|May 23, 2011||Posted by Cheeks under Main Course, Make-ahead, MEAT, Recipe|
That’s a bouquet garni, because I’m all fancy. I guess channeling Julia Child brings out the fancy in me, huh?
Actually, despite her French devotion, Julia’s recipe’s aren’t really all that fancy. They’re fussy, though, and very specific with how to, when to, what to do at each step of the way. And, as was the case for this classic Beef Burgundy (or Boeuf Bourguingnon). It wasn’t hard, per se, but it clearly hadn’t been dumbed down at all either. It required several different pans (even though the majority of the cooking was to be done in one oven-safe casserole), finnicky steps (straining the sauce after cooking, reducing, mounting, reintegrating) and cooking some parts (the mushrooms?) separately.
Essentially, you make a variation on classic pot roast or stew technique. Sear beef (chuck roast) and vegetables in hot fat until very well browned (also known as, how I found out my smoke alarm works at 10:00 on Sunday morning). Deglaze the pan with red wine (the “bourguingon” part of the recipe), then allow the mixture to braise until the meat is tender. Add sauteed mushrooms and onions, then serve over egg noodles or potatoes.
While I set out to do exactly as she had described, I soon found myself deviating. But I don’t think these deviations harmed the final product, nor did they dramatically alter the process – just saved a few saute pans here and there. For one, why not just brown everything in the braising dish – why dirty another pan? Must I really cook separate batches of onions and mushrooms and add them at the end? Well, I succumbed to this one, on the mushroom side at least. And I did actually strain the sauce out, reduce it, mount with a buerre manie, and add back to the dish. But I did it lazily all day Sunday, preparing for Monday’s dinner (it says in the recipe that you can make it in advance, and who am I to argue with Julia) so it wasn’t that bad.
The ingredients are fairly standard too. Besides the chuck roast, most everything probably comes from your pantry.
Pull a Julia today. (That sounds a lot more fun than it is, unless you like spending all Sunday in the kitchen (I do). Or use the modified, easier recipe below and pull a Cheeks. Either way, it tastes pretty darn good.
Altered slightly and just about halved, to serve 2-4 instead of 8.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into lardons
- 1 2-lb chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
- 1 1/2 cups thickly sliced (pole-to-pole) onions
- 2 cups sliced carrots
- 3 large garlic cloves, sliced rather thick
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups red burgundy wine
- 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can beef stock
- 2 Tbsp softened butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- Sauteed white mushrooms, for serving
- Cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes, for serving
Heat a large, oven proof lidded pot (like a La Creuset dutch oven) over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add lardons and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and most fat is rendered. Remove to a paper towel using a slotted spoon, leaving fat in the pan.
Season beef cubes liberally on all sides with kosher salt and pepper, then place in the pot . Sear cubes on all sides for 1-2 minutes per side, aiming for a deep brown crust to develop on the beef (not aiming to cook it through!). Remove roast to a plate and reserve. Remove all but a tablespoon of fat from the pot.
Add onion, carrot, and garlic to hot fat in the pot and saute 4-5 minutes, or until they are darkened in spots. Add tomato paste to the vegetables and stir well. Cook mixture for 1-2 minutes, or until paste darkens slightly. (The bottom of the pot should be very dark and covered in bits by this point – this is good!)
Add 1 cup wine to pot and deglaze bottom on pan by using a wooden spoon to scrape the darkened bits from the bottom. Bring wine to a boil and boil for 3-4 minutes to reduce. Add stock and remaining wine to pan; stir and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
Meanwhile, mix butter and flour together to form a paste. Whisk this paste, bit by bit, into hot liquid, whisking well to incorporate and prevent lumps. This should “tighten” up the sauce a bit – give it some body and sheen. Allow mixture to cook for another 2-3 minutes to cook out the “raw” taste of the flour. Remove from heat.
Add tomatoes to the pot and stir well. Tie rosemary, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves together using kitchen twine. Nestle the beef cubes into the pot, making sure they are mostly covered by sauce. Nestle the herb bouquet garni into the pot, also taking care to submerge it in the liquid. (If you need more liquid in the pan, add more stock, water, or wine until meat is mostly covered.)
Cover pot and place into the preheated oven. Braise for 3-4 hours. It will be done when the meat is fall-apart tender and the sauce is reduced to gravy consistency. (Note: meal can be cooked to this point, cooled, and refrigerated overnight or until ready to serve. To reheat, skim hardened fat from surface of pot, then reheat in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.)
Serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes and top with sauteed mushrooms.