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Monday, March 8, 2010

Beef Stew Slow Cooked in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms - Beef Bourguignon

FOOD:
Beef Slow Cooked in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms
Craving food that envelops you in comfort?  Beef Bourguignon is perfect.  Sooo much snow the last few weeks, right as you start thinking, winter's end.  Bacchanal celebrations to chase away the dead season have waned.  Come oooon Spring.  Knee-deep snow still covering the ground, icy rain slicking streets, brisk sunny days turning into near freezing nights, make stews and soups seem more appropriate, more seasonal.  I used Julia Child's classic Beef Bourguignon recipe as a guide to making this beef stew slow cooked in red wine (a very traditional French favorite).  
Here's what I did:
Serves 6, easily stretched to 8.  
8 oz of slab bacon
3.5 lbs of lean beef.  I used a rump roast ( cut into 2 inch cubes).
2 diced carrots.  If you want, use whole baby carrots...nice presentation; guesstimate on amount 1/3 - 1/2 of a cup.
1 large onion diced
3 cups of hearty red wine.  Selected a liter bottle of Chilean Concho y Toro, the ubiquitous brand of choice at gallery openings for awhile.  Went with Frontera, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend...drinkable (yep!) and very reasonably priced around $12.00.  I marinated the beef over night in 1 1/2 cups of wine with thyme, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Some recipes marinated for two days.  Julia Child's not all.  Do your own thing.
2-3 cups of beef stock.  I made my own.  But a quality packaged stock works. 
1lb - 1 1/2lb Small boiling onions.  You want 18 - 24 according to Julia Child. I added more.
1 lb of small whole Crimini mushrooms
1 tbs of Tomato sauce
2 tsp Sea salt
1 tbs of cracked whole black peppercorns (use less if you like)
Garlic
Thyme
Bay Leaves
Olive oil
Flour
Sides Dishes
Green beans (threw in a few sauteed cloves of garlic and grape tomatoes for color)
Little Fingerling potatoes boiled in salted water w/ bay leaf
Hardware: Fireproof casserole dish (like Le Creuset) or a Dutch oven as most people know this type of sturdy stove top to oven cookware.   Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Drain the marinade from the beef and blot dry with paper towels.
Trim the rind from the bacon.  Cut into chunky strips.  Toss all into a quart or so of water and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain and place chunky strips on the side.  Then saute for a couple of minutes to brown in casserole/Dutch oven.  Remove bacon.   In same pan, brown small batches of beef in the bacon fat. Set aside with bacon.  Saute diced onion and carrots in bacon fat; you may need to add a little additional oil.  Remove the onions and carrots; place with the bacon and beef.  Empty the oil.  Return beef, bacon, onions and carrots to pan.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper then dust with flour, tossing all through these steps.  Place in the HOT oven (450 degrees) uncovered for about 5 minutes, toss, and return to oven for about 4 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Lower temp to 325 degrees.  Time for the wine.   Stir in the wine, beef stock to cover meat.  Add tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf (remember to remove bay at end).  Cover and place oven.  Slow cookfor approximately 3 hours until meat is fork tender.
Now the onions and the mushrooms:
Basically you need to braise, saute, boil or roast the onions and mushrooms because they are going to be added just before serving. Cook them how you like.
Finishing Beef Slow Cooked in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms.
When beef is done, use a colander over a saucepan to drain off all the luscious liquid that will become the sauce. Skim fat from the top and reduce the cooking liquid. May want to add a little butter or cream, maybe a bit more wine. After thickened, the sauce can be refined by pouring through a sieve. Wash up the casserole pan because all the ingredients go back in and it can be used for serving. Add all the elements. Pour on the sauce and the Beef Slow cooked in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms is ready to serve.
Here's a video impression of the process.

video:wbj
Enjoy!
Cooking Lounge

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