I'm baaaack! It seems like forever since I last posted last! Moving is officially completed, the old keys to the apartment have been turned in, and unpacking is almost done. A huge awesome thanks to all our friends who helped us! And a huge awesome thanks to Sally, Dana, Shelley, and Laura for their awesomely spectacular guest posts! Every single thing looked awesome, and I really wish that I could have tried them all!
Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.
I was sooo excited when I saw this month's challenge was Beef Bourguignon! It is something that I have been desperately wanting to make for a long time now. I have been dragging my heals because I have heard it is expensive, hard and super time consuming. But even though there was all sorts of craziness going on this month (moving being the chief complaint here), I knew I just had to squeeze it in somehow! I made this as a bribery dinner for our friends, as a pre-emptive "thank you for helping us move all of our stuff", and I am pretty sure that this was the single reason that we had so much help (that and maybe because they actually like us).
I found that the ingredients were not actually all that expensive, considering that we got 9 meals out of it! And while it is time consuming, none of the steps are actually hard at all. In fact, I made this a mere THREE days before we moved, with the majority of my kitchen packed away, and didn't break a single sweat drop while making it. Ok, there WAS a small freak out moment when I realized that I had packed our corkscrew already and had no way of opening the wine, you know, the second I needed it. Thankfully living in an apartment does have its perks and neighbors came to the rescue! We all seriously loved how this turned out, too! The beef was super tender, the sauce was awesome, it was well received all around!
Boeuf Bourguignon (from Julia Child's recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, as given in the challenge) 6 oz. streaky bacon Olive oil 3 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2 inch cubes 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 3 tablespoons flour 3 cups red wine 1 carrot, sliced (I used three carrots, cut into chunks) (and will probably use more carrots next time) 1 onion, sliced in julienne 1 1/2 - 2 cups beef stock 1 tablespoon tomato paste or tomato puree 2 cloves garlic, mashed 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves 1 bay leaf 18-24 small onions, brown-braised in stock (instructions are below, you will need more stock)
1 pound mushrooms sauteed in butter Fresh parsley sprigs (for garnish, to serve, optional) Blanch the bacon: Remove the rind. Cut the bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick, 1/2 inch long) and simmer everything in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry carefully with paper towels. Dry the meat cubes carefully with paper towels. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a fireproof casserole or frying pan, saute the bacon in a tablespoon of olive oil for 2-3 minutes until they are lightly brown (mine took a little longer). Remove them to a side dish with a slotted spoon. In the same casserole or pan, sautee the beef until it is golden brown. Remove it to the side dish where the bacon has been set aside. Still in the same pan, sautee the carrot and onion. Return the bacon and beef to the pan with the vegetables. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper, then add the flour. Toss to coat evenly. Place the pan/casserole into the oven in the middle position, for four minutes to give the meat a good crust. Remove the pan/casserole from the oven and return it to the stove top. Stir in the wine, stock, tomato paste, crushed garlic, thyme, bay leaf and blanched bacon rind. Bring the mixture to its simmering point on the stove. If you have been using a frying pan, now is the time to transfer the stew to an oven-safe dish/baking dish. Cover the casserole or baking dish (if you are not using a dish with a cover, use foil or parchment paper). Place the dish in the oven and adjust the temperature so that the liquid is slowly simmering, as this will stay in the oven for three to four hours. While the meat is stewing, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
For the onions - melt one tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and sautee the peeled small onions until they are golden brown. Add beef stock until they are almost (but not) covered and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid disappears. The onions will be tender, but will retain their shape. Set the braised onions aside.
For the mushrooms - wash and quarter the mushrooms, and sautee them in two tablespoons of butter. Stir them continuously until they are nicely browned. Set the mushrooms aside. When the meat is tender, pour the meat through a sieve over a saucepan. Clean out the casserole or baking dish and return the meat (and onions and carrots and everything other than the sauce) to the dish. Put the onions and mushrooms over the meat.
Skim off any fat from the sauce and simmer it on the stove, skimming any additional fat that rises. Simmer the sauce until it thickens enough to coat the back of your spoon. If it thickens too much, add some stock. Pour the sauce over the stew. Return the stew to the stove or oven to reheat through. Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley. Serve over potatoes, noodles or rice, or whatever else sounds good to you.