Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Taming Of The Stew. Rosie Makes Boeuf Bourguignon.

 Mr. Hawthorne and I were watching Anne Burrell making Boeuf Bourguignon the other day and I realized that I had never made this classic French dish.  Rosie is off to rectify this, but first, a little history of the dish.

Boeuf Bourguignon is a rich beef stew that originated in the Burgandy (French: Bourgogne) region of Eastern France.  The dish started out as a peasants' recipe and a way to slow-cook tough cuts of beef using ingredients they had on hand.  The preferred type of beef used is from Charolais cattle since the Burgundy region was renowned for its prized Charolais.  Chef August Escoffier first mentioned Beouf Bourguignon in a 1903 cookbook.  A hearty, rustic, peasant meal was later refined into the  haute cuisine dish it's regarded as today.  Haute cuisine.  Heh.  It's cow soup.

For boeuf bourguignon, the meat is first marinated, then browned,  and then simmered in an aromatic liquid for several hours until tender.  It's a dish that can easily be made ahead and it only gains in flavor when reheated.  As for the cut of meat to use, consider rump pot roast, chuck pot roast, sirloin tip, top round, or bottom round.

Boeuf Bourguignon
5 cloves garlic, smashed
3 fresh bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and halved
2 ribs celery, halved
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
One 750-ml bottle red wine, such as Burgundy
4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks

Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces slab bacon, cut into lardons
1 pound cremini or white button mushrooms, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 to 4 cups beef stock
3 fresh bay leaves
1 bundle fresh thyme
1 pound potatoes, quartered
1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving

For the marinade: Combine the garlic, bay leaves, carrots, celery, onions and wine in a large storage bag.. Add the beef; cover and let sit in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, massaging the meat occasionally. 
For the stew: Remove the beef from the marinade. Strain the veggies and bay leaves from the marinade and discard. Reserve 2 cups of the marinade.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat a large, wide pan or Dutch oven with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and toss with the flour.  Do not flour the beef until you're ready to brown it. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pan, but be sure to not crowd the pan; you will need to work in four batches. Brown the meat well on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan to a baking sheet.

After the first two batches, deglaze the pot with 1/2 cup of the reserved marinade, scraping up any browned bits. Drain the liquid into a small bowl. Add more olive oil to the pan to coat and cook the remaining two batches of meat. Add the meat to the baking sheet. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup marinade, scraping up any browned bits.

Add the bacon and cook until it gets brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Toss in the mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic and onions, and season with salt. Cook until the mixture starts to soften and becomes very aromatic, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup marinade and deglaze the pan, stirring up any browned bits, 1 minute. Add the beef. Stir to combine and cook until the wine has reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add enough of the beef stock to just cover the surface of the beef. Toss in the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Cover the pan, bring the liquid to a boil and put in the oven.

Cook the beef for 2 hours. During the last hour of cooking time, add the potatoes. Cover the pan with the lid and put the stew back in the oven to cook for an additional hour.  The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

Remove the pot from the oven and skim off any excess grease from the surface of the stew. Garnish with the chives and serve with crusty bread to sop up all the sauce.

I foraged around in my freezer and came up with sirloin tip and ...
... Denver steaks.

I prepped the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery for the marinade.

I poured in a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

I let this marinate overnight.

Marinated meat.

Discard the bay leaves, the carrots, onion, and celery.

Flour the meat and ...
... brown well on all sides.  Do not crowd the pan.  Cook in batches.  Remove meat to a bowl.

Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup of the reserved marinade.
Scrape up the goody bits.

Cut up the bacon.

Cook until brown and crisp.

Prep the carrot, celery, and onion.

Toss in the shrooms.

Add in carrots, celery, and onions.

Cook about ten minutes, then add in tomato paste.

Add in remaining marinade.

Cook another few minutes and then ...

...  add in beef.
Stir to combine and cook until the wine has reduced by half.

Add enough beef stock to cover.

And here's my secret ingredient - veal stock.

I added in a big scoop.

Toss in the thyme bundle.
Cover pan, bring to boil, and put in the oven.
Cook for 2 hours.

Chop the potatoes and add to the pot.

Cover and cook another hour.

My house smells amazing.
While the stew was stewing, I baked two lovely baguettes.

Use the bread to sop up every drop of flavor.


Rocquie said...

I have never made Boeuf Bourguignon either. You inspire me to rectify this. Next snowy day, I'm in. Thanks, Rocquie

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Go for it, Rocquie!