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Boeuf Bourguignon

March 11, 2009

in_the_pot-beuf_bourguignon1

A cold weather staple in our household has become boeuf bourguignon.  The rich, wine infused sauce combined with melt-in-your mouth chunks of flavorful beef are the perfect end to a cold, damp day.

Although it takes a bit of time to make, it is very easy and well worth the effort.  While it simmers away in the oven, your house will be filled with the warm, inviting aroma of the stew.

Given that it takes a total of about 3 hours to make, I usually make it over the weekend so that we can enjoy the leftovers throughout the week.

beuf bourguignon prep

I have now made this recipe 4-5 times, so I’ve experimented with a few aspects of the recipe (which was originally from Williams Sonoma).  First, I have always omitted mushrooms, since I live with a mushroom-hater (it’s sad I know… maybe someday he’ll come ’round).  This has never been a problem.  In exchange for leaving out the mushrooms, I’ve added additional pearl onions at the end (nearly double what the recipe calls for).

Last time I made it, I also left out the bacon for one batch and used olive oil in place of the bacon drippings.  I was afraid that without the extra flavor from the bacon, the sauce would fall flat, but because I wanted one batch that would be Kosher so that our neighbor could join us, it was necessary.  However, I was surprised to find that the omission of bacon was not a problem at all.

The ingredient that seems to make the biggest difference to the flavor of the stew is the wine.  The recipe calls for a dry, full bodied red.  I have tried various reds, some more appropriate than others.  The first time, I used a heavy merlot which seemed to work fine (but then, it was the first time I had made it, so there was no point of comparison).  The next time I used a wine that tasted a bit bland even for drinking. This time the sauce definitely seemed less rich.  Finally, the last time I made it, I made two half batches and used different wines in each of them — the ultimate taste test.  In one, I used a fairly average cabernet sauvignon.  In the other, I used an in-your-face petite syrah from Bogle.  Although both versions tasted good, the sauce with the Bogle petite syrah was definitely richer and more flavorful.  So, when you go to make this, be sure to have a truly flavorful red wine!

On the Plate - Boeuf Bourguignon



Boeuf Bourguignon adapted from Williams Sonoma Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs of stew meat chunks (I used beef chuck)
  • 3 Slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 Onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 T Flour
  • 2 T Brandy
  • 1 Clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 t Tomato paste
  • Half a bottle of dry, full bodied red wine
  • 3/4 C Beef stock (chicken stock also works fine)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 7+ oz Pearl onions
  • 1 T Butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Flat leaf parsley for garnish

Process:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Brown the bacon in an oven proof pot.
  3. Remove browned bacon from the pot and set aside.
  4. Dry and season the stew meat generously with salt and pepper before browning in the bacon grease.
  5. Remove stew meat from pot and add chopped onions and carrots. Cook these until the onions begin to brown.
  6. Add 1 T of flour and fully incorporate, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes
  7. Add 2 T of brandy
  8. Add garlic, tomato paste, wine, stock, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
  9. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours.
  10. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, boil the pearl onions for about 4 minutes and remove their outer peels.
  11. Then melt butter in a pan and brown the onions.
  12. Once the stew is done, remove it from the oven and stir in the pearl onions.
  13. Garnish with parsley if you desire.
  14. Serve with a nice red wine (maybe the other half of the bottle you used in the stew) and some crusty bread for soaking up the sauce.

*This recipe is halved and is a good amount for dinner for two (you’ll probably have enough left over for another small meal) though it could stretch to serve four people if nobody had a big appetite.

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