Monday, November 3, 2008

Beouf Bourguignon

You may have heard Noah and I are going to Paris for Christmas and New Years. And we're kinda, sorta getting really freaking excited about it. So much so that we ended up making multiple French/French inspired dishes this weekend. Including a Beouf Bourguignon.

The recipe is from "Glorious Stew" by Dorothy Ivens, a cookbook I fondly remember on my mom's book shelves when I was growing up. She gave me a copy a few Christmases ago and I've wanted to make something from it forever. I finally got it together this weekend, just in time for a moderate temperature drop that made it feel quite fall-ish (for LA, which meant mid-70s).
And wow, A+ Ms. Ivens. Yes, of course, I tweaked the recipe a little, but it's simple (really, I promise) and tasty and we're still (happily) eating the copious leftovers.
Beouf Bourguignon
"Glorious Stew" by Dorothy Ivens

3 lbs. boned shoulder or chuck fillet of beef in 2 inch cubes (or beef stewing meat, which is what we got)
2 slices bacon, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil, more if needed
4-5 tbsp. butter, more if needed
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 c. cognac (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp. salt
6-8 grinds pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsely (I left it out)
2 c. dry red Burgundy, warmed (okay, admission, we used a cheap Bordeaux, which I guess technically makes it Beouf Bordeaux)
1-2 c. beef broth, warmed, more if needed
1 lb. mushrooms
24 small white onions (pearl)
3 carrots, chopped into chunks similar in size to mushrooms (not in the recipe, I just wanted 'em)

Turn oven to 450 degrees. Pull out a 3-4 quart casserole dish.

Dry meat thoroughly so it browns properly. In a skillet, cook the bacon in the hot oil and 2 tbsp. butter. When it is lightly browned, remove it with a slotted spoon to a heavy, lidded flameproof casserole. In the same skillet, brown the beef carefully on all sides, a few pieces at a time, removing them to the casserole as they are done. Turn on flame very low under the casserole.

Sprinkle the flour on the meat, toss gently and cook until four is absorbed. Place the casserole uncovered in the oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then toss the meat and cook 5 minutes more. This is to sear the meat thoroughly.

Return the casserole to the top of the stove and turn the oven down to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, warm the Cognac (if using) and ignite it with a match. Pour it, flaming, into the casserole, standing well back and shaking the casserole for a few seconds. Stop the flame by putting hte lid on for a moment. *Note - This is not considered to be part of the traditional Burgundian recipe, but more of a Parisian flourish added in restaurants there. I emitted it, due to a lack of cognac or acceptable substitute.

Mash the garlic with the salt. Remove the casserole lid and add all the seasonings (thyme, bay leaf, pepper and parsley). Pour the warmed wine and add enough warmed stock to barely cover the meat. Bring it all to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and place in oven, turning it down to 300 degrees. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is nearly tender. Check during cooking to make sure the liquid has not boiled away. Add hot water or more stock if needed. Degrease the dish once or twice by tipping pot and skimming off fat. Check seasoning.

Now for the vegetables. If mushrooms are larger than an inch or so in diameter, slice into halves or quarters. Peel onions and make a small cross in root to prevent them from separating (if using pearl onions, the easiest way to peel is by placing them in boiling water for 3 minutes and then peeling, a la tomatoes or peaches). Cut carrots into comprable chunks to onions and mushrooms.

Lightly saute the onions, carrots and mushrooms together in butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add to stew (when you hit the 1 1/2 hour in point). Cook for 30-45 minutes longer or until meat and vegetables are tender.

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