Friday, January 7, 2011
Beef Bourguignon Recipe
I've seen the movie "Julie & Julia" four times now, and I look forward to seeing it again. I'm mesmerized by Julie Powell's story. The movie inspires me to cook and it inspires me to blog.
This recipe is from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa). I think it's in the "spirit" of Julia Child's Boueuf Bourguignon, but slightly updated for us contemporary "servantless American cooks." My baby sister-in-law, Joann (who trained at Le Cordon Bleu Dallas, I should add), introduced me to this recipe and assured me that although it requires a bit of effort and time, the result is totally worth the investment. She is so right. This recipe is going into the "rotation" here.
I had reservations about using an entire bottle of red wine in the recipe, that the result would be a tannic, sour stew. Silly me! How dare I not trust Barefoot when she's channeling Julia. The wine helps to tenderize and flavors the beef during the cooking process and the result is a mellow, well-rounded, full-flavored stew. This is one of the best recipes I've ever prepared, so classic and such an upscale comfort food. I hope you'll give it a try.
When you prepare Beef Bourguignon, be sure to use really good quality bacon and beef, no mystery stew meat. I skipped the toasted bread at the end of the recipe as my beloved and I are always looking to reduce those carbs that inevitably just end up as cellulite (or as I like to call it here in North Central Texas, hail damage, hahaha) on my thighs. If "wearing" your carbs isn't a concern for you, serve this dish with the toasted bread or with egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or
Pinot Noir (I used Mark West Pinot Noir)
1 can (2 cups) beef broth (obviously if you make homemade
beef broth, use it in this recipe)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol.
Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.