Beef Bourguignon. I can say I know how to make it, but just don't ask me how to pronounce it.
Ina Garten's recipe for this stew of red wine braised beef gets 5 stars from me. After slaving away in the kitchen for more than two and a half hours, I came out with a dish that garnered rave reviews from dinner guests.
Brace yourself: a whole bottle of red wine and half a cup of Cognac is used in this dish. I'll admit that this dish is slightly scary to make. One step in the recipe says "Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol."
Ok, so no major warning with this besides just "stand back" is stated. Then it can't be that hazardous, no big deal, right? Well, I used a long Bic lighter to ignite the Cognac and what resulted was flames shooting 1 foot out of the Dutch oven. Um ... ok, this will die down soon I told myself. Just like the showy bananas flambe the chef made on the cruise, no?
I started to panic when the flames didn't die out after a good 30 seconds. But before I reached for the fire extinguisher, luckily it died down. Crisis averted.
As per Ina's suggestion, I served the Beef Bourguignon over some toasted slices of crusty bread which was wonderful. Don't worry about ladling the stew right over the bread. It doesn't get grossly soggy as you might think – the gravy from the stew gets sopped up by the bread and is a actually a tasty touch to the dish.
I served the Beef Bourguignon with an Apple Strawberry Crunch and vanilla bean ice cream for dessert. I'll be that posting the recipe soon.
Read on for the 5-star recipe.
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
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
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.
* I omitted the frozen onions because I couldn't find them at the store and the recipe still turned out well.
** I drained out a lot of the leftover bacon fat because it was just too greasy for me.