Boeuf à la Bourguignonne, or Beef Burgundy, was the most intensive recipe I’ve followed in awhile. If you are desperate to impress dinner guests, or your parents are coming to dinner, this is probably THE recipe to try. This one takes some time, though. Plan ahead, this can be done in advance, then reheated on the stove the day after. Or try it over the weekend. There are a lot of variations out on the internet, but I used Julia Child’s recipe. Here it is, I got a copy from http://www.savorsa.com/2009/08/julia-childs-recipe-for-boeuf-bourguignon/
I’ll just add my photos in between the directions.
Oh yea, and dinner was a success in that everyone got seconds, thirds, etc.
Boeuf à la Bourguignonne
Serves 6 people.
- A 6-ounce chunk of bacon
- A 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
- A slotted spoon
- 3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 sliced carrot
- 1 sliced onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons 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 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- A crumbled bay leaf
- The blanched bacon rind
- 18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock.**
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 sprigs parsley
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Parsley sprigs
**If you cannot find pearl onions, just coarsely chop 3 medium onions.
Remove rind from chunk of bacon.
Cut bacon into lardons (sticks, ¼-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches long).
The image above shows a 12 ounce chunk of bacon. I only used 6 oz, the images below show that.
Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ quarts of water. Drain and dry.
I threw the entire rind into simmer rather than cutting it in half. It will be discarded later on anyway…
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to the casserole 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.
Be careful as the fat will cause splattering.
In the same fat, brown the vegetables (1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot). Pour out the sautéing fat.
You can add the vegetables to the stew pot now.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of pre-heated 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*.
*If you plan on cooking this on the stove, skip this step.
Stir in the wine (3 cups) and enough stock or bouillon (3 cups) so that the meat is barely covered.
Bottles can range anywhere from $5 and up. And I used Chicken broth because I didn’t have beef broth. Still tasted great.
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 pre-heated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
**I didn’t have an oven-safe pot big enough for this stew, so I kept it simmering on low heat for 2 ½ to 3 hours, covered, it worked out very well.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Sauté over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover. **Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.
**Since I didn’t have pearl onions, I sautéed the onions in butter on a skillet then poured some stock over them, simmering for about 5 minutes. Since they were chopped onions, only 5 minutes of cooking is needed rather than 40-50 minutes.
For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat. Set the mushrooms 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.
You can discard the bacon rind at this point.
Skim the fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 ½ 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 15 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.