Boef Bourguinon – what a fantastic meal this was! It takes some patience, but I will MOST DEFINITELY be cooking this again, and probably soon. Something that doesn’t happen often happened Sunday night – there were no leftovers. I was uncomfortably but definitely not regrettably full.
I cooked the main dish in a cast iron dutch oven on the stove (and in the oven for part of it) and used a regular frying pan and saucepan to prepare mushrooms and onions.
1 Tbsp oil (I used a combination of olive oil and clarified butter)
3 lbs lean stew beef
1 sliced carrot
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp flour
3 c. red, full-bodied wine (I used Burgundy from France, wanted it to be authentic the first time)
2-3 c. beef stock (not consomme, I read that it is sweeter)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
(I used Herbs de Provence instead of the previous two ingredients)
Blanched bacon rind (I used blanched salt pork because it had skin on it)
18-24 pearl onions (I used frozen)
1 lb quartered mushrooms
Egg noodles or boiled potatoes
Create the base
Cut rind from bacon and cut into strips. Simmer in water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450.
Sautee bacon in oil on medium heat for 2-3 minutes to brown slightly and render fat. Transfer to side dish, leaving fat and oils in dutch oven.
Brown the Beef
Dry beef chunks in paper towels to ensure efficient browning. You could also cut up a roast into 2-inch chunks, if you prefer. Brown the chunks on all sides in the Dutch oven, then take out and put with bacon on another plate. If you are using something like a stoneware casserole, this would all be done in another pan. Increase the heat on the stovetop (under the Dutch oven) until the fats and oils are almost smoking.
Return fats and oils along with beef and bacon to the Dutch oven (or use fry pan if you are using a casserole) and add the flour and toss the chunks. Put the dutch oven (or casserole, after moving beef, flour and oils into it) into the oven for 4 minutes. Toss the chunks after 4 minutes, then cook for 4 minutes more. This helps homogenize the mixture and adhere the flour to the beef. This will help thicken the sauce later.
Create the Stock
Stir in the red wine and beef stock, alternating, until the meat is just covered. Then stir in the tomato paste. Add the herbs from above. Bring to a simmer on the stove. Add sliced carrots and garlic, and stir. Reduce heat in the oven to 325, and cook in Dutch oven (or casserole, they are interchangeable from here on out) for 2-3 hours, until the beef is tender. While this is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
Onions and Mushrooms
Put the onions in a saucepan with some of the beef stock. You don’t need much, just enough to keep the onions from sticking to the pan. Cook the onions until slightly browned, the beef stock will reduce a little bit as well. Remove from heat and put in a bow.
Quarter the mushrooms, and add them to a frying pan with heated oil (I used clarified butter again). Sautee until mushrooms are slightly browned and soft. Add to bowl with onions, and set aside or refridgerate.
About a half hour before you anticipate the beef and carrots being tender, go ahead and boil your egg noodles or potatoes. It doesn’t matter if you finish them early, as the hot stew in the oven will cover and heat them.
Bring it All Together
After the meat is tender (2/3 hours) put the dutch oven on the stovetop again, and begin to simmer. Add the onions and mushrooms and stir. Simmer for as long as you like, the juices will reduce. This will determine the thickness, to a degree, of the sauce. If you want it to really thicken, you could use a paste made from flour and butter, make a roux and add the stew, or add corn starch. I found the sauce to have thickened sufficiently after about 20 minutes of simmering.
Ladle the stew over a plate of noodles, and enjoy! Pictures are below at different stages of the process.
Brown the beef in batches. You don’t want to crowd the pan, or allow it to cool too much. Sometimes adding a bunch of cold meat to a pan will cool it. A cooler pan will actually stick much more than a hot one.
This picture will give you an idea of how little beef stock is necessary to prepare the onions. There are fewer in the photo because I reduced the recipe to cook for two.
Here are the mushrooms being sauteed. I added a bit of black pepper to this. It doesn’t take long at all for them to get soft and slightly browned.
Here is the wine I used. Be sure to enjoy what is left in the bottle after adding to the pot!
Here is a picture of all the ingredients added together. This is while I was simmering on the stove to reduce. I tasted the broth several times. This is where you can add salt or pepper to taste.
All done! This is a time consuming recipe, but overall not too challenging. Very tasty! Although I wanted to try the “official” recipe the first time, I don’t see why the same batch of ingredients couldn’t be added to a crock pot…I suppose the only drawback would be that it would be harder to customize, and make changes once all the ingredients are in all at once. But I think it would be more or less the same, if you got the proportions correct.