Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recipes to Rival - Boeuf Bourguignon

This month's Recipes to Rival challenge was Julia Child's version of the classic Boeuf Bourguignon as picked by Heather at Randomosity and the Girl. Perfect for the chilly fall weather that has moved in.
Let me just say this was fabulous! It was totally worth the little bit of fussiness it involves (which really isn't that much). We've made the Jacque Pepin version before but this was so much better. The flavors just melded together beautifully & the smell while cooking is amazing (I thought poor Matt was going to lose it having to smell it cooking all day). For the cut of meat I used something called Top Round Grillers & for the wine I used a mid-priced Cote du Rhone (which we also drank with dinner). We served the stew over potatoes.

I really stuck pretty closely to the original recipe except I used frozen pearl onions (I hate peeling them) & instead of braising them in stock I just browned them with the mushrooms. I also couldn't find chunk bacon so I just used some really good thick cut bacon slices.

Is this time consuming? Yup, but it is oh so worth it & I'll be making it again come snowy winter days.

Boeuf Bourguignon
(from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
Yield: For 6 people (I made 1/2 of the recipe which made exactly 3 servings)

A 6-ounce chunk of bacon
1 Tb olive oil or cooking oil
3 lbs. lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes (see Notes)
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 Tb flour
3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving, or a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 Tb tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ tsp thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
The blanched bacon rind
18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock
1 lb. quartered fresh mushrooms sautéed in butter
Parsley sprigs

Remove bacon rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, ¼ inch thick and 1½ inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1½ quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

FOR IMMEDIATE SERVING: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.

FOR LATER SERVING: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About I5 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Equipment: A 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep and a slotted spoon

Cuts of Meat for Stewing:

The better the meat, the better the stew. While cheaper and coarser cuts may be used, the following are most recommended. Count on one pound of boneless meat, trimmed of fat, for two people; three if the rest of the menu is large.

First choice: Rump Pot Roast (Pointe de Culotte or Aiguillette de Rumsteck)

Other choices: Chuck Pot Roast (Paleron or Macreuse a Pot-au-feu), Sirloin Tip (Tranche Grasse), Top Round (Tende de Tranche), or Bottom Round (Gîte a la Noix).

Vegetable and Wine Suggestions:

Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, or Burgundy.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski


Angry Asian said...

i also used frozen pearl onions and you're right, it's *really* time consuming. however, what with the cooler weather coming in, this is perfect to tuck into. great job.

A Bowl Of Mush said...

There's really nothing better than this recipe! even though it's time consuming, its totally worth it!

Kristin said...

That looks delicious!! I wonder if it would do well in a crockpot?

kat said...

Kristin - I saw a couple other people did do it in a crock pot & said it worked just fine.

Madam Chow said...

Yours looks fabulous. and if you use pearl onions, frozen is the way to go!

grace said...

french food doesn't typically excite me, but this looks so warm and welcoming and hearty that i can't help but love it!

Lori said...

It was so worth it. A little finnicky but the end product was amazing. My husband probably consumed half of it while we had modest portions.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I like that you serve your beef bourguignon with potatoes. I typically serve it with pasta, but I think potatoes would make the dish much heartier.

Thistlemoon said...

I am seeing this all over the web, and it looks soooo good! I am going to have to try a modified version this weekend - I have almost all the ingredients...

Heather B said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed it. It turned out fabulous! I'll definitely be making this come winter as well!

Natty said...

Funny, I just made this for a birthday dinner for my dad on Wednesday! The only change I make is I coat the beef in flour before browning it in the bacon fat.

PG said...

Looks so good. I can just imagine how amazing this would smell.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Perfect! Bourguignon is one of the dishes Paul makes really well, so I don't get to make it!

Karine said...

Your beef bourguignon seems totally worth the effort! Thanks for sharing:)

Temperance said...

As always your pictures are lovely, I am really jealous of that. I see you kept some carrots with yours, it looks nummy.

maybelle's mom said...

perfect; great picture. my daughter loves to peel the onions for me.

Peter M said...

Beef Bourg is an all-time fave and when the weather turns a little cooler...this will be a Sunday meal.

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