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Monday, May 3, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

Now that I am doing the cooking, I have started reading the weekly food section of our daily paper.  This week a picture in that section caught my eye, so I looked at the recipe and saw the title: “For dinner, take a quick trip to France”.  That sound like fun and the recipe is for Beef Bourguignon.

Now after watching the movie Julie and Julia, and the problems she had with the Beef Bourguignon, I have been a little reluctant to attempt this meal.  I reviewed the directions and ingredients and this version seems very straightforward and easy to make.  I had to make a trip to the store to get the three pounds of beef, some bacon, and some pearl onions.

I started cooking about 2 pm, and got out some mini-Portobello mushrooms and weighed out 8-ounces that I cleaned and quartered.  I turned on the oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees and then I retrieved our large ceramic-coated Dutch oven from the back of the pantry and put it on the range top to heat.

Once the Dutch oven was hot, I poured about a tablespoon of grape seed oil into the pot and added the mushrooms.  I cooked the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until they were cooked.  I removed the mushrooms from the pot and placed them on a plate for later.

While the mushrooms were cooking, I got out the beef roast and cut it into one-inch cubes.  After I removed the mushrooms, I added a little more oil and then browned the beef cubes in several batches, each batch browned in the specified 3 minutes.  As each batch of beef finished browning, I moved it to a bowl where it stayed until after the bacon cooked.

Into the hot pan, I added five pieces of thick pepper bacon.  Our local store was having a sale on thick-cut bacon with a coupon, so I bought the maximum amount of five pounds and split it up into about one-pound amounts and popped them in the freezer.  Once the bacon was browned, I added the one-tablespoon of tomato paste and stirred it into the bacon and oil for thirty seconds, and then I added the two-tablespoons of flour and stirred it in.

I added the cooked beef back into the pot and stirred it all together.  I quickly added three-cups of dry red wine, two cups of chicken stock, a bay leaf, and a crushed and peeled clove of garlic.  On goes the lid to the pot, and I popped it into the oven for ninety minutes.  I used a bottle of Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon we picked up at Trader Joe’s for just a couple of dollars.  The house is starting to smell really good!

I prepared the carrots and found that my package of pearl onions was only 6-ounces, so I chopped up one-half of a yellow onion to make up the difference.  It took me a few minutes to prepare the pearl onions, the recipe suggests dropping them in boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds, and the peel will just slip off.  I just cut off the ends and used my fingernail to get past the outer skin and I peeled them all in about five minutes.

After cooking for the 90 minutes, I added the carrots and onions and put the pot back into the oven for another 75 minutes.  Once that period was up, I added the cooked mushrooms back into the pot and the tablespoon of butter and placed it back in the oven for another fifteen minutes.

When there was about forty-five minute remaining, I peeled some russet potatoes, quartered them, and placed them on a cookie sheet into the oven to bake along with the pot of beef bourguignon.

We enjoyed a rich and hearty beef bourguignon for dinner.  The flavor of the sauce was very mild and really brought out the flavor of the beef.  The beef was falling apart tender with no tough areas.  My wife liked the subtle flavor of this recipe over the heartier Stick-to-Your-Ribs Beef, Onion and Mushroom Stew that I made in February.

This was easy to make, it took about four hours to make, three hours of which were cooking in the oven. If I make this recipe again, I would add several more carrots as they were not enough pieces, I would also add the mushrooms back into the pot about thirty minutes before the end of the cooking time.

I will be glad to email the recipe.  Send me an email that includes your return email address.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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