Boeuf Bourguignon. It’s the classic french dish. Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms. Julia Child made this famous and since I received her cookbook for Christmas this year, how could I not try it myself?
Julia says “Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man…”
I’d have to say, I agree with her.
At first, I was intimidated by all the steps involved in creating this dish. I mean, simmering, sautéing, browning, baking, braising, more simmering, basting, draining, and reducing! Not to mention the crazy amount of pans you use, plus the time. Start to finish, it took me about five hours to make. FIVE HOURS! I can understand why you would make this for a special occasion. It’s not a typical weekday meal. All that aside, it has the most incredible depth of flavor of anything I’ve ever made before. Simply fantastic! I would make it again in a heartbeat. A five-hour long heartbeat, but still, you get the point. :-)
You want to see some pictures now, don’t you? I don’t blame you!
It starts with bacon… How can you go wrong with a dish that starts with bacon?
Slice the bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer the bacon in water for 10 minutes, drain and dry. Saute the bacon in oil to brown it slightly.
Remove and drain.
Brown lean stew meat in the bacon fat.
Don’t crowd the pan – take your time so you get a rich brown crust on each piece!
When that’s finished, you brown some veggies in the bacony-beefy fat.
Put the beef and bacon in an oven proof casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour and bake in a 450 degree oven for four minutes. Remove from the oven. Stir. Return to the oven for another four minutes to create a nice crust on the meat. Remove from the oven, reduce the heat to 325.
Stir in red wine and enough beef stock to cover the meat. Add some lovely garlic, herbs, the sautéed veggies and a bacon rind. Bring it to a simmer on the stove-top. Cover and set back in the oven, regulating the heat so the liquid continues to simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Don’t think you’re off the hook for the next 2 1/2 hours! There will be no checking your Facebook page, catching up on the latest novel or painting your toe nails. You still have work to do!
While the meat is cooking, you need to create “Oignons Glaces A Brun” or brown-braised onions.
Use peeled boiler onions and sauté them in butter and oil over moderate heat for about 10 minutes so they get nice and brown.
Pour brown beef stock and red wine over the onions, again adding lovely herbs in a herb bouquet tied in cheesecloth. Simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are tender and the liquid has evaporated. These onions taste amazing! You can do these as a side dish. They are incredible! Plus the syrupy goodness at the bottom of the saucepan… you may want to save that to add to the sauce at the end. It tastes so good!
Still no Facebook! You have “Champignons Sautes Au Beurre” to make! Yep, time to sauté the mushrooms.
Of course, more butter and oil is required!
Now you have about 10 minutes to go tell your friends how amazing your kitchen smells! That’s what I did! :-)
When the meat is tender, you’re going to pour everything through a sieve set over a saucepan. Wipe out the dish and return the beef and bacon to it. Put the cooked whole onions and mushrooms over the meat.
Simmer the sauce for a few minutes, skimming off the fat as it rises. At this point, if you saved that delicious syrup from the onions, stir it in. You’re going to simmer the sauce until you have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Try not to slurp it all down, dinner still isn’t ready.
Adjust seasonings and then pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
Cover and simmer for an additional few minutes, basting the meat and veggies several times. I served this with steamed white rice, but Julia recommends serving it with boiled potatoes. So add that to your list of things to do while the meat is cooking and you are simmering onions and sautéing mushrooms. :-)
This is what it looked like on the table!
I would highly recommend you try this dish. Invest the time. Learn and experience the different techniques and layers of flavors that go into making it. It’s a phenomenal experience!