As it hits 70 degrees here in New York today, I realized that this recipe is going to be as out of season as your snow boots if I don’t get it out fast. And although I don’t want to be the Grinch who stole Spring, we are supposed to dip back into the forties next week. “Jeesh”, as our Canadian friends would say. But if you want to say one final farewell to winter, you could do a whole lot worse than latching onto Tyler Florence’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon.
Now I realize that in the not-too-distant past we were all glued to our movie theater seats watching “Julie and Julia” at the disastrous point when “Julie” destroyed “Julia’s” version by falling asleep. This is not impossible when a recipe starts, as Julia’s does, by removing rind from a 6 ounce chunk of bacon , dicing it into lardons, then simmering both rind and bacon for 10 minutes. No, Tyler’s recipe seems a lot simpler than that. One you’ve got the prep done, in about 45 minutes,You can wander off with a glass of red wine and stir occasionally.
I confess that I have been tempted by quicker Bouguignon recipes, one from a cook I consider above reproach, only to be very disappointed in the results. Tyler’s recipe is a triumph! Absolutely delicious! But as Julia herself points out in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, “there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon”. And this is most certainly one of them.
Recipe for Beef Bourguignon:
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 bacon slices, cut into 3-inch strips
4 lbs. beef chuck or round, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. tomato paste
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup Cognac
1 bottle dry red wine, such as Burgundy
5 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 bouquet garni (2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 bay
leaves tied together in cheesecloth). ar 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound white mushrooms, stems trimmed
3 3 cups blanched and peeled pearl onions
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
Put a large Dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle in 2 tbsp. of oil. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove it to a paper towel; crumble when cool and set aside to use for the garnish. Season the beef with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pot in batches. Fry the cubes in the bacon fat until evenly browned on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pot to a plate.
Add the tomato paste and flour to the pot and stir to combine. Turn off the heat, pour in the Cognac and stir to scrape up the flavorful bits in the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat back on and light the Cognac, with a long kitchen match. Be careful and stand back as the alcohol flame dies down. Whisk in the red wine and beef broth; add the beef back into the pot along with the bouquet garni. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the liquid starts to thicken and has the consistency of a sauce; this should take about 15 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.
In a small skillet, over medium-low, heat a little olive oil. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms start to brown, about, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the pearl onions and cook until onions are heated through.
Uncover the pot and add the mushroom mixture along with the pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer for 45 minutes longer, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Remove the bouquet garni. Transfer to a serving bowl and shower with chopped parsley and the reserved crumbled bacon before serving.
The traditional accompaniment for Beef Bourguignon are boiled potatoes. I like to serve it over buttered noodles. Buttered peas, asparagus or carrots are great with it as well.