Beef Bourguignon

11 Mar

In my previous post I declared I was back with healthy and delicious food. Lets slide this one in under delicious. I think my liberal use of bacon and butter disqualifies it from the former category.

So Julia Childs. She’s cool, I dig her, I kinda want to be like her, except I don’t have the patience. So I lovingly use her cookbook (emphasis on the word lovingly, look at how dog-eared this thing is….)

However, I have to change everything because sadly I am not living in Paris, being supported by my husband, trying to find things to fill my days while eating butter by the  spoonful. sigh. Maybe in my next life? The english translation of that rant is I change her recipes to skip a number of steps so that I am not in my kitchen for hours on end. I prefer practical to lazy thanks!

Beef Bourguignon (serves 6)

Ingredients:

6 slices of bacon, diced

3 lbs stewing beef, cubed into 1 inch cubes

1 onion, diced

1 large carrot, halved and sliced

2 tbsp all-purpose flour (mixed with some salt and pepper)

3 cups red wine

2 to 3 cups beef stock (or just enough so that the beef is just covered – we’ll get to this stage below)

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

2 garlic cloves (crushed with the palm of your hand)

1 lb of whole crimini mushrooms, quartered

1 bag of red pearl onions (this is about 18 to 24 onions), peeled (I put them in boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds and then run them under cold water before peeling. It makes peeling much easier)

Turn the over onto 450 degrees. In a cast iron pot heated to medium high heat cook the bacon until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the bacon fat brown the meat on all sides in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Set aside browned pieces on a tray to collect the juices.

In the same pot throw in the carrot and onion and stir until slightly softened (about 5 minutes). Remove from pot and place in a bowl. Return the beef to the pot, stir in the flour so that it coats the meat, cover and place in the oven for 2 minutes. Remove from oven, stir thoroughly, cover and put back in the oven for another 2 minutes.

Once you’ve removed the pot from the oven turn it down to 325 degrees. Place the bacon and the vegetables back into the pot with the beef and add the wine, bay leaf , thyme, tomato paste and garlic cloves and stock (only add enough stock to slightly cover the beef, if that is a bit more or less than the recipe calls for that’s alright). Bring to a gentle boil, cover and place in the oven. Check after 10 minutes to ensure a gentle simmer. If it is simmering to roughly you will get tough meat, not the fall apart kind. You really don’t want tough meat.

Cook for 3 to 4 hours (check here and there to make sure it is a gentle simmer). How do you know where to pull it out in the 3 to 4 hour range? Well, last time I let it go close to 4 hours in an oven that is not the best for bang on temperature reading and the liquid dried too much, Your liquid should be slightly thickened and concentrated and your beef should be fall apart tender.

Towards the end of the cooking process in a fry pan on medium high heat saute the mushrooms and onions with a very liberal portion of butter. Until softened and browned.

Once the Beef Bourguignon comes out of the oven, stir in the mushrooms and onions, remove the bay leaf and serve garnished with parsley if you’re feeling fancy.

I like to serve this with mashed potatoes or a crusty toasted garlic bread (like ciabatta or a french stick), with a green salad along side.

I do realize how ridiculous it is to post this on a day when it is 15 degrees and sunny out. The good news? If there is a freak storm and you need to cuddle up in front of the fire in the next month, well then you’re set with this meal!

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