Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Easier Beef Bourguignon

Okay, let me just put out this little disclaimer. While this isn't as difficult as the Julia Child version, this isn't your quick and easy family dinner. It is quite time-consuming and during the preparation of the pearl onions, I thought it was flat-out ridiculous. In fact, as I was preparing it, I decided it was too time-consuming to post on this blog. But then we sat down to eat dinner and it was so delicous, so flavorful and tender, that I decided I would go ahead and post it. This isn't your regular beef stew. This is either a special occasion dish more fitting to an anniversary dinner or trying to impress the in-laws, or a cooking therapy dish for when you need an afternoon in the kitchen accomplishing something great! If you bravely give it a try, let me know what you think!


4 slices bacon
2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil
4 lbs trimmed beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes, patted dry with paper towels (I bought really good quality stew meat already cut up)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups sliced onions
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups red cooking wine
2 cups beef broth
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves crushed garlic

Beurre manié: 3 Tbsp flour blended to a paste with 2 Tbsp butter

24 pearl onions (I actually used the whole little bag, which was more like 30)
Chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds of button or cremini mushrooms, quartered


In a large frying pan, cook the blanched bacon to brown slightlym then remove and crumble. Add about 1 tbsp. olive oil, heating it so that a drop of water sizzles. Dry beef chunks with a paper towel to prevent splatter. Brown the chunks of beef on all sides in the bacon fat and olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and put them into a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or covered casserole pan. This will take a little time because you want each piece of beef to have it's own spot--no stacking up the meat. I had to repeat this step with three pans of beef.

Remove all but a little fat from the frying pan, add the sliced vegetables and brown them, and add to the meat. Deglaze the pan with wine, pouring it into the casserole along with enough stock to almost cover the meat. Stir in the tomatoes and add the garlic and thyme. Cover with foil and place in a preheated 325°F oven, until the meat is tender, about 2 to 3 hours.

While the stew is cooking, prepare the onions. Blanch the onions in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Slice the end tips off of the onions and peel them. Sauté onions in a single layer in a tablespoon or two of butter until lightly browned. Add chicken stock. Add a teaspoon of sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 minutes or until tender. The onions should absorb most of the water. If there is water remaining after cooking, drain the excess. Set aside.

Prepare the mushrooms a few minutes before serving the stew. Sauté quartered mushrooms in a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil until browned and cooked through. Don't crowd the mushrooms as this makes them sweat and then the flavor and texture isn't as good.

When the stew meat has cooked sufficiently, remove as much liquid as you can and put it in your saute pan or a sauce pan. On low heat, whisk in the beurre manié, then simmer for 2 minutes as the sauce thickens lightly. Pour over the meat, folding in the onions and mushrooms. It should still be hot, but if it isn't, return it to the oven for twenty minutes or so to heat it up, basting meat and vegetables with the sauce every few minutes.

I served it the first day over brown rice and that was good. After that, we just had bowls of the stew. YUMMY!


CinnamonAndSass said...

Oh yum...I love making this sort of recipe on a Sunday when I have all day to putter around in the kitchen.

Tawnie said...

This kind of a recipe scares me but it looks so good. One day I vow to try this. I enjoy reading the recipes you gourmet cooks try. Thanks for sharing. The onions look awesome.

Mum in Bloom said...

My modified version is in the slow cooker right now.. smells sooo good! Yours looks wonderful :)

Kristi said...

Looks and sounds delightful. Maybe I will give it a try on one of my ambitious days.

Leslie said...

ok, i can pretty much guarantee that i will never make this. that is no surprise to anyone who knows me. :) BUT, i would love to eat it if someone else makes it and invites me over to try it. :) hahaha.
looks delicious karey. Mmm...
you go girl !

Lisa said...

wow. that is an incredible recipe. and it looks so tantalizing to my taste-buds. i LOVE onions but i have never had pearl ones. compare them to other onions for me...

Karey said...

Sweet, little one-bite gems. I LOVED them. I could have eaten an entire bowl of just broth and pearl onions. They were that good.

Scott / Lori said...

Yummy. This looks delicious and the recipe sounds amazing. I think I could only justify this for a special occasion. I would love to taste it!

Julie said...

I'm dying to make beef bourguignon...this looks super!