I was prepared for battle, armed and dangerous in my kitchen fatigues. I had assembled my mise en place army and was standing ready to take on the seemingly epic culinary undertaking that is (drum-role please) ...... BOEUF BOURGUIGNON!
Now, I LOVE this dish. It’s one of those meals that when done well can be something you dream about for weeks after eating. Rich and smooth and earthy with that depth of flavor that can only come from having taken a bath in wine for 4 hours. I mean really, what doesn’t taste completely awesome after all that?
As it turns out, it’s just not that hard! Maybe it’s because I’ve been making a lot of stews recently. Or maybe it’s that I just can’t stop drooling over all the bacon, butter and winey goodness long enough to worry about the actual cooking part. Or maybe it was that damn Aaron Copland Rodeo music from the “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” commercials that has been running through my head all day. Whatever the reason, I made it through and it was A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!
It had a dark, full-bodied and luscious sauce that glistened (thank you copious amounts of butter). The beef just fell apart into these delicious silky morsels. In fact, one look at the fork and those damn beef chunks parted like Moses and the red sea. It was ambrosial. I kept looking up at my husband with the “I totally made this!” look in my eye but my mouth was too busy chewing so the words never made it out. I thought about serving the bourguignon over noodles or something but then decided that it was so rich and simply divine that all it needed was a bowl and a spoon. I will definitely be making this dish again and if you have a spare 5 hours to sit at home ;-) you should too.
(by A Girl and Her Kitchen, adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook)
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 8 ounces pancetta, cubed
• 3 lb lean stew meat
• 3 large carrots, cut into 1inch pieces
• 3 shallots, sliced
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
• 1 bottle (3 cups) red wine (any you like will do)
• 1 shot of cognac (such as Hennessey)
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 ounces demi glace (if not available, swop out water and demi glace for 3 cups good beef stock)
• Water to cover
• 4 tbsp butter (unsalted), softened
• 3 tbsp flour
• ½ pound frozen whole pearl onions (optional)
• 1 pound fresh mushrooms, stems discarded & caps thickly sliced
• ½ tbsp sherry vinegar (optional)
Preheat oven to 325° with rack in lower third.
Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté pancetta in oil until lightly browned. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside.