It is US Thanksgiving holiday week, work is winding down (I wish) and it is time to focus on cooking, turkeys, side dishes, buy good wine, and invite friends and family and/or be invited. To warm up, I cooked a beef bourguignon with some grass-fed local organic beef from the farmers market. While I am waiting for Guiliana and Bill to have their baby, I am writing this up.
Beef Bourguignon (makes ca 4 not too large servings):
- 4 oz smoked bacon, diced
- 1-2 TB olive oil
- 1 – 1 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound carrots, cut into larger cubes
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1 cloves of garlic, microplaned
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1/2 bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 1 TB tomato paste
- 1 ts fresh thyme leaves (1/2 ts dried)
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dry
- 1/2 pound fresh whole pearl onions
- 1 TB butter
- 1/2 ts thyme, 1 bay leaf, salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
- 1/2 TB butter
- 1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Add the diced bacon to a large Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is releases the fat and is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Add the olive oil to the pan.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside. Add more olive oil if the pan gets too dry.
Again, add more olive oil if the pan is too dry at this point, and add the carrots, and onions to the dutch oven, 1 ts of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned and the carrots caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol (or just cook off). Add the braised meat and bacon back into the pot with all the juices.
Now, pour the 1/2 bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme and stir in. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 3-4 hours until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork (*).
(*) I used a very low-fat beef, and even after 4h in the oven it was still not tender. So, I placed the stew in a pressure cooker, the wonder weapon to get any meat tender, and cooked under pressure for another 30min. It was not perfect, but tender enough. If you are short on time, you can also cook the entire stew in the pressure cooker for about 45min.