Wednesday October 19, 2011
I just watched Julie and Julia and all I wanted to do after was make beef bourguignon. Julia Child’s beef bourguignon.
I grabbed Mastering the art of French cooking and set out with the very best of intentions.
I always start out with good intentions when following recipes...
Somehow every time something goes hopelessly wrong and I end up ditching the recipe and improvise. Today was no exception. I don’t know why I have such trouble following recipes. I think it’s because I don’t like it when people tell me what to do (recipes can be so bossy sometimes- cook for 3 hours? I don’t think so!).
There’s something so comforting about beef stew. Julia Child’s recipe calls for quite a large amount of wine. Now I am not a huge fan of wine, so instead I used only a cup for flavour (this is an endless problem – I need to buy ¼ sized bottles of wine because I like a bit in things I cook for flavour but then the rest of the bottle goes to waste!).
What do you do with leftover wine other than drink it?
Beef stew would not win any competitions for looks. It is definately not the most attractive dish on the block- kind of the plain-jane of meals. Do you know what you do with a plain-jane? You accessorize! I added cooked vegetables on top instead of cooking them in the stew (the splash of colour makes for a much more attractive dish- not to mention increases the nutritional quality).
The photo above is my unadulterated stew. After taking the photo I dumped about half a pound of kale into it (and then it didn’t resemble beef stew anymore…so I didn’t include that photo).
Recipe: Beef BourguignonServes 8-10
5 lbs stew beef trimmed and cut in ~3/4 inch cubes
1 cup flour
1/2 cup grapeseed oil or sunflower (for browning the meat)
1 cup red wine
4-5 cups chicken broth (or beef)
2 bay leaves
1 lb cremini mushrooms quartered
1 can whole plum tomatoes drained
1/2 cup tomato sauce or puree
6 peeled garlic cloves smashed
bouquet garni (optional) – tie cheesecloth with 1 tsp thyme and 1 tsp herb de province)
2 packages pearl onions (20 oz)
2 carrots sliced in rounds
2 cups frozen peas
Dry the stew beef with paper towels to remove moisture. Toss flour with the beef to coat (this will absorb any excess moisture on the meat - wet meat doesn’t brown). Dust off excess flour.
In a large pot, heat oil (you may not need the amount oil in the ingredients -make sure the bottom of the pot is just covered to evenly brown the meat so it does not stick). Lay beef in 1 layer on the bottom of the pan (you’ll need to do more than 1 batch – don’t crowd the meat!). If you try to flip the meat before the first side is browend it will stick to the pot. Once both sides are browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel lined bowl to drain. Once all the meat is done, wash the pot and return it to the stove.
Add the beef back into the pot along with the wine, broth, tomato sauce, garlic cloves, bay leaves and plum tomatoes. Simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, sauté the mushrooms until browned and set aside. Peel the pearl onions and sauté in a large bottomed pot (make sure the onions can sit in 1 layer on the bottom of the pot). Add ~ 1 cup of chicken broth (or enough to come 1/2 way up the sides of the onions). Add the carrots and simmer for ~20 minutes or until tender. Add the peas in the last 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the stew before serving. Serve the stew with the pea, onion and carrot mixture ladled on top.