Monday, December 15, 2014

Boeuf Bourguignon

So, I unintentionally tortured friends recently with photos of a Boeuf Bourguignon that I prepared for a party of 40 people. Okay, as a measure of good will I said I'd post the recipe. Here it is my friends. This recipe is easily multiplied for a large crowd.
 
Years ago I turned to my hero Julia Child to learn about this epic dish. I've made it my own by taking a couple of measures at the end: defatting the sauce (before adding more fat back in), adding part of the wine at the end (enhances the wine flavor), and I add a bit of gelatin to the sauce. Collagen is present in the connective tissue of meat. It acts as a thickening agent. Thick sauce is my goal. I may be gilding the lily, but the additional gelatin assures a beautiful, silky sauce without changing the flavor of the dish.  
 
The dish was braised in my wood-fired oven. Very hot at the start (600 degrees F.). I allowed the fire to calm down as the dish continued on its journey. Usually a proponent of "low and slow" cooking I found that high temperature at the beginning contributed to a thick sauce, and nicely caramelized meat. Assuming you don't have a wood fired oven (wait, what?) I've adapted the recipe for a conventional oven.
 

Addition of wine and beef stock

THE oven


BOEUF BOURGUIGNON

Serves 6

 

1 Tablespoon olive oil

8 oz. bacon

2.5# beef chuck, cut into cubes

Salt pepper

1 # carrots, diagonally chopped into 1” slice

1 large shallot, sliced

1 head of garlic, chopped

½ c. cognac

1 750 ml. bottle red wine

Beef broth to cover

1 T. (tablespoon) unflavored gelatin

1 T. tomato paste

Fresh thyme

Bay leaf

4 T. butter, room temperature

3 T. flour

1 # pearl onions, sautéed in butter or olive oil, and then tossed with 1 T. balsamic vinegar

1 # mushrooms, quartered and sautéed in butter or olive oil.

 

For serving

Rustic bread
Mashed potatoes
Chopped parsley and garlic to garnish

 

  • Toss beef and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  • Heat oil and add bacon. Cook until bacon is lightly browned.
  • Add meat in batches, browning and reserving.
  • After all meat is cooked and removed add carrots and shallot.
  • Cook until liquid is nearly cooked out and shallots are browning.
  • Add garlic.
  • Add cognac and ignite.
  • Add meat and juices back to pot.
  • Add 2 cups of the wine, beef broth, tomato paste, bay, thyme and gelatin.
  • Bring to a boil, cover with foil and a lid and place in 500 degree oven.
  • Braise the meat for 15 minutes and then turn oven temperature down to 300 degrees.
  • Braise for and additional 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • When meat is tender, remove beef and vegetables to a bowl, strain sauce into a fat separator. Let liquid settle for 5 minutes, then return defatted sauce to pot.
  • Add remaining wine and cracked pepper to taste.
  • Simmer briskly.
  • Make a paste with flour and butter and add to pot.
  • Once the stew is thickened all pearl onions and mushrooms.

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