Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew with Red Wine Sauce)
When our menu is French, Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris is my go-to cookbook! Ina’s Boeuf Bourguignon is a great recipe and is best made the day before. Hearty, homey and deeply satisfying, this savory stew is classic French bistro fare. Serve with mashed potatoes and Green Beans with Pancetta, Shallots & Pecans and finish with the Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Orange Mousse for a spectacularly, special evening.
If you have a “no beef” guest, then make Ina’s Chicken with Morels, also an elegant, luxurious make-ahead dish.
This recipe uses beef chuck, pancetta and a whole bottle of pinot noir to make that luxurious red wine sauce. Remember to use a bottle of wine that you would serve to guests. This is crucial as the wine cooks down to its essence. You can replace the pancetta with a good thick cut bacon. Don’t skip the flambéing of the veggies with the cognac, as that caramelizes the veggies adding yet another layer of flavor. But do stay out of the way of the flames!
Couple of tips: Try to avoid the pre-cubed stew meat as it may vary by taste and fat content. If you can find them, try the creamed pearl onions in place of the frozen whole petite onions to add another layer of richness to the sauce. I like Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base to make the broth. Lastly, for timing purposes it takes about 90 minutes to get this made and into the oven for another 75 minutes to cook. Best to make the day before and bring to room temperature before reheating.
The combination of fall-apart tender beef with sumptuous veggies served over mashed potatoes is a winning combination and well worth the not so difficult effort. Don’t be intimidated, when it is all cooked and served, this is just a beef stew.
“Bonne année!” Be safe, be happy, and as Tom always says, “Enjoy the journey!”
1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces pancetta, diced
2 ½ pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
Fresh ground black pepper
(Optional: steak seasoning such as Lindberg Snider Porterhouse and Roast Seasoning)
1-pound fresh carrots (buy medium sized carrots, with the tops on for sweeter carrots), tops removed, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 medium yellow or sweet onions, diced
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup Cognac or good brandy
1 bottle (750-ml) good red wine (Pinot Noir or Burgundy wine)
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
14 oz. bag frozen whole petite onions
1 pound Cremini or brown mushrooms, stems discarded and thickly sliced
Preheat oven to 250F degrees.
In a large Dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon remove the pancetta to a large plate. Leave the drippings in the pan.
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and if, desired, 2 teaspoons steak seasoning. Working in batches in single layers (don’t crowd the meat or it will steam rather than sear), sear the beef in the hot oil for 5 to 7 minutes per batch, turning to brown on all sides. Removed the seared cubes to the plate with the pancetta and continue until all the beef is seared.
Toss the carrots, onions and the herbs de Provence with 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cognac, STAND BACK, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol.
Add the pancetta and meat back into the pot together with any accumulated juices. Add in the wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Stir in the tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for 1 ¼ hours, or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and place on the stove top.
Bring the stew to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
Recipe very slightly adapted from Barefoot in Paris