Beef Bourguignon is a classic dish that is in no way trendy but just perfect for today; so soul satisfying and delicious…but trust me, this is not your mother’s beef stew!
I’ve always loved Julia Child. Watching her on PBS was my first ‘Julia’ experience, cooking from ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ brought us closer together and though I know she was not pleased with a blogger using her masterpiece to garner attention; I hope she knows this ode is an acknowledgment of all that I love about her. Her joie de vivre, her amazing talent, her food and yes…her height, something else we share!
I had never made Julia’s Beef Bourguignon, I admit. Maybe because I just presumed it would be another beef stew similar to the mainstay of our childhood. Though my Mom was a very good cook, it had never been a dish I felt particularly keen to prepare.
Then I paid attention to the ingredients; red wine (uh, OK!), bacon, sauteed fresh mushrooms and braised pearl onions? This was most definitely not what I expected and I knew this would be the perfect dish to prepare on my birthday when I had already decided to take the day off to cook. With Julia.
Not for a birthday party per se though I did have friends coming for dinner but just because I love giving myself a day to cook. I love the process as much as the results and had some willing participants to enjoy those results and so it was. Happy Birthday! To me.
This is not a difficult dish but it does take some time so get some good red wine to drink and use for the Beef Bourguignon and have a day of it like I did; you won’t regret it! I kept one of Julia’s DVD’s on so really it was her and I cooking in my kitchen, the whole day!
While the beef was cooking in the oven, I made everything else using my new favorite 4 quart MansPan with steamer insert and lid. Check out the details after the recipe for a chance to win one of these amazing pans!
Browning the bacon and the beef, sauteing the onion and carrot and then mixing it all together before adding seasoning, covering with wine and broth and putting into the oven. And then waiting while the yummaliciousness fills your home!
I admit I took some license with the process; mostly with bacon. When I have 4 pounds of bacon in my freezer, I’m not inclined to search too far for a solid chunk of bacon which the original recipe calls for and cut it into sticks so I’ve improvised a bit and all was still well with the world!
How good was it? Good enough that the daughter who had only planned to stop by decided she might have time to stay for dinner after all; that’s how good! Next year I’m making this two days beforehand and serving for Christmas!
To have you celebrate with me and my new BFF Julia, I have a contest for you! I was asked to try one of the pieces from the collection of ManPans (although I don’t know boys…Friday it could have easily been renamed; someone would have had to pry it out this Woman’s hands!). I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to really utilize their 4 Quart pan with the steamer insert and this was it. Beyond perfect even!
Although I used a pan from my collection to brown the meat and cook the beef in the oven, I had plenty planned for this pan, man. So, remembering that my integrity can be defined by honest evaluations, I must admit…I LOVE THIS STUFF (there, was that eloquent enough?).
I have a large collection of stainless pots and pans; they’re beautiful and I love working with them but I have never had a great experience with something that is supposed to be non stick. I recently bought a two piece set of Calphalon non-stick skillets as the ones I had been using had seen better days. A couple of months later and they are filled with scratches despite limited use so I was very intrigued by ManPans promises which included a surface that would not scratch (yeah, sure right…huh?).
Julia suggests serving her Beef Bourguignon with boiled potatoes and green peas but I had some newly purchased asparagus and knew exactly what I wanted to do!
During the course of preparing the mushroom and onions for the beef dish, I didn’t gently move my wooden spoon across the surface like I normally do with non stick pans…nope, I used a large metal spoon to make sure they could live up to the claims that the surface would not scratch.
Made in the US, eco-friendly, no change in the taste of food? Sounds too good to be true and I’m as skeptical as anyone out there but bottom line everything they promised was true. Heat was distributed evenly, the handle stays cool, and what really made my day?
After preparing both the mushrooms and the onions for the beef, I simply wiped out the pan, boiled potatoes in the bottom section of the pan and added the asparagus in the steamer insert a couple of minutes before the potatoes were finished. TWO dishes, ONE pan? Perfect for my four burner cooktop.
(ManPans Contest Over and Closed)
Beef Bourguignon with Julia Childs
For the Beef:
- 6 oz of bacon
- 3 -4 Tbsp Olive oil
- 3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes (I used chuck; took about 4 lbs to get 3 lbs after trimming)
- 1 carrot sliced
- 1 onion sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups red wine young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy - I used St. Supery's Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 2 ½ to 3 ½ cups brown beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- A crumbled bay leaf
For the Braised Pearl Onions:
- 18 to 24 white onions small
- 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp butter
- ½ cup of the seasoned stock from the beef
For the Mushrooms:
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms fresh and quartered
- To Prepare the Meat
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Saute bacon in ovenproof pan; when most of the fat has rendered but before it is totally crisp, remove it from the skillet to a bowl and set aside.
- Dry beef with paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp.
- Heat bacon fat in casserole until almost smoking; my bacon was lean enough it did not leave much fat for browning so add some olive oil as required if necessary.
- Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Set beef aside on a plate after it's all browned.
- In the same fat, saute the sliced carrot and onions til brown.
- Return the beef to the casserole with the aromatics and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set the casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
- Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
- Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and reserved bacon.
- Bring to a simmer on top of the stove then cover the casserole and set in lower third of oven.
- Cook very slowly for 3 to 4 hours until the meat pierces easily with a fork.
- Preparation of mushrooms and onions
- Heat the butter and oil for the onions until bubbling in a skillet.
- Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible being careful not to break their skins.
- Add 1/2 cup of the stock from the casserole and salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet and heat the oil and butter for the mushrooms over high heat. As soon as this mixture is very hot and bubbling, add the mushrooms.
- Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat and set aside.
- Putting it all together
- When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef mixture to it.
- Add the cooked mushrooms and onions to the top.
- Skim fat from the sauce in the saucepan.
- Simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
- Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
- Serve in in the casserole or arrange on a platter with potatoes and vegetables.