It was quite cold and rainy in San Francisco last winter, and on a rainy Saturday afternoon we got together with our dear friends the Shahs for an evening of cooking, drinking and eating. Beef bourguignon is that quintessential comfort stew that hits the spot on a day like that. And in reviewing my photo archive I realized I have photos of cooking beef bourguignon since 2015, the earliest ones being on shot with an iPhone 5!
serves: 8 difficulty: medium prep time: 3-4 hrs
- 3 lbs beef for stew. Don’t waste a filet mignon or a New York strip stake on a stew. Choose a cheaper cut of beef like chuck roast.
- 5-6 shallots
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 bunch of thyme
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 bottle cheap red wine. If someone tells you that it needs to be a Burgundy because the name of the stew is bourguignon, don’t believe them!
- 6 strips of bacon
- [optional] canola oil
- 3 medium sized carrots
- 1 lbs button mushrooms
- 1 lbs pearl onions
- 6 tbs olive oil
Cut the beef in 1 inch chunks. You can cut it in bigger pieces but it will take longer to cook. Place in a shallow vessel and pour enough wine to cover the beef. Add the bay leaves, and the bunch of thyme. Put in the fridge and marinate for at least 4 hrs and up to overnight. The longer your marinate the meat, the faster it will cook later as the alcohol in the wine tenderizes the meat.
When ready to cook, take the meat out of the fridge, reserve the marinade, the bay leaves and the thyme. Pat dry the beaf.
Chop the bacon in 1/4 inch pieces. Heat a skillet, and render the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon but keep the bacon fat in the skillet.
Peel and chop the shallots roughly. Add the shallots to the skillet and brown the shallots. Remove them when done.
Brown the beef chunks in the bacon fat. Add some canola oil if there isn’t enough bacon fat in the pan. You may need to do the browning in 2 or 3 batches in order not to overcrowd the pan.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the browned beef, the browned shallots, and any fat and drippings from the pan to a Dutch oven, and add the reserved marinade, and the rest of the red wine from the bottle.
Place the bay leaves and the thyme reserved from the marinating of the mear, and the fresh parsley, in a gauze, and tie them with kitchen twine.
Add the resulting pouch with herbs to the Dutch oven.
You should have something like this:
Place the Dutch oven in the pre-heated oven, and cover with the lid but leave a crack open so that liquid can evaporate.
Braise for 90 min. Chop the carrots in 1/2 in circles and add them to the Dutch oven.
Continue braising until the beef is really tender.
In the meantime, prepare the mushrooms and the pearl onions. Boil some water in a saucepan large enough to hold the pearl onions, and add them to the boiling water. Boil them for 10 min or until they are soft but not mushy. Rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process. Once they are cool enough to handle. peel them. If you hold one end of the little pearl onion, and pull the skin from the other end, it just comes off.
Chop the mushrooms in 2 or 4. Heat a fry pan or skillet. Add 3 tbs olive oil and once it shimmers, add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Fry them until they are soft.
Once the beef has finished braising, and is really tender, add the mushrooms and the pearl onions. Remove the gauze pouch with the herbs. Stir the stew.
You are ready to serve. The classic is to serve with some mashed potatoes.
But in this case we skipped the mashed potatoes.
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