Julia Child states in her famous cookbook 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' that done properly Boeuf Bourguignon 'is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man....' and after cooking it for the first time....I'd have to agree with her. I don't think for a second that my Boeuf Bourguignon tastes anywhere as good as Julia Child's must have, but it still tasted amazing! It's hard work, probably the most work I've ever put into a dish but it was very much worth it. In fact I'm planning on making again this weekend for Mother's Day. How's that for showing my love for my Mum?! ;)
This was the wine that I picked out to go in and with the Boeuf Bourguignon. Let me start by saying that I don't really drink much wine, and that I know close to nothing about picking out suitable ones. But I think I did a pretty good job - I actually quite liked this (yes there was enough for me to have a glass....or two with dinner) and I usually don't really like red wine. Plus I liked that it was fairly local to where I live! Gotta support the locals :)
By this time it smells delicious, even though it doesn't look the most appealing - this is before it simmers away for a good 3 hours. As you can see I cooked mine in the slow cooker as I don't have a crock pot at home - I realise now after making this that a crock pot would have made it far easier, but you have to work with what you've got!
There were a couple of elements to the dish that called for their own little recipes and were to be prepared while the meat part of the dish simmered away. I'm not usually a huge fan of onions, I don't mind them chopped small in things like pasta sauce, but not big chunks. The recipe called for at least 18 small onions, but I used 8 thinking that I wouldn't like them and also since there was only three of us eating. But if the Boeuf Bourguignon tasted great, the onions were absolutely divine!! You were supposed to get rid of the liquid after the onions were cooked, but I couldn't stop tasting it....it was like...heaven on a spoon (and I know how cliche that sounds). Wow! And the onions themselves were so soft and sweet....I have to tell you, I was amazed!
These are the mushrooms which had to be sauteed before they went into the stew at the end. They ended up with a nice buttery flavour which was lovely.
And the finished product. Hmmm.......I so want it again! Delish! :) Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon
1 6 ounce piece chunk bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
3 lb lean stew beef, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
salt and pepper
2 tbsp flour
3 cups red wine, young and full bodied
2 cups beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled
20 small white onions
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
herb bouquet - 4 parsley sprigs, one half bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme, tied in cheesecloth
1/2 cup beef stock
1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil Method: 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 2. Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry. 3. Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to side dish with a slotted spoon.
4. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
5. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust). Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
6. Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
7. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
8. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
9. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for 1-2 minutes, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 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 stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
10. Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.