Belle's Beef Ragout
Equipment: Oven, dutch oven, stovetop, and herb strainer.
- 2 lb beef chuck roast, 1.5-inch cubed
- 2 cups rosé
- 12 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 cups beef bone broth
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp ground clove
- 2 parmesan rinds
- 3 Tb unsalted butter
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 Tb dried rose petals
- 1-2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tb tomato paste
- 1/2 lb carrots, 1-inch cubed
- 8 oz. button mushrooms
- 1/2 yellow onion, 1-inch diced
- kosher salt
- Blend a pinch of kosher salt in a dish with the flour and ground clove. Then preheat the oven to ·250°F.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter in the dutch oven over medium-low heat on the stovetop. Saute the garlic until golden, then transfer to a separate bowl with the tomato paste.
- Melt the remaining butter in the pan, then saute the mushrooms until the sizzling slows. Transfer to a dish, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate.
- Working in single layer batches, dredge the beef in the flour mixture and brown on all sides before moving to a plate.
- Deglaze the pot with the wine, and scrape up the browned bits with a plastic spatula. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
- While waiting, add the remaining flour to the bowl of tomato paste and garlic. Smash the contents with the back of a spoon and stir into a uniform paste.
- Stir the bone broth into the pot, then the beef and garlic paste. Once combined, add the carrot and onion. Then stuff the rosepetals and herbs into the strainer before setting it into the pot as well.
- Bring the stew to a boil, cover with a lid, then place inside the oven to braise for three and a half hours until tender.
- Stir the rosewater and mushrooms into the pot, cover again, and set aside to cool. Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors marry.
- Reheat the pot over low heat on the stovetop for 30 minutes before serving.
Cheese Soufflé Soup Bowls
Equipment: Two 9-inch cake pans, mixing bowl, two measuring cups, and an oven.
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 1 Tb rosewater
- 8 tsp butter, rendered bacon fat, or vegetable oil
- 1 Tb herbes de Provence
- Blend the flour and herbs in a bowl with a fork. Stir in the beaten egg until smooth, then the milk and rose water. Divide the batter in half between two measuring cups and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Spoon 4 teaspoons of butter or bacon fat into each tin, then place in the preheated oven. Let heat for 5 minutes.
- Remove the tins from the oven and pour a measuring cup of batter into each tin. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese over each tin of batter, then return the pan to the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Cool the soufflés for five minutes in the tins, then transfer them to a plate or bowl to serve.