Sunday, February 21, 2010

boeuf bourguignon

Any recipe that uses almost a full bottle of wine is worth a try. This beef stew no longer needs to be kept on the pages of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In fact, the March issue of Everyday Food features the dish as a simple French meal perfect for a weekend dinner. It's true!

First I had to learn to pronounce it and then I learned to cook it. Bourguignon = Bore-gin-yawh

Lots of people list this recipe, but we chose to follow Barefoot Contessa's version in her cookbook, Barefoot In Paris, which gives a cooking time of 1 1/4 hours, as opposed to the traditional 3 hours. Yikes!

Below is the exact recipe. We tweaked it by using:
-2 pounds of stewing beef instead of 2 1/2 pounds
-3 slices of bacon instead of 8 oz. and it was not applewood smoked
-We didn't have any cognac or brandy. Note to self: Get some!
-We used shameful McCormick ground pepper. Note to self: Find lost pepper grinder!
-Chicken broth instead of beef broth
-1 onion instead of 2, and eliminated the frozen pearl onions
-dried thyme instead of fresh

Perk: Sunday blues are dulled by foresight of delicious Monday leftovers to start the week.


* 1 tablespoon good olive oil
* 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
* 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
* 2 yellow onions, sliced
* 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
* 1/2 cup Cognac
* 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
* 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 pound frozen whole onions
* 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

1 comment:

  1. I see those years of high school French are paying off. Oh wait, you took Latin! Hehehe. :-) Muah!