I finally went and did it, made some beef bourguignon.
But before I go any further I need to ask, nay...implore you to read to the last part of this post. I've got a very important thing to share with you.
For some reason, which escapes me now, I decided to go with Ina Garten's recipe. I think it was a tad easier to follow, although very similar to Julia Child's. And because I had read repeatedly about how much better it is left over, after I finished it, I put the lid on and saved it for the next day. Such restraint I have!
This was the fun part....
I don't think I've ever deliberately set a kitchen fire before, then emptied an entire bottle of red wine into whatever I was cooking. Good times!
Here is the finished product, before it's day long camp out in my fridge.
Just fyi...I made this in my new Ikea dutch oven
my family bought me I bought for myself for Mother's day. Just in case you're in the market for a dutch oven, I'll just say that I fully recommend it. It did a fabulous job conducting heat, and was way easier to clean up than I thought it would be. Also the inside of the lid has little points all over it that I have since learned are basting spikes.
And my review of the stew? Just amazing. What else can I say? I can't think of a single thing I would change about this recipe, (except that I served mine on buttered noodles instead of bread)
so here it is for you...
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
- 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
- 2 yellow onions, sliced
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
- 1/2 cup Cognac
- 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
- 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 pound frozen whole onions
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
- Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.
Okay, now the really important thing...
If you've never in your life listened to one thing I've said, for the love of all that is holy, please listen now.
If you've never made the infamous no knead bread, go forth and do so now. If you have to hire a baby sitter, call in sick, or rent a sled dog team, just get it done!
Seriously, this is some good stuff. And just about the easiest thing you'll ever do.
Need more convincing?
That should do it, so here's the recipe:
6/20/10 Update: I tried making this bread again today and it was a total flop! I have no idea what I did wrong, maybe too much water. Try, try again!