Saturday, October 29, 2011

Beef Bourguignon

Every year on the first cold day of the year, my tradition is to make Beef Bourguignon.  Today was that day here in Nebraska (temperature was 30 when I crawled out of bed), and everyone was waiting all day for this.

This French beef stew certainly takes some time to prepare, but the end result is definitely worth the effort.  Most beef stews are cooked all together in the same pot, but I find this one needs some of the ingredients cooked separately and then added at the last minute. For example, if you cook the onions in with the stew, they fall apart and lose most of their flavor. Same thing goes for the mushrooms. By cooking them by themselves and then tossing them with the meat just before serving, you get the best flavor and texture from each individual ingredient.

Beef Bourguignon

6 strips bacon
2 1/2 lbs beef stew meat or chuck roast
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch trunks
4 Tbsp flour
2 cups burgundy wine
2 cups beef broth, divided
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp tomato paste
10 oz pearl onions
8 oz mushrooms
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in Dutch oven or large oven proof pot over medium low heat. Cut bacon strips into 1/4 inch pieces. Add to Dutch oven and cook until fat is rendered from bacon, about 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium and cook until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Set aside.

Add 1/2 of beef to bacon grease and cook over medium high until beef is browned on all sides. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining beef. Remove from pan. Add carrots and cook about 4 minutes. Return beef to pan and cook about 2 minutes more.

Add flour and toss to coat. Cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Add wine and 1 1/2 cups beef broth. Reduce heat to medium and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Cover and move to oven. Cook at 300 degrees for 2 hours, or until beef is very tender.

About 45 minutes before beef is done, bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add whole onions and boil about 2 minutes. Drain well. Cut off root end of onion and squeeze to remove peel. In small skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add peeled onions and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes turning occasionally. Add 2 Tbsp of remaining broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, adding more broth (2 Tbsp at a time), until onions are caramelized and all broth is absorbed. Remove from heat.

About 15 minutes before beef is done, melt 1 Tbsp butter with 1 Tbsp olive oil in medium skillet. Clean and quarter mushrooms. Saute mushrooms in butter until browned. Remove from heat.

When beef is tender, remove from oven. Discard parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir in onions, mushrooms and bacon. Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles.

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