Beef Bourguignon

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Beef bourguignon
Beef bourguignon, or boeuf bourguignon by its French name, is a classic French beef stew made with small perl onions, mushrooms, red wine and brown beef stock. The meat slowly cooks in the red wine and take up its taste so this is one recipe where using a good quality wine is a very good idea. A burgundy is the traditional choice, but a good Beaujolais or Cotes du Rhone will do just fine.

This was traditionally a peasant dish because it uses tough cuts of beef that need to be cooked for a long time to be tender. The flavor and tenderness that the meat takes after stewing in wine and stock is so amazing though that is as become a component of haute cuisine now in France.

This is comfort food in the deepest meaning of the term and this dish is bound to convert a few of your friends to a Paleo diet after they taste it. They won’t doubt that natural food can taste great afterwards.

This recipe is not a simple one. It’s not a difficult one either, but it does have a lot of steps to follow in order to obtain the perfect stew. Print out the recipe and make sure you take it step by step and you won’t even notice all the steps involved.

It is still great without wine if you prefer not having any in your diet, but it will lose the essence of the Boeuf bourguignon. Double the amount of beef stock if you want to go without the wine. The traditional recipe usually calls for flour to thicken the sauce, but simply boiling the sauce a little longer so more liquid evaporates will produce a similar result, without having to cope with any nasties of the flour.

Beef bourguignon recipe

Serves 6 people

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds stewing beef, cut in 2-inch cubes;
  • 7 tbsp lard, tallow or butter (ghee);
  • 1 sliced carrot;
  • 1 sliced onion;
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cut in chunks;
  • 3 cups of a good quality red wine;
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups of beef stock;
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste;
  • 2 gloves of garlic, minced;
  • 1 bay leaf;
  • 1 tsp dried thyme;
  • 1 pound fresh quartered mushrooms;
  • 20 small white onions;
  • *Optional: Bouquet garni (sprigs of parsley, thyme and 1 bay leaf tied together);
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Beef bourguignon preparation

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F;
  2. Sauté the bacon chunks in 1 tbsp of the lard, tallow or butter on medium heat for about 3 minutes in a pot that goes in the oven. Remove the bacon, but leave the fat in the pan;
  3. Dry the beef cubes in paper towel and brown in the same pan that has the hot fat. Make sure you brown the meat on all sides and proceed by batches if it’s easier;
  4. Put the beef cubes aside and cook the sliced vegetables (carrot and onion) in the same fat;
  5. Put the bacon and beef back in and add the wine, 2 to 3 cups of the beef stock, barely enough to cover the meat, the tomato paste, garlic and herbs;
  6. Season to taste, cover and put the pan in the preheated oven and let cook for 3 to 4 hours. Make sure it simmers and adjust the oven temperature consequently. The meat is ready when fork tender;
  7. While the beef bourguignon is stewing, heat 3 tbsp of the lard, tallow or butter and cook the 20 small onions. Sauté them for about 10 minutes while trying to brown them evenly on all sides without breaking their skin;
  8. Add 1/2 cup beef stock to the browned onions, season to taste and add the bouquet garni, if using;
  9. Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes. By that time, the onions will still hold their shape, but will be tender and the liquid will be evaporated;
  10. Remove the bouquet garni and set the onions aside;
  11. Make sure your pan is dry, add another 3 tbsp lard, tallow or butter and brown the mushrooms for about 4 minutes;
  12. When the meat is ready, get the pot out of the oven, put it back on the stove-top and remove bay leaf;
  13. Traditional recipes will call for skimming off the fat, but we know better and for flavor and nutrition’s sake we will leave all the fat in the final sauce;
  14. Depending on the desired thickness of the final sauce, either add some stock to make it thinner or rapidly boil uncovered to thicken the sauce;
  15. Taste and season accordingly;
  16. Add the onions and mushrooms and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes;
  17. Serve with family and friends with fresh parsley!

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