Beef Bourguignon

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Beef Bourguignon is one of those recipes that is notorious for the amount of time it takes to prepare and the complexity of the process. It’s been on Nathan and I’s blog post to do list for awhile but it was intimidating us and kept sliding down to the bottom of the list. Then, a couple weeks ago when Nathan and I were watching our (nerd alert) weekly episode of America’s Test Kitchen on PBS, they featured a ‘Modern Beef Bourguignon.’ They claimed that it was as good as Julia Child’s famous recipe but much quicker and easier to prepare…it looked so good that by the end of the episode Nathan and I had decided it would be our next blog post. Essentially, the recipe uses the oven to do most of the work and several steps involving stovetop searing are eliminated. This simpler recipe still takes a long time to complete from start to finish but most of that time is hands off while the beef and veggies do their thing in the oven. The finished result is so delicious that it’s hard to believe that the original recipe and more work intensive process could be any better. The beef is tender and the sauce is thick and rich…which isn’t surprising given that this recipe uses an entire bottle of wine! Pearl onions and cremini mushrooms give an earthy touch that rounds out the dish….this is a perfect meal for the cold winter evenings to come!

Beef Bourguignon-021Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Cono Sur Pinot Noir
Rating: 8.75 out of 10.0

When I first tasted this wine, I thought it would be too light bodied to stand up to the bold and rich flavors of the Beef Bourguignon. However, when I tasted the wine with the stew I felt that the light bodied wine was perfect to contrast the full bodied stew. The acidity of the wine cut through the strong flavors and brought a fruity component that fully rounded out the meal. Although it seems intuitive to pair this dish with a bold and full bodied wine, try a light and slightly acidic pinot noir instead…you’ll be surprised how good it is!

Beef Bourguignon-020Nathan’s Beer Pairing: The Truth Imperial IPA, Flying Dog Brewery
Rating: 9.0 out of 10.0

This beer is yet another example of why I usually prefer an Imperial IPA over a regular IPA. In addition to the higher ABV (who could complain about that), Imperial IPA’s tend to be more balanced that today’s American IPA which just smack you in the face with hops. There are plenty of acidic, floral, and pine notes from the hops in this beer but they are well balanced with sweet malt and a good burn from the high ABV while only medium/slightly heavy body. The hops stood up really well to the rich flavors of the meal while the heavy body and sweet malt flavors complimented the flavors… great pairing!

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Simple(r) Beef Bourguignon

From this recipe
Serves 6-8

1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces, scraps reserved
Salt and pepper
6 ounces salt pork, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed, halved if medium or quartered if large
1 ½ cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 tablespoon sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups beef broth
1 bottle red Burgundy or Pinot Noir
5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 onions, chopped coarse
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
1 garlic head, cloves separated, unpeeled, and crushed
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
10 sprigs fresh parsley, plus 3 tablespoons minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme

1. Toss beef and 1½ teaspoons salt together in bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and lowest positions and heat oven to 500 degrees. Place salt pork, beef scraps, and 2 tablespoons butter in large roasting pan. Roast on lower-middle rack until well browned and fat has rendered, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. While salt pork and beef scraps roast, toss cremini mushrooms, pearl onions, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and sugar together on rimmed baking sheet. Roast on lowest rack, stirring occasionally, until moisture released by mushrooms evaporates and vegetables are lightly glazed, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
4. Remove roasting pan from oven and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Sprinkle flour over rendered fat and whisk until no dry flour remains. Whisk in broth, 2 cups wine, gelatin, tomato paste, and anchovy paste until combined. Add onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, porcini mushrooms, parsley sprigs, and thyme to pan. Arrange beef in single layer on top of vegetables. Add water as needed to come three-quarters up side of beef (beef should not be submerged). Return roasting pan to oven and cook until meat is tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours, stirring after 90 minutes and adding water to keep meat at least half-submerged.
5. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to bowl with cremini mushrooms and pearl onions; cover and set aside. Strain braising liquid through fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Stir in remaining wine and let cooking liquid settle, 10 minutes. Using wide shallow spoon, skim fat off surface and discard.
6. Transfer liquid to Dutch oven and bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened to consistency of heavy cream, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in beef and mushroom-onion garnish, cover, and cook until just heated through, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in minced parsley and serve. (Stew can be made up to 3 days in advance.)

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