Beef Burgundy (Boeuf a la Bourguignonne)

By Ira

This is the absolute comfort food in winter, perfect for company. Every winter, I look forward to making this dish. You can serve this with boiled potatoes as done traditionally, or mashed potatoes, or buttered noodles. I have done all these in the past, but this time, I served it with crusty dinner rolls.

Serves 6 – Adapted from Here in America’s Test Kitchen 2003

The original recipe calls for 6 ounces salt pork that’s boiled in water. I decided to just use bacon and the result is still exceptional. I also doubled the amount of onions and mushrooms as I wanted more of these the very first time I made this meal.

You’ll need to do the beef braise first, and then do an onion and mushroom garnish.

Beef braise

  • 2 pieces of bacon, diced
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley, torn into quarters
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 medium onions, chopped coarse
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped coarse
  • 1 medium head garlic, cloves separated and crushed but unpealed
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4 – 4 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bottle red wine, Pinot Noir or Burgundy
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste

Onion and mushroom garnish

  • 70 frozen pearl onions (about 14 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 20 ounces white button mushrooms, whole if small, halved if medium, quartered if large
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 300F, with the rack in the lower-middle position.

As I have done in the past, you can use a cheesecloth to wrap parsley, thyme, onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and bacon. This will make straining easier as all you have to do is just remove the cheesecloth. But, unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I ran out. Set this in a large oven proof dutch oven (not on heat)

Dry beef thoroughly with paper towels and season it very generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet oven over medium heat, sautee the bacon until crispy.

Add it to the dutch oven without the fat. Remove the pork fat into a small ball laving just 2 teaspoons in the skillet.

Increase heat to high and brown half of the beef in a single layer,

turning a couple of times, until deep brown, about 7 minutes.

Add the browned beef to the Dutch oven.

Pour half cup water into the skillet and scrape it with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Pour this liquid into the dutch oven.

Do the same thing with the second batch of beef: 2 teaspoons of fat in the skillet, brown the beef, remove it to the Dutch oven, add water, scrape, pour it into dutch oven.

With the same skillet on medium heat, melt the butter,

stir in flour with a wooden spoon and

cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups of water, whisking vigorously, a little at a time making sure there’s no flour stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Simmer, stirring until thickened. Pour it into the Dutch oven.

Again to the Dutch oven, add 3 cups of wine, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, and stir.

Set it over high heat to bring to boil. Cover and place it in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until meat is tender.

Remove it from the oven.

If you used a cheesecloth, take it out using tongs and put it straight onto mesh strainer over the pot. Press on it so all the liquid comes out into the pot, then discard the cheesecloth. With  a slotted spoon, take out the beef into a medium bowl and set aside.

If you did not use a cheesecloth, take out the beef gently with tongs onto a medium bowl and set aside.

Then pour out the contents of the pot onto a large bowl through a mesh strainer. Press on the vegetables to release more juices.

Discard the vegetables and pour the liquid back into the Dutch Oven.

Let this rest for 15 minutes. If there’s fat over the surface, the skim it and discard.

Put the Dutch oven over medium high heat. Simmer, stirring from time to time so that the bottom doesn’t burn, until the sauce is reduced to about 3 cups and is the consistency of heavy cream, about 10 -25 minutes. You have to be careful here because this is the sauce that makes the meal. So check it at 10 minutes and if it’s too watery, keep simmering while checking it continuously. You don’t want the liquid to reduce too much as this will ruin the meal.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, over high heat, add onions, butter, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Cover and reduce it to medium low and simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 5 minutes until the onions are tender. Take the cover off, increase the heat to high and cook until all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until all the liquid that’s released by the mushrooms evaporates, about 5 minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a large plate and set aside. Add 1/4 cup water to skillet and stir with wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Add this liquid to reducing sauce.

To the Dutch oven, add the beef (plus any juice that dripped in the bowl), mushrooms and onions, remaining wine from the bottle and brandy.

Cook all this together until heated through for about 5 minutes. Taste to see if it needs any salt and pepper.

When serving, sprinkle each plate with parsley.

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