Welcome to Week 2 aka French Week! Work got unexpectedly busy, so I haven’t had time to update the blog, but here’s the dish I made for dinner on Monday night!
I’ve been dying to make boeuf bourguignon (beef burgundy) for the longest time, having grown up watching Ina Garten make it on the Food Network more times than I can count. It always intimidated me though. There were so many ingredients that needed to be cooked individually, and there was even a step involving setting the whole thing on fire. For that reason, 13-year-old me filed that one away in the “Maybe-in-a-Million-Years” category in my head.
What I love about this cooking project is that it really pushes me to cook outside of my comfort zone. No, I didn’t end up flaming the cognac (mostly because I couldn’t afford cognac after buying the beef, bacon, countless veggies, and entire bottle of red wine that went into this dish), but I think I made a pretty darn good boeuf bourguignon regardless.
Like I said, I made a few adjustments to the recipe in order to make it a little more cost-conscious and a little less time-consuming. I am, after all, still a student and I’m on a student’s budget. This is not a cheap dish to make, but it does make a ton of stew, and after tasting it, you’ll definitely think it’s worth making at least once!
(adapted from Ina Garten)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz. smoked bacon
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, sliced into 1-inch diagonals
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 750-ml bottle of dry red wine (Ina recommends Pinot Noir or Cote du Rhone)
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced thickly with stems removed
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add olive oil to a Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Season beef chuck with salt and pepper. Sear in bacon fat in the Dutch oven until brown on all sides. Remove beef and reserve on same plate as bacon.
Add carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of pepper to the Dutch oven and cook for 10 minutes until onions are light brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add bacon and beef back to Dutch oven and stir to distribute. Add the bottle of wine, beef broth (just enough to cover the meat), thyme, and tomato paste to the Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer, cover the Dutch oven, and transfer to the oven. Let braise in the oven for 1 1/4 hours.
While waiting (the hardest part!), saute the sliced mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan. Set aside.
Combine 2 tablespoons of the butter with the flour and mash until combined. After the 1 1/4 hours has finally elapsed, remove Dutch oven from the oven, and stir in the butter-flour mixture to thicken up the stew (this actually did very little to thicken up my stew, but it’s okay, as we loved the flavor of the broth). Stir pearl onions and mushrooms into the stew. Bring the stew to a boil over the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 more minutes. Season to taste, and serve.
Note: We ate this with sourdough bread on the side, as Ina recommended, and it was just heavenly dipping the bread into the broth. If you don’t serve this with bread, you’re missing out! Also, don’t be scared off by the entire bottle of wine. I’m not a wine person at all and still enjoyed it. I even used the cheapest Pinot Noir I could find (it was $10 for the bottle), and it still tasted great.