Monday, April 4, 2011

Boeuf Bourguignon

Please to excuse the extreme close-up - I made this in my pretty, pretty new dutch oven (thanks Mom!) but didn't decide that I actually liked it enough to post until it was reheated the next day in my dinky tupperware.

Boeuf Bourguignon
Adapted (very slightly) from the grand-dame herself, Julia Child

6 oz. Bacon
1 T. Olive Oil
3 lbs. stewing Beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
1 Carrot, sliced
1 Onion, sliced
1 t. Salt
1/4 t. Pepper
2 T. Flour
3 C. Red Wine
3 C. Beef Stock
1 T. Tomato Paste
2 cloves Garlic, mashed
1/2 t. Thyme
1 Bay Leaf, ripped into little bits

Sauteed Mushrooms, for which you need:
1 lb. Mushrooms, I used Shitake and button but mix as you like
1 T. Butter
1 T. Olive Oil

Brown Braised Onions, for which you need:
8 Scallions (you can substitute 18 - 24 small white onions if you can find them)
1 1/2 T. Butter
1 1/2 T. Olive Oil
1/2 C. Beef Stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, 2 thyme sprigs, 1 small bayleaf, tied together with twine

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut bacon into strips (evidently these are called lardons), approximately 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long.  Saute the bacon in a dutch oven in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.  Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. 

Heat remaining fact in dutch oven until it is almost smoking.  Saute the beef, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides.  Add it to the bacon.  In the same fat, brown the carrots and onions.

Pour out any remaining sauteing fat and return the beef and bacon to the dutch oven and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in the middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. This should brown the flour and (maybe) cover the meat with a light crust.  Remove dutch oven, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.  Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs.  Bring to simmer on top of the stove.  Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven.  Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

As the meet is cooking, prepare the brown braised onions.  Heat butter and oil until bubbling in a skillet.  Add onions and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible.  Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.  Add stock, salt and pepper and herb bouquet.  Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated.  Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Next, prepare the mushrooms.  Heat oil and butter over high heat.  As soon as the butter has melted, add mushrooms.  Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms have browned lightly.  Remove from heat and set aside.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the dutch oven into a sieve set over a saucepan.  Return the beef and bacon to the dutch oven and add the onions and mushrooms.

Skim fat off the sauce.  Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises.  You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.  If too thin, boil it down rapidly.  If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon.  Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables or serve separately.  Typically, this can be served with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley - I just boiled a few potatoes.

Highly recommended:  Wait a day before serving - just cover and refrigerate.  When you want to reheat, you can skim off the fat from the top, if that's your thing.  Then, about 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring everything to a simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

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