Beef Bourguignon

The snow finally arrived yesterday. Up until now, it has largely been a warm, snowless winter. We did have that freakish snowstorm at the end of October, but that hardly counts-no one was ready for it and it left as quickly as it came. Since then, there’s been was no white Christmas, no white New Years, no white anything. I’ve missed the snow. I love the snow. It makes you feel like a kid again. A grownup kid who can stay indoors in warm socks, beneath warm blankets, drinking red wine and eating hardy things. I celebrated snow’s arrival with Beef Bourguignon.

I just had the biggest craving for beef, cooked for a long, long time, in robust red wine. Is there anything more comforting and wintery? I found this recipe in The New York Times Cookbook. There are actually two Bourguignon recipes in the book. This is the simpler of the two, involving no presearing of the meat, no side-cooking of the mushrooms, no thickening of the broth. In fact, this recipe is as absolutely as basic as it gets. There aren’t even any herbs; just aromatics and beef, and booze (oh, and bacon).

You just layer ’em up. Bacon first! (The bacon is always first)

Carrots- little bits of virtue in an otherwise indulgent pot.

And then the meat of it.

The aromatic things that impart all the interest.

Then top her off with the rest of the meat and bath it all in red wine and cognac. Seal her up tight and simmer for hours. Let the goodness fill your house and trickle down to your soul.

Eat it over buttered noodles (BUTTERED NOODLES, PEOPLE) and raise a glass to the snow; he gave you an excuse for this amazing meal, after all. Let’s hope it doesn’t stay away too long this time.

Beef Bourguignon

From The New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. Serves 6

It won’t seem like there’s enough liquid, but don’t fret. All those veggies will release plenty while the stew cooks. This has a very thin, but extremely flavorful, boozy sauce; over the noodles, it almost becomes a chunky, meaty soup. If you’re not a fan of egg noodles, you would be crazy, but you could also serve it with mashed potatoes. Use a wine you want to drink.

2 T vegetable oil
4 slices bacon, cut in half
1 1/2 c diced carrots
2 lbs beef chuck (or rump roast), cut into 1/4″-thick slices
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
8 oz mushrooms, wiped off with a wet paper towel and roughly chopped (I used creminis)
1/2 bottle Burgundy or Pinot Noir (I used cab, cuz it was open and half gone…dunno how that happened)
1/3 c cognac

  • Add the oil to a large, heavy pot with a lid (like a dutch oven)
  • Add 2 slices bacon, then the carrots, followed by 1/3 of the beef. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Add half the onions, garlic, shallots, and mushrooms
  • Layer on half of the remaining beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Layer the remaining vegetables, followed by the remainder of the beef, and topping it all off with the last of the bacon
  • Pour the wine and cognac over the whole thing and season with salt and pepper
  • Place over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer for ~2.5 hours or until the meat is very tender (I let it go three hours)
  • Serve over buttered egg noodles
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