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.