Sunday, February 19, 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon

Hi - I've missed being here!

Today, the Sassy Family celebrated Valentine's Day.  I was out of town on the actual day (sunning on the beach in FL, visiting my parents, mmm hmm), so we postponed our fun until today when we all together.

I wanted to make a special meal for my loves, and it's been ages since I've made Julia Child's famous "Burgundy Beef," and I rather enjoy spending an entire day in the kitchen, and, well, here it is!

If you want to really go for it, I recommend following Julia's recipe (or my version below), not caring that it takes a good part of the day to make and way too many pots needing to be washed.  It's such a nice process, there's so much basic cookery to learn by doing each step, and the end result is luxurious and completely worth all the trouble.

Get a great mix of Pandora stations going and get to it!



It's a good idea to make sure you have all your ingredients assembled:


And then you ought to taste the wine you're using in the recipe - just to see if it's the right one - and I am serious when I say you do NOT have to use Burgundy, nor does it have to be expensive, nor does it have to be French!  It has to taste nice and be something you'd drink with the finished dish.  In fact, I recommend you get two bottles - one for the pot and one to serve.  We like L'Authentique (a French red table wine) and we get it at Trader Joe's for all of about five or six dollars a bottle.

This recipe comes mainly from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" with a few modifications of my own.  You can watch the very fun and charming episode from "The French Chef" which also helped me through making it (and skipping some of the steps from the cookbook).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrnXvE9Fqdo .

(I used 4 pounds of stew meat and this made enough for our family of 8 for dinner and enough for another set of lunch meals tomorrow.  I served it with buttered egg noodles, a green salad, and French bread.)

Boeuf Bourguignon


6 ounces of thick-cut bacon, diced
1 tablespoon grapeseed or light olive oil
5 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
3-4 pounds beef stew meat (chuck is nice)
more oil, if needed
3 cups red wine
2-3 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (crimini or white button), cleaned, stemmed and quartered
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
salt
1 - 1 pound bag frozen pearl onions
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup dry white wine (or just use all beef broth if you like)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
fresh flat-leafed parsley, chopped
boiled potatoes or egg noodles for serving

In a large skillet, brown the bacon in the oil.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a large dutch oven (enameled cast iron if you have it!).  Pour off most of the fat, then saute the carrot, shallot and garlic in the skillet for just a few minutes.  Add to the dutch oven and season with salt and pepper.  If a bit more oil is needed, add it to the skillet now and turn up the heat to medium high.

DRY the pieces of beef which will help them brown in the skillet rather than steam.  Add them to the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan, and brown them on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove each  batch with a slotted spoon and add to your dutch oven.  Repeat until all the beef is browned.  Pour off any remaining fat/oil from the pan, return it to the heat and pour in the red wine.

Scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen up all the good brown bits.  Pour all the liquid from the skillet into the dutch oven, plus enough of the beef broth to come just to the top of the meat and vegetables.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste and a bit of salt and pepper.  Bring this a simmer on the stove top, then cover and place in a 325 degree oven.

This will now take about 2-3 hours to simmer, depending on the size and cut of stew meat.  While the stew is cooking, prepare the mushrooms and onions.

Rinse and dry your large skillet, place on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter and one tablespoon oil.  When the "foam of the butter subsides" add the mushrooms (do it in two batches, don't crowd the pan!).  Shake the pan a bit, do NOT add salt yet, and let them brown for 4-5 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan.  Remove to a bowl, and sprinkle with a bit of salt.


Rinse and dry your skillet again, placing over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil.  When the foam subsides, add the bag of onions and a bit of salt.  Shake the skillet a bit and try to get the onions evenly browned but handle them gently so the skins stay intact.  When they are nicely browned, add the beef broth and the wine, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the liquid is evaporated and the onions are glossy and brown all over.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.

(onions before, and after)



When the stew is done (tender meat, flavorful sauce) remove it from the oven.  Pour it carefully into a strainer set over a sauce pot.  Put the meat and vegetables back into the dutch oven, add the onions and mushrooms. Skim the fat off the top of the sauce and heat to a simmer over medium, skimming any fat that rises to the top.

In a small bowl, mash together the 2 tablespoons each of butter and flour, making a paste.  Add this to the simmer sauce and whisk it well.  Pour the sauce over the stew and you're essentially done!



Heat the stew over low for a few minutes, tasting the sauce and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Before serving, sprinkle with the chopped parsley.



It's even BETTER the next day.

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