Winter in a Bowl – Beouf Bourguignon.
Hello everyone! It’s been a while. I’ve been hibernating, literally. As some of you know (and some of you don’t), I’m pregnant. This new development has wreaked havoc on my blogging abilities (or pretty much my abilities in general). For eating, instead of being the comforting, colorful, expressive activity of days long past is now a merely a means of survival. Pregnancy is messing with my taste buds and I don’t like it one bit! The good news is that they slowly seem to be returning from their little strike against all things vibrant and tasty. It is with this return that I bring you one of the near necessities of winter cookery–beouf bourguignon.
I usually make beouf bourguignon about once a year. This tradition first began years ago after watching a Bobby Flay special on France where the dish was featured. It looked amazing–so much richer and sexier than the stews of my youth. I made it immediately and was hooked! We recently made it for close friends of ours for our “big announcement” dinner and they raved. For days. I was relieved and touched because it meant that the small changes that I made to my recipe were successful. It also meant that I could bring the recipe to you!
Now I’m not going to lie. This recipe is not one for those rushing home from work, trying desperately to get something edible on the table kinds of days. You will hate life, you will hate me, you will hate the recipe if you try to make this when you get home from work. Annnd, you’ll be eating dinner around midnight as well. Make this on a weekend when it’s snowing or raining or too darn cold to go outside. Get it started, then curl up with a good book or a movie while it bubbles away. You will be rewarded for your efforts with a big hug for your tummy (and maybe a blissful moan or two).
Ideally, you’ll need to start this recipe a day in advance so that the meat can marinate. I’ll admit that I’ve thrown the meat in the marinade in the morning and let it hang out for a few hours before cooking instead of the extended overnight marinade. There are many cuts of meat that you can use for this recipe. For this round, I used deboned, cubed beef shanks simply because that was the only local, grassfed meat that my grocer had at the time. You can use pre-cubed stew meat, or any of the following cut into 1″ cubes: rump roast, sirloin roast, chuck roast, top round, or bottom round. You could even make this with short ribs. Mmmmmm.
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
2 cups of red wine (Burgundy, Cabernet, Merlot, etc.)
Tie the bay leaves and the thyme together with some kitchen twine. Throw all marinade ingredients into a zip-top bag, along with the cubed beef. Allow to marinate overnight (or for the slacker version, see above).
3 pounds of beef of your choice (see note above)
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/3 pound of bacon, diced
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and diced
1/4 cup of dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups + 1 cup of beef stock
3 carrots cut into 1-inch chunks
2 stalks of celery, sliced
pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
(optional garnishes: chopped chives and truffle oil)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade. Thoroughly pat dry. Toss with the flour, shaking off excess. Heat the butter and oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until melted. Add the bacon and cook until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Brown the beef on all sides in batches so that the meat has room to brown (you don’t want to overcrowd it or it will boil, not brown). Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the shallot, carrots, and celery and cook for 3 minutes, add the dijon and stir for about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups of beef stock and remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom lightly to loosen any yumminess that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 hours. Check halfway through to make sure that it isn”t drying out. If so, add the remaining cup of beef stock.
Remove from heat and carefully lift the lid off. Skim excess fat off of the top of the stew.
Mushrooms and Onions
When there is about an hour left, it’s the perfect time to start the accompaniements. By the time they are finished, the stew will be ready
1 bag of frozen pearl onions
1/2 pound of mushrooms (button or cremini work well), quartered or halved depending on the size
1 cup of beef stock or wine
2 Tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper
Heat butter in a large, oven proof saute pan over medium high heat. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Add beef stock, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven with the stew and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and divide amongst the servings of stew.
Buttermilk Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1″ pieces
1 cup of whole buttermilk, lightly warmed
3-4 Tablespoons of butter
1-2 Tablespoons of freshly grated horseradish (or prepared horseradish if you can’t find fresh)
salt and pepper
Place diced potatoes in a saucepan and cover by 1-inch with water. Season with salt. Bring to a low boil. Check potatoes for doneness after 15 minutes by inserting a fork or knife in a potato. Drain the potatoes and run through a potato ricer (my favorite method) or mash with a potato masher. Place potatoes back in the sauce pan and stir over medium-low heat for about a minute to release the steam. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place a scoop of mashed potatoes on a plate or shallow bowl creating a well in the center. Ladle the stew over the potatoes. Spoon over the mushrooms and onions. Garnish with a sprinkling of chives and a drizzle of truffle oil if you would like. My mouth is watering! This would also be great served over slices of toasted, butter and garlic slathered country bread. I’m just sayin…
*You can definitely make this in advance or freeze it. Leftovers are great as-is but if you want to mix things up a bit, try this recipe for Pot Roast Potato Cakes, adapted from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen.