For Election Day 2016, I’m spending my time making my streamlined Beef Burgundy. It’ll take my mind off what’s going on, keep me from checking my phone or computer too often, and give Dave, the dogs, and me something great to smell.
Even my streamlined Beef Burgundy takes a good bit of time (I started yesterday) and should be shared. Who needs friends more than on election night? We invited a couple of really close ones for the meal and for the duration–whichever comes first.
While I’ve blogged this sumptuous repast before, I thought it needed updated photos and a re-check of the recipe, which includes quite a few more healthy vegetables than the typical version. I’ll take serving photos at dinner or tomorrow! Patience, please?
Take your time, include the elements you most like (Don’t like turnips? Skip them.) and above all, enjoy the process with a glass or two of wine and people you like to feed. If the election doesn’t go your way, you at least had a great dinner. Try this:
BEEF BURGUNDY:STREAMLINED (BOEUF BOURGUIGNON) with vegetables-serves 6-8
While the following appears a lengthy endeavor, and perhaps it is, it’s not difficult and skips several steps from the older recipes. You will still need the best part of an afternoon for preparation and cooking despite my streamlining the recipe. (Or make a day ahead or early in day and reheat. I’ve also had good luck freezing it, unthawing and cooking when needed.) This is a special occasion meal; it’s worth your time and effort! Do read through the recipe before beginning.
- Salted butter and olive oil
- 2 cups thawed frozen pearl onions
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, cut in half
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Dried thyme
- 3 pieces of bacon, chopped
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1 – 2-inch pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose, unbleached white flour
- Kosher salt
- 2 each: medium yellow onions, stalks of celery, garlic cloves–chopped
- 1/4 cup brandy (can substitute red wine)
- 3 large carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1 – 2-inch pieces
- 2 small parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and sliced
- 2 small turnips, peeled, trimmed, and chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 2 Turkish bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Fresh parsley, divided (1/2 in a bunch for cooking and the rest chopped/reserved for garnish)
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 750 ml bottle Pinot Noir
- 2 cups beef or chicken stock, low sodium
- In a 6-8-quart Dutch oven or oven-safe pot, heat 1 tablespoon each: salted butter and olive oil over medium flame. Add thawed pearl onions and button mushrooms. Sprinkle with a generous pinch each of black pepper and dried thyme. Let brown, then stir, and cook a bit more until tender. Remove from pot, cool, and refrigerate until later. To the pot, add 3 chopped pieces of bacon and let cook until nearly done. Remove from pot, cool, and refrigerate along with the onions and mushrooms. Leave bacon fat in pan.
- Toss the pieces of beef with flour and season with lightly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In 3 batches, brown the beef very well (If the pan becomes too dry, add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. All the brown in the bottom of the pan will come up later.) When last batch is nearly browned, add the onions, celery, and garlic. Let cook a couple of minutes, stirring, and pour in brandy or red wine and bring to a boil. Stir to bring up bits at bottom if the onions didn’t do the job. Let cook 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the beef you browned earlier back into the pot and stir.
- To the pot, add the carrots, parsnips, turnips, and fennel. Stir in 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 2 Turkish bay leaves, and tomato paste. Tie up a half-bunch of parsley and then the the sprigs of thyme each with kitchen string and lay them on top of the stew.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sprinkle vegetables with another 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, and, if desired (I desire), a pinch of crushed red pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Pour in the bottle of Pinot Noir along with the 2 cups beef or chicken stock over all. Bring to a low simmer. Cover and place in oven.
- Cook until beef and vegetables are almost tender, about 2 1/2 – 3 hours. When beef is nearly done, add the reserved pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon, stir, and return to oven until quite hot and everything is fork tender–perhaps 15-20 minutes. (If you briefly heat the onion mixture before adding it to the stew, you’ll save time.)
- Taste and adjust seasonings one last time. If too thin, thicken stove top with the addition of a tablespoon or two of flour whisked into 1/4 cup water or wine. Stir in and bring to a boil, cooking until thickened up a bit. ** If stew is too thick, add 1-2 cups of chicken or beef stock or water and let heat again stovetop. Taste and re-season if necessary. I like the stew to be loose enough for dunking bread or for mashing up the root vegetables in. In other words, you need the gravy.
- Serve hot garnished with a little chopped fresh parsley or, if not needed until tomorrow, cool totally, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Next day, re-heat over low flame slowly, covered, stirring often for a half hour or so. It should come to a boil at least briefly before serving.
Serving Notes: Many people serve this stew alongside new potatoes or, according to my French teacher, egg noodles. You could also choose some white rice seasoned with salt and pepper or even mashed potatoes. I like it with great bread (baguette or another crusty loaf) for dipping and dunking.
Typically a little green salad with vinaigrette is served here in the States with the beef. I also like it with some quickly steamed green beans and a drizzle of mustard-vinaigrette as a salad. It’s nice to have something with a bit of crunch and freshness for contrast.
**You can also use equal amounts of butter and flour, mashed together (buerre manie)–perhaps a tablespoon or two each.
STARTERS: Tapenade with grilled bread or crackers. Spiced nuts.
WINE: Sparkling wine for the starters, Pinot Noir (Oregon) for the main dish. Brandy or port, along with coffee, for dessert.
DESSERT: Creme Brûlée. This is Ina Garten’s Creme Brûlée recipe, which is simple and delicious. It’s made ahead, is light enough to go right down after a big meal, and is always popular.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE DISH or THE WINE?
Boeuf Bourguignon history here.
See Julia Child’s real-deal recipe even if you don’t have her book: Here’s a pdf from the book found online. More about the book, THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING, VOL 1, on Julia’s foundation website. See Julia’s tv show about Boeuf Bourguignon.
Sing a new song,