October 26, 2011

Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child)

This stew is best made one to two days in advance, allowing the flavors to develop. You can also freeze it up to three months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator and simmer very slow for 10-15 minutes on the stove. Recipe from Sur la Table cooking class, adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.

Yield: 6 servings
  • 1 Tbsp. Canola or Vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 6 oz. Bacon, sliced into lardons (¼-inch by 1-inch pieces)
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 1 Onion, vertically sliced into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. All-Purpose flour
  • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine (Chianti, Merlot)
  • 2-3 cups beef stock
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 3 sprigs fresh Thyme
  • 1 dried Bay Leaf
  • 18-24 pearl onions
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 pound fresh button mushrooms, stems trimmed, quartered
  • 1/3 cup Sherry Vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Heat a 10-inch heavy oven-proof casserole on medium heat and add oil. Sauté bacon pieces until lightly browned (about 2-3 minutes). Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a metal rack placed over a baking sheet; when cool, place in a medium bowl. Leave oil and bacon fat in casserole.
  3. Dry beef cubes thoroughly (IMPORTANT!!) with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat casserole over medium-high heat until fat is almost smoking and carefully sear beef (3-5 minutes), a few pieces at a time, until browned on all sides. Add browned beef to bowl with bacon. (*If you need more fat, add Canola oil-- NOT EVOO.)
  4. Heat casserole over medium heat. If casserole is too dry, add another 1-2 tablespoons oil and brown the carrot and onion.
  5. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole with the cooked vegetables; season lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over the meat mixture and toss lightly to coat. Stir in wine and add enough stock to barely cover the meat. Add tomato paste, garlic, thyme springs, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover the casserole and place in preheated oven for 2½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  6. While the beef is cooking, blanch the pearl onions rapidly in boiling, salted water until tender (about 4-5 minutes). Drain and let cool, then trim ends and peel. Set aside.
  7. In a large roasting pan, place butter and oil. Add onions and mushrooms and stir to combine. Drizzle with sherry vinegar and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place roasting pan in oven with casserole and roast, stirring occasionally, until onions and mushrooms turn golden brown and most of the liquid has evaporated (about 20-25 minutes). Remove roasting pan from oven and place onions and mushrooms in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  8. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef, vegetables and bacon to it. Discard the thyme springs and bay leaf. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
  9. Pour sauce into a fat skimmer and pour off skimmed sauce into a small saucepan over medium heat, leaving the fat behind. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, skimming any remaining fat off the surface with a small ladle. Continue cooking the sauce as needed to coat the back of a spoon. Taste carefully and season sauce with salt and pepper; pour the sauce over the beef, vegetables and bacon.
  10. To serve, cover the casserole and simmer 2-3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce. Serve in individual shallow bowls garnished with shopped parsley.


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