Beef BourguignonPosted: 13 November 2010
Have you seen Julie and Julia? I saw that movie with my friend Kiz at the discount theater. It was the same day that I had been laid off from my job. We’d had the movie planned ahead of time. Kiz, by the way, still works at that place, so she was one of the first to know when they let me go. It was part of a ‘downsizing’ that the company is still doing. Let’s just say, for the dozen or so (I’m exaggerating) people who still work there, it’s a less-than chipper workplace. Anyway, back to the movie. Kiz and I went to see it together and I loved it. She had read the book beforehand and told me I HAD to read it. It was amazing and I instantly started dreaming of doing a similar blog project. All that really happened was that I bought a few French cookbooks at the clearance department at Borders. I worked there at the time, part-time, so the cookbooks were around $1.50 each. They are, however, awesome. I totally prefer Barnes & Nobel most of the time, but when it comes to clearance cookbooks? Borders wins hands down.
Anyway. I found a few recipes and last winter started cooking more French food. I haven’t made Boeuf en Croute or anything fancy like a fully-boned duck, although I would love to have the kitchen space, tools, and time to do that! I have made some of the standards. My French Soup recipe was derived from these books and it’s delicious. Tian is a yummy baked veggie dish that’s both super easy and super delicious. And then there’s Boeuf Bourguignon. Oh delicious, delicious. It’s the recipe that more or less makes your mouth water at the thought and it was apparently all the rage at dinner parties in the 70s. In our house, it’s one of Senor’s favorite meals.
Much like Julie I often forget that things need to marinate for hours ahead of time. Beef Bourguignon is supposed to marinate over night but sometimes I forget. When I made it a few days ago, I only let it marinate for about 35 minutes and it was still delicious. It is advisable to do the marinating properly, just in case you have a tough piece of meat. Here’s what you need for this amazing stew:
Beef – a lot of it. 2-3-4-5 lbs. The more the better.
Red Wine – at least a bottle
Fresh thyme and rosemary
Salt, Pepper, Garlic, and a tad of cornstarch in case you get impatient
Butter – for searing the meat
|Largest carrot ever! Straight from Wee Garden. 🙂|
Technically you want to cut the meat into chunks and layer chopped onion with the meat in a bowl and pour a bottle of red wine over it. The herbs can also be added to the marinade. Tie together a few sprigs of rosemary and a few sprigs of thyme and toss them in. If you remember, let it sit over night in the fridge. Once you’re ready to get going, remove the meat and put the marinade in your pot. You want to sear the meat before adding it to the stew. As you can see from the pictures, I marinated and seared the meat in one big piece. It was fine that way so whether you want to cut the meat before or after marinating, it’s up to you.
Once you’ve got your marinade in your pot, add a chopped up carrot and some whole garlic cloves. The garlic cloves are actually my own addition, but when they simmer in the stew they get soft and smokey. Yum. Put the pot on a back burner and turn it on to low heat. Meanwhile, dry off the meat before searing in a pan of hot butter. Meat doesn’t brown if it’s wet, or if you’re using Teflon (which I have finally eradicated from my cooking gear) so make sure you dry it well and use either a stainless steel pan or a cast iron one. I love cast iron, in case you haven’t noticed. : )
The meat should sear until it’s a nice crispy brown on each side. Once it’s browned and chopped into pieces, add it to the pot for cooking on low heat. At this point you can add salt, pepper and garlic to your pot.
The other two delicious flavors that go into Bourguignon are sauteed mushrooms and bacon. I usually cook the bacon first, and get it nice and crispy. Once it’s done, remove it from the pan and pour off most of the bacon fat. Add your mushrooms and about a 1/4 cup of water to the hot pan. You can use whole button mushrooms, baby bella mushrooms, or chopped portabellas. I’ve used them all and they were all delicious. Get the mushrooms nicely browned as well, then let them drain with the bacon. You’ll add these last since they don’t really need to stew. You can also make your side dish at this time, since the stew will take a while to simmer.
|Rosemary roasted potatoes make a crisp, tasty side dish|
|When it looks like this, you’re done.|
Let the stew simmer, stirring occasionally, covered with a lid for 2-3 hours. Honestly, the longer you leave it the better it will be. If you become impatient, you can always dissolve some cornstarch in some very hot water and add it to your stew. It will thicken the stew like flour would, but by dissolving the cornstarch first in some water, you won’t get any lumps. : ) Before you serve the stew, make sure to remember the ‘bouquet garni’ which is the rosemary and thyme tied together with string. Most of the leaves of herb will have fallen off into the stew and that’s okay, but nobody wants a bunch of sticks and string in their stew. Toss in the mushrooms and the bacon and give it a stir. Serve the stew with roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, whipped parsnips, or just some thick, crusty bread.