Beef Bourguignon

I recently channeled my inner Julia Child and made beef bourguignon.  Sometimes a girl has to take a break from her stir-fries and break out something different for dinner.  And it's fun to try something new, make something special on the weekends when there's more time to prep and cook meals and we can all sit down together to savor it. 
Ever since the temperature started dipping, I noticed an immediate change in my cravings.  I'm hungry more often and craving heartier food.  There's no lack of inspiration everywhere since most people share my sentiments.  In particular, this recipe for beef bourguignon that I saw in the recent October issue of Rachael Ray magazine called out to me.  Not only did it look good but it sounded extremely do-able.  Knowing my own limits, do-able is key!  Plus, I've had some very good experiences with Rachael's recipes to encourage me to try this one, and I'm sure glad I did!
I made this with my husband in mind.  He loves a good slow-cooked meat dish and if you feel the same way, you hardly need me to sell you on beef bourguignon.  The red wine, beef stock, tomato paste (but definitely the red wine) are just some of the components that turn the meat and vegetables in the pot into something magical in a few mere hours. 

This makes me think about the first time I ever had beef bourguignon...I'd actually taken part in making it.  It was back in High School and I was taking a French cooking class where we made the dish.  I remember the teacher telling us she was "sneaking in" some red wine for us to cook with and we were all very impressed with her and ourselves.  At the end of each of our cooking projects, we would set the table very properly with linen napkins and all, then sit down to enjoy the meal we prepared.  And I remember sitting down at the table after cooking our beef bourguignon and getting to taste what we made.  We didn't have wine on the side but we did have some warm French bread and good butter.  It was delicious and that is a happy memory for me.
It sure took me long enough to make beef bourguignon again but better late than never.  This particular recipe is really relatively simple, do-able to the point of not needing to be a special occasion meal to cook; there's no bouquet garni or any pearl onions involved but what you do put in the pot creates an extremely flavorful stew that puts you in awe of whoever first created it.  I think I'll have to make it a point to make this at least once every fall or winter going forward.


Would you mind if I took a minute to talk about my little copper pot here?  A while back, I'd seen one like it on a blog one night when I was noodling around.  You know how adorable itty bitty things are so I was oohing and aahing over it and showed it to my husband.  It was Mother's Day a few weeks later and this was one of my presents. I have to tell you I have not actually used it (for practical purposes like, say, melting butter or warming milk) because it's just too precious!  I used it here purely for presentation purposes.  I cleaned it right up and put it back in its place in my kitchen where I just love looking at it.  It's so adorable! 
Now back to the beef bourguignon!  In my best Julia Child voice, I had fun announcing to my family all day long that we would be having "boeuf bourguignon!" for dinner.  And I hope this might inspire you to make it, too.  Sure, it involves making a grocery list and getting some ingredients but as far as beef bourguignon recipes go, this is not very demanding and there's a big payoff.

I'm not saying a more complex process won't create even more layers of flavor but this has all the basics of beef bourguignon covered and using good red wine (I didn't use Burgundy, specifically, but a Pinot Noir) and letting everything cook slowly turns out a very delicious, satisfying stew.  Once you start browning that stew meat, adding the vegetables and tomato paste, the aromas start to build up, giving you an indication of what's to come.
The one thing I noticed after the fact was this recipe doesn't include garlic.  I don't know how I missed that beforehand but sometimes you get caught up in a new experiment and making sure you follow the instructions correctly.  Next time, I don't think it would hurt to throw a few cloves of smashed garlic into the pot with the onions and other vegetables.  Once it all cooks for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, all you need is some warm French bread and a nice glass of the red wine (for the adults) to go alongside.


For a dish that started out as peasant food, it sure feels rich and luxurious - yet rustic and down to earth - when you sit down to enjoy it with your family! 


Recipe:

Beef Bourguignon
Adapted from the Oct. 2014 issue of Rachael Ray magazine

- Serves 4 -

2 slices bacon, chopped (I used 3 slices of center cut bacon)
1 lb. beef chuck stew meat, cut into about 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups white mushrooms, quartered (or halved if small)
3/4 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed (not in the original recipe but certainly won't hurt)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, divided
To serve: warm baguette (optional)

In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 4 minutes.  Remove bacon to a plate and set aside.  

Season the beef with salt and pepper, then add it to the pot in one layer.  Cook, allowing each side to sear, until browned all over, about 6-8 minutes.  Transfer the meat to another plate.  Add mushrooms to the pot, cook until browned, about 4 minutes.

Reduce heat medium and stir back in the beef.  Add the carrots, onion, garlic, tomato paste, and butter.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour on top of the mixture and stir together for 2 minutes.  Add in the stock, wine, and 1 tablespoon of the thyme.  Stir well to bring up the fond (browned bits) at the bottom of the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low to low, cover and simmer until meat is tender and sauce thickens, about 1 1/2 hours or so (I check on the pot and stir a few times, particularly towards the end of the cooking time).  Check the beef for doneness by inserting a knife into the meat to see if it's tender.

Stir the cooked bacon pieces back into the pot.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Ladle stew into serving bowls and garnish with remaining fresh thyme. Serve alongside warm baguette, if desired.





32 comments:

  1. One of my favourite favourites! Yours looks heavenly and I love that copper pot.

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    1. Thank you, Angie. Any meat eater has to be a fan of beef bourguignon, I think. I'm so happy I made it and I'll remember to do so from now on.

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  2. I can't wait to try this! Last year I said I'd try...and I don't know what happened. I actually like slow cooking over stove (not that I have time, but I like the tedious step like skimming and browning meat etc when I can daydream something else. haha). I got the recipe from you. Hopefully I'll get to cook very soon!

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    1. Thank you, Nami! I know what you're saying. I don't mind doing things like stirring a pot of risotto if I have the time. It's relaxing, isn't it...

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  3. p.s. The copper pot is pretty!! And the French cooking class in high school? That's so cool!!!

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    1. haha - thanks! I was so comfortable in those cooking classes...I took a bunch, the last I took was this French cooking one. It really opened my eyes as to how recipes get made and to learn the art of just eating!

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  4. Monica!!! Get out of my head! I was just thinking of this dish the other day, and now you've created this beautiful Beef Bourguignon! Girl, you are reading my mind! And, I'm so glad you did - because this looks delicious! I think garlic would be a great addition!

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    1. lol. I think some of us are living in the same head. I see so many things I'm craving or already making on other people's blogs. It's great! I can't believe I didn't think of the garlic. I think it's great either way. : )

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  5. I can't believe I've never made beef bourguignon either. I love it in restaurants, but always thought it was too hard to make at home. I should give your recipe a try!

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    1. It does make you think of a long, long process. This recipe is really quite simple when you look at it. A couple of hours, mostly idle, is all it takes. I definitely recommend it.

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  6. Now this is perfect for the chilly weather we've been having!! Love your version of this classic dish. And the copper pot is beautiful!

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    1. A simple take on a more elaborate classic is my game. : ) This chilly weather is definitely having me crave hearty. Glad you like the little pot. Too stinking cute. : )

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  7. Hi Monica, my family would love this dish!!! A few years ago my mom gave me 2 of her copper pots, mine does not look as pretty as yours as they need to be polished but I enjoy cooking with them.

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    1. Copper pots are so beautiful but they do need to be polished and tended to, don't they. It's so nice you cook with your mom's pots.

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  8. My cravings have totally changed too with the weather finally cooling down - and this sure does sound delicious! I love taking my time to cook things on the weekends - it feels like such a treat!

    And I love that pot! I'd probably do the same thing and only use it for presentation, etc. It's too adorable!

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    1. I have to admit that I made ice cream/gelato 2 days ago so there are some exceptions to my weather-sensitive cravings. ; ) That said though, it's soups, roasts, meaty dishes, etc. for us right now. Glad you like my little pot. I can't get myself to really use it quite yet but that size is handy for warming some cream or milk for recipes...but who wants to be practical?!

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  9. Monica - this looks perfect! I love your presentation too. It is so hard to shoot meat dishes - like a stew - at least it is for me. Your photos are terrific. I have made this once and it took all day - but it was so delicious. Bravo! I too love the hearty fall dishes when the weather turns. Comfort food is the best!

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    1. Thanks, Tricia - it just hit me that I wanted to put some of this stew into my itty bitty pot. Dark foods are very hard to photograph. I'm not sure if it's just me but I find myself just snapping and hoping for a few passable shots.

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  10. I have definitely been craving more stews and hearty foods too. Love your beef bourguignon, it looks so flavorful and comforting. That's awesome that you took a French cooking class in high school too - I would have loved to take that if it was offered. The copper pot is gorgeous - so sweet of your husband to get it for you :) Hehe I would do the same and only use it for presentation too, it's so so pretty!

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    1. I'm glad you feel the same way about the little pot - haha, one day I'll actually put it to regular use (maybe...). : ) I took a bunch of those cooking classes and they were good times; I loved hanging out in that big kitchen/classroom. We even took a trip to a culinary college and my teacher wanted me to pursue a career in food! Can you believe that?! I got scared and stopped taking the classes - back to finance for me. I don't think a professional food career's for me but I do wonder what would have happened had I thought more about my true interests in life and gone on to study something closer to that arena...

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  11. Oh Monica, this is such a hearty beef dish...love all the flavors in it...it sure looks delicious!
    Have a great week :)

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    1. This is a success for me; thanks, Juliana.

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  12. When I looked a the picture, I indeed thought of Julia Child! Also the movie Julie and Julia :)
    The dish came out beautiful! I love French food. Gonna challenge the cooking very soon!

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    1. Yes - I'm actually not much of a movie buff but I did watch Julie and Julia. : ) I'm glad you like it. Thanks, Maggie!

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  13. I love beef bourguignon and this looks like a very well made one! Beautiful photo too!

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    1. Appreciate that...thanks, Katerina.

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  14. I love stews made with veggies - so delicious, and the meat is so moist and soft! My definition of comfort food!

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    1. I love how cooking meat low and slow turns a tough, inexpensive cut into something moist and tender. It's really great comfort food, I agree. : )

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  15. oh my! I mean really wow! It looks fantastic and full of rich flavor. love the cute little pot you have it photographed in!

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    1. Thanks so much. : ) This recipe was so easy...I'm really glad I made it.

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  16. Love your memory of the French cooking class. This is such a gorgeous hearty dish, rich in flavour and perfect to cosy up with on a cold evening. The copper pot is made for this dish I think, gives it that comfort feel. French food is my absolute favourite..more sweet than savoury but this one makes me crave savoury immensely.

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    1. It is definitely a happy memory for me. I used to go to the classroom/kitchen on my free periods to help do things like wash the dishes just to be in that space and to smell the sugar, chocolate, and butter in the air. Thanks for your sweet words. : )

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