Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beef Bourguignon - the hearty stew of intoxicating goodness that French peasants have loved for centuries.

This is a hearty stew rich with layers of flavors that Julia Child made famous. Indulge yourself with the intoxicating goodness that French peasants have loved for centuries. Ooh la la, honey child, now you’re cooking!
6 slices of thick bacon cut into 1 x 1-1/2 inch strips
1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, stems trimmed
2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast cut into 1 inch cubes (don’t use more expensive cuts)
1 medium onion minced
3 cloves of minced garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into1 inch pieces
2-3 cups of dry red wine (a wine that you would drink such as pinot noir)
2 cups beef stock
1/2 pound pearl onions, peeled
3 tablespoons of beurre manie (2 tablespoons of flour mixed with 1 tablespoon of softened butter)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chop for garnish
Olive Oil as needed
Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste
 Don’t be intimidated by this classic French peasant food that Julia Child made famous. The secret is to have all the ingredients prepped and ready to use before beginning this recipe. I made this in a basics of French cooking class and we enjoyed a glass of wine as we cooked. The aroma is intoxicating and the dish is lush with layers of flavor.  You kitchen will be warmed by the smells of this hearty dish cooking.  As Julia said, “Do not be afraid,” Beef Bourguignon may be the key to finding a new passion for French cooking.

Place a large oven safe pot or casserole over medium heat.  Add the bacon to the pan and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally to ensure the bacon doesn’t stick.  Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined saucer.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid, and they begin to brown.  This should take about 5 minutes.  Transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl and set aside until later.
Dry the beef with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper.  The next step will be to begin browning the beef.  You want a good sear and a nice brown color to the meat.  Do not overcrowd the meat in the pan as this causes the meat to steam and you will not get the proper sear.  Cook the meat in 3 different batches to ensure it sears properly.  Cook on medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of hot oil in the pot before you add the meat each time. At any time during this process, add more olive oil to the pan if necessary.  Be sure to leave the beef alone for a couple of minutes to ensure a good sear, and then rotate the meat until it is browned on all sides.  Remove the beef from the pan and transfer to a plate.  Repeat until all of the beef has been browned. Set aside the beef until later. The amount of sear you have on the beef will affect the color and taste of your final dish. I prefer a good sear as opposed to a light sear.
Reduce the heat to medium and if needed add another tablespoon of oil to the pot. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaves, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Deglaze the pan using a cup of the red wine.  Bring the wine to a boil and then reduce the liquid; add in the tomato paste and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
Add the browned beef back into the pot with all of its juices.  Also, add the cooked bacon and the carrots.  Add 2 cups of wine and 2 cups of beef stock. Cover and place in a preheated 325 degree oven and cook for 2 - 3 hours, the longer the better. About halfway through the cooking time add the pearl onions.
After cooking for a couple of hours, ladle 1 cup of the stew into a bowl and whisk in the beurre manie until completely combined.  Stir this mixture back into the beef bourguignon and return to oven uncovered until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.  If you want it slightly thicker, you can repeat the same step again. Just before serving, remove the bay leaves and add the mushrooms into the pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with a bit of chopped fresh parsley.


Chrystal Garcia said...

Instead of putting in the oven, would a crockpot work?

Libby Murphy said...

I don't know why you couldn't use a crockpot at that point, but since I'm not one to use a crockpot very often, you would have to guess on the time and temperature.