Boeuf Bourguignon

I have been craving French food.  I lived in France.  I know what it is supposed to taste like.  There was only one option open to me.  No, I couldn't go to France (it is on my "list" though.)  I had to channel Julia Child.  That's right.  Of course, I spent a while thinking about Dan Aykroyd's portrayal of Julia Child.  If you are of my generation, you will understand.  Probably.  Okay, google it.  After chuckling to myself, I got out my trusty Mastering the Art of French Cooking and looked up Boeuf Bourguignon.
This is a fancy way of saying beef stew with bacon and red wine.  It's really good.  I know that most people use the cheapest cuts of beef possible when making stew, but I think that your stew is only as good as your meat.  I went to Costco and got a nice top round steak that was lovely.  Also, you should always use a good quality wine.  Since I don't taste the wine, I go to the wine store and tell the wine guy what I am making and how much I am willing to spend.  Voila.
This is a dish that you can make the day before, it gets better as the flavors marry.  It is traditionally served with boiled potatoes.  I changed a few things from Julia (she can get complicated) but the results were lovely anyhow.
I'll walk you through it.
Boeuf Bourguignon
1 lb. bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
3-4 lbs. beef, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 sliced carrots
1 sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, like Beaujolais, Burgundy, or Chianti
1(14 ounce) beef broth
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
18-24 small white onions, peeled
1 lb. quartered fresh mushrooms
4 Tablespoons butter
Brown bacon in a casserole dish (I like cast iron) on medium heat for about 3 minutes to brown lightly.  Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry the beef with paper towels, it will not brown if it is damp.  Saute it in the hot bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides.  Add it to the bacon.
To the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables.  Pour out the sauteing fat.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole with the sliced veggies and toss with the salt and pepper.  Then sprinkle on the flour.  Toss and saute for a few minutes.  This will brown the flour and cover the meat with a light crust.  Remove casserole.
Stir in the wine and enough of the broth so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs.  Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours.
While the beef is cooking, saute the small onions in 2 Tablespoons of butter.  Set aside.  Saute the mushrooms in the remaining butter.
When the meat is cooked, add the onions and mushrooms to the dish.  Stir to combine and let sit for 10 minutes.  Serve in the casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice.

1 comment:

  1. MommaH made this as a homecoming, since I'd been in the hospital for two weeks. I've never had it before, but it was instant comfort food. The tastes are unbelievable, layers on layers of flavor with all sorts of different textures from the meats and vegetables. I didn't notice it had bacon in it (I knew it was sauteed, just not added). The pearl onions, the stew beef that just fell apart, the potatoes - it was all fantastic and wonderful.