Sunday, October 7, 2012

Beef Bourguignon

Last night I made beef bourguignon for the first time.  After researching recipes from Julia Childs, Jöel Robuchon, Ina Garten and a few others,  I settled on M. Robuchon's version for it's clear instruction and specificity of ingredients.  All of the recipes are similar in that the key ingredients remain the same.  A bottle of red wine,  beef, and onions are the key flavor makers in this decadent "stew".  It is essentially beef stew, in the style of Burgundy, France.

last night's dinner

Beef Bourguignon ( notes from Butter and Figs kitchen )
transcribed from The Complete Robuchon


1 bottle red Burgundy or Pinot Noir wine - I used Burgundy
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon peanut oil - grapeseed oil is an acceptable substitute
4 tablespoon butter
2 lb rump roast, cut into 2-inch cubes (ask your butcher to do this) - I did this at home,  very simple as long as you have a sharp knife
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 inch thick - a mandoline makes quick work of this task
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 inch thick
Crushed black pepper
3 cups beef broth
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig fresh thyme, 2 celery stalks, 1/2 bay leaf, and 3 stems flat-leaf parsley, wrapped and tied in a green leek leaf)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and degermed
16 small white or cipollini onions, peeled - you can find these in the freezer section or blanch them for easy peeling
1 teaspoon coarse salt - Maldon!
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1/2 pound lardons -  Applewood smoked bacon is preferable.  you can simply chop sliced bacon if that is all you have
5 ounces small button or cup mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced parsley


1. Put the wine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
2. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 3 tablespoons butter; when it foams, add the cubes of meat. Brown them for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring them with a wooden spoon to make sure they get browned on all sides.
3. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, remove the meat to a deep dish. Put the carrots and onions into the pot in which the meat was browned and cook for 5 minutes over very low heat, stirring once or twice to keep them from darkening.
4. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and put it back into the pot along with 1 scant teaspoon crushed black pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, just long enough to remove the flour's raw taste.
5. Pour half of the broth into the pot and stir. Then pour in the wine and the remaining broth. It should come just high enough to cover the meat. Add the bouquet garni and garlic, and cover. Simmer gently for 2 hours. Every 30 minutes skim the foam from the surface and then stir the pot to redistribute the meat (Note; I saw very very little foam.).
6. While the meat cooks, put the onions into a saucepan with 1 quart water and the coarse salt. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain them in a colander.
7. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saute pan or small saucepan. Add the onions and superfine sugar, season with pepper, cover, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, rotating the pan every 5 minutes, until the onions are quite tender and pale golden. Keep a close eye on them; they should not turn too dark. Drain them in a colander and set on top of a plate.
8. Heat 1 teaspoon peanut oil in a skillet and then add the lardons. Cook them for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring. When they are browned, use a slotted spoon to put them in the colander with the onions, leaving their fat in the pan. Add the mushrooms to this pan and cook over medium heat, stirring. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the onions and lardons in the colander.
9. When the stew has been simmering for 2 hours, use a large spoon to remove the grease from the surface. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and put it in a large, deep serving dish. Put the lardons, onions and mushrooms into the same dish. Put the meat's sauce through a fine strainer into another saucepan, bring it to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. This dish should be quite peppery. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and sprinkle with minced parsley.

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