Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Comfort food - Beef bourginon

Beef bourginon is only beef stew cooked in red wine, nothing to be intimidated about.  There are many recipes for this iconic dish.

After watching Julie and Julia I had to make it again, It had been quite a while since I had.

Beef Bourginon was very popular when I was going to hotel school in the 70's, when french food was still king. But these traditional french dishes have quite fallen out of favour, though there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the classic french food and for good reason.

Some of the recipes are very complicated and will probably taste wonderful, but actually slightly simplifying things a little does not necessarily impact the flavour much at all.  So this is my simple straightforward recipe for beef bourginon.

This will feed 6 well with hopefully enough left to nuke the next day for lunch.

4 slices of bacon cut up (or the equivalent of salt pork)
3lb stewing beef cut into chunks
2 carrots thickly sliced
2 stalks of celery sliced
1 garlic clove sliced
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 tbsp flour
1/2 bottle of red wine
1 cup of beef stock
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
Bay leaf
a dozen button mushrooms

Bacon, carrots, celery and onion

Beef ready to cook
First brown off the bacon in the pot that the beef bourginon is going to be cooked, pour the fat off into a non stick pan and use this to brown the beef. Add some olive oil if there was not enough fat in the bacon.

Remove the beef and put into the casserole as they brown.  When all the beef has browned add the vegetables and cook until the onions are translucent add the flour and stir until it is all absorbed by the remaining fat and juices.

beef and vegetables with flour added
Stir in some of the liquid bring back to a boil and then pour on top of the beef and add the remaining wine and beef stock and the chopped parsley and bay leaf.

Ready to simmer

Now cook on top of the stove at a low simmer or in a low oven for a couple of hours or until the beef is very tender. You have time to go for a walk, take a nap have a couple games of scrabble or whatever you want.
blogging while the beef cooks
When the beef is rally tender take the lid off the pot, if the sauce seems a little thin simmer with the top off until the sauce has concentrated down.  Now test for seasoning add salt and pepper if needed.

Heat up some butter and olive oil in a frying pan then add the mushrooms and toss around until the are golden on the outside.

Golden juicy mushrooms
If you had some pearl onions and you had spent an hour or so peeling them you would do exactly the same with them, only it would take a little longer. (OK that is my bias  though I love onions I hate peeling pearl onions so I live with out them.)

Put the beef into a service dish and toss the mushrooms on top.  There is two reasons for cooking and adding the mushrooms separately, one is it keeps the taste of the mushrooms more intense and separate from the other flavours, the second is I live with people who do not like mushrooms and they can spoon around them.  Another cross I have to bear.

Sprinkle a little parsley and serve with mashed potatoes we also had a beet and goat cheese salad.  More about that another day

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