dimanche 20 mai 2007

Bœuf Bourguignon

April was a beautiful warm and sunny month in Paris but in May we have returned to the more typical grey, cool and rainy weather. Thoughts of barbecues and picnics have disappeared as we are bundling up and thoughts of comfort food have come to mind. This prompted me to make a Bœuf Bourguignon (a robust beef stew made with onions, carrots and red Burgundy wine).

This is one of the two most famous dishes of the Bourgogne (Burgundy) region in eastern-central France. The other is Escargots de Bourgogne (snails with garlic parsley butter). I love them both.

Traditional recipes for Bœuf Bourguignon call for the meat to be marinated for at least 12 hours before cooking. The following recipe does not require the meat to be marinated and takes about 30 minutes to prepare and 3 hours of simmering on the stovetop.

Bœuf Bourguignon
Serves 6

30 g (2 Tbsp) butter
30 mL (2 Tbsp) oil
4 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
200 g (7 oz) smoked bacon, chopped
1.5 kg (3 lb) stewing beef, cut into 5 cm (2”) cubes
30 mL (2 Tbsp) flour (optional)
40 cL (1-3/4 cups) hot water
2 chicken stock cubes
75 cL (25 oz) red burgundy wine
45 mL (3 Tbsp) tomato coulis or 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and crushed
2 bay leaves
2 thyme branches
12 small white onions, whole, peeled
200 g (7 oz) white mushrooms, sliced (optional)
6 branches of flat parsley, chopped
Pepper and salt, freshly ground

In a large casserole, heat the butter and oil, add the chopped onions, garlic, bacon and carrots. Cook for 10 min. until onions are tender and golden. Remove and set aside.
Add beef cubes to the casserole; brown on all sides. Shake the flour over and mix well. Return carrots, bacon, onions and garlic to the pan. Add hot water, bay leaves, stock cubes, thyme, tomatoes, salt, pepper and wine; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 3 hours. Approx. 30 min. before the end of cooking time, add the small onions and mushrooms, if using.
Remove the beef and vegetables to a serving bowl. Reduce the sauce and add to the serving dish. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve with a Bourgogne rouge (red wine from the Burgundy).

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