Ahhh, boeuf bourguignon. To borrow a phrase (let alone a whole recipe!) from the Grand Dame herself it is, “one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.” This is one shining example of many where what was originally a peasant dish has been elevated to fine dining and for good reason. On the other hand this is also considered a hard dish and usually ends up on lists of some of the hardest to cook. For the life of me I can’t figure out why, this is as easy as it gets.
As many of you may know my lovely lady got me a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas (she would say Chanuka), heck, for the holidays. And I promised her that if she would get them I would cook them. So here we are, my first foray into these biblical tomes. I love them. Love them so hard it is probably illegal everywhere except Arkansas. Who knows, who cares, let’s cook.
Oh, before we start. I also added to my ever-growing pile of cookbooks Slow Cooker Revolution by Cook’s Illustrated (helmed by Christopher Kimball) along with a handy-dandy Crockpot and decided that against wisdom I would merge/compare their recipe with Julia’s. Overall I believe the results were worth it. As we go through this write up I’ll talk about the two different approaches. Ready?
Boeuf Bourguignon - From Julia with an Assist from Christopher
|3lbs chuck roast, chopped into 2” chunks||Chuck roast is perfect for this with enough fat to keep things moist|
|1 onion, medium diced||Chris prefers 3, which is way too many for our tastes|
|1 carrot, medium diced|
|3 tbs vegetable oil|
|1 tbs tomato paste||Julia wanted 1 tbs, Chris wanted 1/4 cup, we compromised|
|2 cloves garlic peeled and mashed||Julia asking for 2 and Chris 6!|
|1 tbs dried thyme|
|1/3 c flour||Julia did not have flour in her recipe, but I agree with Chris… it helps thicken things up.|
|2 1/2 c pinot nior|
|1 1/2 c chicken or beef stock||Julia preferred beef, Chris chicken. I used chicken and it was tasty. Next time I’ll use beef|
|2 bay leaves|
|1 tsp white sugar||This helped offset the dryness of the wine|
|2 cups fresh pearl onions|
|2 cups fresh mushrooms|
In Four Easy Steps…
Step 1: Make sure the meat is dry, pat it down with paper towels and season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbs oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Give the skillet at least 5 minutes to come to heat then place 1/2 the meat in. After about 3 minutes roll the pieces over and repeat until brown on all sides. No pink should be showing. Remove the browned meat from the skillet and place into the bowl of the crockpot. Repeat with remaining meat until all is done. Just a quick note: Everyone knows that we are NOT browning the meat to seal in moisture, right? It’s only for flavor and color? Right? Good. Thank you.
Step 2: Put one more tablespoon oil into the skillet and allow it to come to heat. Once it has place onions, carrots, and garlic in and brown just until the onions are clear. Put in thyme and flour and mix well until no more dry flour remains. Add in the wine and tomato paste and use a whisk to create a rich bubbly sauce. Make sure to scrape all the frond off of the bottom of the skillet, mucho flavor there! Transfer all of this to the crockpot and add enough stock to fully cover the meat.
Step 3: Set the crockpot on high for 4 hours or low for 6. As long as you have a decently tight lid and it doesn’t dry out this can easily cook all day without ruining it. If you want to stay traditional then replace the crockpot with an oven-proof dutch oven, cover it and put the whole thing in a 325 oven for 3-4 hours. Either way the fastest it will be ready when the meat is fork tender.
Step 4: About 30 minutes before serving prep the onions and mushrooms. Onions should have the root and dry paper skin peeled off, the mushrooms should be chopped into large quarters, not thinly sliced. Heat up the skillet again and place the last tablespoon of oil in. Toss in onions and mushrooms and keep them moving around the pan until they are browned. Add them to the crockpot along with sugar (if needed) and any additional stock if it is needed. Salt and pepper to taste.
There you go. You can literally go from a cold kitchen to Step 3 in under 30 minutes. Then head off to work or otherwise occupy yourself maybe by signing up for our newsletter until dinner time. Serve this with mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles or a rice side dish and you are eating one of the best meals humans have ever come up with.
Oh and leftovers? Can anyone say boeuf pot pies tomorrow night? Heck yes, please sir and I'll take two.
-Leeblog comments powered by Disqus