Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Beef Bourguignon to Ring in 2014

New Year's Eve is but a sweet memory now!  It dawned with the promise of snow and there was some concern that our guests might not be able to make the drive to our home.  They were coming from north and south.   Snow was predicted all around.  It did snow but they all arrived in good order and we had a festive evening.  That snow was nothing compared to our weather this past week!  I'm well aware of what a "polar vortex" is now.  I've added that phenomena to "haboob" in my weather-related knowledge.  And, when did they start naming winter storms?  I digress.  Let's get back to ringing in the new year.

The beauty of this dish is the fact that it is better made the day before.  The cook is freed up to merely set the table, toss a salad of fresh greens and reheat the stew.  My recipe is a combination of ones prepared by James Beard and Ina Garten.  I've made it for decades now and it never fails to please.  From the sublime of filet mignon to a rump roast (that one was a little tough), we've found that beef chuck is the most tender and tastiest cut to use.  

Beef Bourguignon inspired by James Beard and Ina Garten

2 Tbsp olive oil
8 ounces of thick bacon, diced
3 pounds of beef chuck roast cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1 pound of carrots sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, quartered and sliced
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup Cognac
1 bottle of a good dry red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
2 cups beef broth (I used canned)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp dried)
4 Tbsp butter at room temperature, divided
3 Tbsp flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, stemmed and quartered

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

1.  Heat the oil in a large heavy pot that can go in the oven.  Add the bacon and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly brown and most of the fat is rendered.  Remove the bacon and save.
2.  Sprinkle the beef cubes with salt and pepper.  Sear the beef on all sides in the hot oil--3 or 4 minutes.  Don't crowd the pan.  Depending on the size of your pan, this will take 3 to 4 batches.   Remove the browned beef and add to the bacon.  Set aside.
3.  Add the carrots and onions to the pan, salt and pepper to taste, and saute for about 5 to 8 minutes until the onions are slightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook for l minute.  Turn off the heat and add the cognac.  Ignite and allow the alcohol to burn off.  Turn the heat back on.  Add the beef and bacon back into the pot with any juices that have collected.  Add the wine and enough beef broth to cover the meat by about an inch.  Add the tomato paste and thyme.  Bring to a simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours until the meat and vegetables are very tender.
4.  Combine 2 TBSP of the flour with the 3 TBSP of flour.  Work together until you have a smooth paste (buerre manie) and form into a ball.  Remove the pot from the oven and stir the buerre manie into the stew until completely incorporated.  Add the frozen onions.
5.  Saute the mushrooms in the remaining 2 TBSP of butter until lightly browned--about ten minutes.  Add to the stew.  Bring to a boil on top of the stove, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Season to taste.
6.  Cool.  Refrigerate overnight.  Remove the fat collected on top.  Bring the stew to room temperature and reheat in a 250 degree oven forty-five minutes to an hour.

Serve with a good bread for sopping up all that tasty liquid!

La Fournette's signature loaf was the perfect bread to bring warm to the table.



  1. Yummy. Sounds so good on a cold day. I do a crock pot version of this and we just love it.

  2. my keyboard is wet from drooling over that bread. i am a bread addict and would rather have bread than any other food. and after the past week we all know what a polar vortex is, even though i never heard those words before.

  3. That bread just says Festive..
    I agree Bonnie it is a great meal to serve..not 10 pots and pans and the cook in the kitchen..comfort!

  4. We are on the same page with this recipe. I always use chuck and make it a day ahead. It is much easier to remove the fat layer that way and the taste improves. Love your addition of cognac. This has been my company meal for a long time. I know your company loved every bite. Hope your weather improves soon Bonnie.

  5. What a great meal! I haven't made it in a while and have used Ina's recipe. I see this in our future! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thank you so much for suggesting that we go to La Fournette when I was in Chicago over Christmas. We bought a few things and thought everything was delicious. The baguettes were first rate. I have never seen such crazy weather and consider myself so lucky to have gotten out on Saturday between storms. Oh my, do I love that beef recipe.

    1. You were lucky to get out when you did. It is still crazy around here. Our walkway is thick with ice which was under the snow. It will be awhile before that can be taken care of. We sometimes have breakfast at La Fournette on Sunday mornings. Good coffee and good savories and sweets. Their signature bread is delicious and made a nice statement on the table.

  7. Oh yummy! We went to a friends Christmas party, and she served that! It was divine! I made a beef and barley soup that reminds me of the same dish. I saute mushrooms at the end, and then pour a half cup of red wine in....then into the soup! It adds such a richness!!! Oh mercy. I made it the other day, in fact. We are still enjoying it!
    xo Kris

  8. What a wonderful meal! It was a perfect way to ring in the New Year. I'm sure a good time was had by all. Blessings...Mary

  9. Not only is this a dish I haven't made, I've never tasted it... One of these days:@) Stay warm, it's been a rough start to 2014!

  10. that sounds amazing and of course that bread is the very best!

  11. I'm with you on the choice of cut Bonnie. This is one of our all time favorites. No wonder yours never fails to please. Hope you weather improves soon. It can only get better, oui?

  12. Ah, friends around the table ... so beautiful.

    I have always wanted to make this stew and I never have ... it will be in my list of things to do this year.

    And La Fourette ... you, once again, have given us a new place to try.

    Icy walks scare me. :)


  13. YUM.... That sounds wonderful... I love a really good Beef Stew-type dish.... And I'll bet the bread was awesome also...

    Our tiny 2 inches of snow is still with us --but we finally went above freezing today... Yeah!!!!

    Have a good day --and stay WARM and stay SAFE.

  14. This is one of my favorite dishes! I made it the a few nights before Christmas for our holiday house guest. It is most definitely a dish for every occasion! Hugs! Bonnie

  15. This looks so delicious. I have always wanted to try Ina's recipe but have never gotten around to it. You have inspired me to go ahead and do it. :)

  16. How divine. Nothing better on a cold night, Bonnie!

  17. Wow I can't wait to try this. It looks so yummy!
    You always have the best recipes.


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