Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beef Burgundy - A French Classic!

While the weather is still on the cool side here in Michigan, it seems right to make a lot of hearty, comforting dishes for Sunday dinners. Although there is no law that says you can’t make beef burgundy during the summer time, it seems to taste even better in cold weather. This classic French stew gained great popularity in the early 1960’s thanks to Julia Child. She referred to it as “boeuf bourguignon” and people all over the country were cooking it up. While Julia Child’s recipe is exquisitely wonderful – I’ve made it a number of times – I opted for one that required a little less attention and labor. 

One thing that is important is using a good dry red wine. Burgundy, which is a French wine produced in the Burgundy region, is traditionally used in this dish. I’ve found that a nice pinot noir works well, so that’s what I used. Another must is bacon. It starts this stew on the right footing, and adds a subtle but welcoming layer of flavor. 

You can serve beef burgundy in a bowl, or over noodles (as we did) or rice. It’s great with warm crusty bread, too. We made popovers, since they provide a nice accompaniment to beef. The beauty of this dish is that it is all comes together in one pot and can be cooked entirely on top of the stove. 

Beef Burgundy
2 ½ - 3 lb chuck roast (can also use an English cut roast)
4 slices of bacon, diced
1-2 TBSP olive oil
I large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 carrots, chopped
2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine, such as pinot noir
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp dried thyme
1 lb mushrooms, coarsely chopped

Take your chuck roast and begin cutting it into 1 to 2 inch cubes. Cut the entire roast and set the pieces aside. Using a large pot or Dutch oven, cooked the diced bacon until it just starts to crisp. You want to render the fat out of the bacon because you are going to use the bacon fat to brown the beef. Transfer bacon to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Begin to brown beef in the bacon fat – you will need to do this in a number of batches. Do not crowd the pot! Put a good sear on each cube of beef and then transfer beef to large bowl with bacon. If you need to add more fat to the pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil.

When all the beef is browned and removed from the pot, add another tablespoon of olive oil. Put in onion, garlic and carrots. Stir well and cook until the onions begin to get soft and carrots start to pick up a little color – about 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and stir to coat all the vegetables – cook for about a minute. Add tomato paste and stir in cooking for another minute. 

Add wine, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and stir to release cooked on bits from bottom of pot (deglaze). Return browned beef and cooked bacon to pot. Stir contents of pot together, return to simmer and cover pot. Let simmer for 1 to ½ hours.

Add chopped mushrooms, return cover to pot, and simmer another 30 to 45 minutes. If desired, serve over buttered noodles or rice. This stew just as good, if not better, the next day (if there are any leftovers)! Enjoy!

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