Let’s start out with a bang!
So since I am really new to this whole blogging-and-putting-myself-out-there thing… I figure that the first recipe I post should be one of the most famous recipes of French cuisine – Beef Bourguignon. I hear so many people talk about this iconic dish at work, in movies and on menus at bougie restaurants, and although I pretty much know the concept of what it is, it’s something I have never made. My main objection to it has been that I didn’t have the right cookware for the job (e.g. a large, heavy, Dutch oven). Because if you have ever tried to follow a recipe using the wrong kind of pan or skillet, you know that it can greatly effect the outcome.
*Cue Le Creuset*
I recently got this pretty little gal, and anyone that even slightly knows me can tell you how much I gush over this damn pot! ** It. Is. My. Baby. **
Andy (the boyfriend) has been fighting me on getting one because “we don’t have a ton of space,” “we don’t need more cookware,”… so we all know who spends more time in the kitchen. But once he got a little taste of what this beauty can do, he changed his tune pretty quick.
Le Creuset- 1, Andy- 0.
But enough about that – let’s get to the food! That’s what everyone wants anyway, right? Beef Bourguignon, and it’s poultry cohort Coq au Vin, are two of France’s most iconic cultural dishes. Both reigning from Burgundy, they rely heavily on the use of wine to simmer, baste, tenderize, and flavor the meats and veggies. And let’s be honest here – if I’m cooking with wine, I’m definitely having a glass (or two) while I’m stirring away. This is a judgment-free zone, of course, so rest easy and top yourself off!
Beef Bourguignon typically starts with a cut of fatty pork – bacon or pork belly – that’s seared to render its fat, and then you basically cook everything else in it. In my world, this is exactly how every recipe should start. Browning the beef, sautéing the veggies, and adding an entire bottle of wine gives you an deeply developed flavor that can only be achieved through a bit of patience. Then by adding mushrooms and pearl onions towards the end, this dish becomes truly transcendent.
Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to making beef bourguignon, which makes it quite an endeavor for a weeknight meal. I made it on a Saturday night after work and popped it in the fridge to let all of the flavors really get friendly with each other before heating it back up and serving it for Sunday supper – it. was. perfect.
But that’s enough blabbering – let’s get to the good stuff!
Ladies and gentlemen, Beef Bourguignon over egg noddles, with havarti crostini, and my favorite Caesar salad
Beef Bourguignon over Egg Noodles and a simple Caesar Salad
- 1 tbsp. good olive oil
- 8 oz. pork belly lardons or diced bacon
- 2 1/2 lbs. chuck roast or other stewing meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 bottle (750ml) Pinot Noir or other full-bodied red wine
- 2 – 3 cups beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tbsp. butter, room temperature; divided
- 3 tbsp. all -purpose flour
- 1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and cut into large chunks
- 1 lb. frozen pearl onion
- 1 baguette, cut diagonally in 1/2 slices
- 2 tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 tsp parsley, chopped
- 4 oz. havarti, sliced thin
- 3 heads romaine lettuce or other preference, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 c. mayonnaise
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. capers
- fresh black pepper
- shaved parmesan
- parmesan crisps or croutons
Preheat oven to 300°
- Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until just about to smoke. Add lardons and cook until browned, about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined bowl and set aside to drain. Brown meat on all sides in rendered fat, taking care to not overcrowd the meat and work in batches as necessary. Remove to bowl with lardons and set aside.
- Add diced onion and carrots to the dutch oven, turning down heat if needed to saute and stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes until onions are translucent and very aromatic. Add garlic and saute for another minute before adding tomato paste and thyme. stir to combine evenly and saute for another two minutes, taking care to make sure garlic doesn’t burn. Pour the apple cider vinegar in and stir until evenly mixed; cook another minute.
- Add the lardons and beef back into the dutch oven, and add in all of the wine (yes, the entire bottle) and enough beef stock to cover up the meat. Add bay leaves and raise the heat to bring to a boil; cover, and move to the oven to cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
- During the last 10 minutes, heat a skillet with 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat and add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until darker in color, and starting to char a little bit – about 10 minutes. Take stew out of the oven and place over low heat on the stove top. take remaining 2 tbsp. butter and mix with the flour until there are no lumps and mixture is smooth. Stir into stew to incorporate and thicken. raise heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add frozen pearl onions and mushrooms, lower heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve once the pearl onions are cooked through.
- For the salad dressing, mix mayonnaise, lemon juice and capers in a small food processor or blender, and put on high for a minute to mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and top with shaved parmesan and crisps/croutons You can adjust the consistency to your liking by adding more or less mayonnaise and lemon juice, or also substitute the capers for 1 tsp. of anchovy paste.
- When making the crostini, simply spread lay slices out on a sheet pan and spread some of the softened butter on each with some parsley. Lay a slice or two of havarti on top, and place under the broiler for a few minutes – until cheese has started to crisp. Remove from broiler and serve while still warm.
Notes and Variations
Like most good soups or stews, allowing the flavors to meld overnight really enhances the dish and allows everything to blend and develop even more. Cast iron is pretty sturdy stuff, but it can still experience thermal shock if heated (or cooled) too quickly, so make sure to let the Dutch oven come up to room temperature before putting it on the heat. Prepare the egg noodles as directed on the package, and serve with the beef bourguignon spooned on top.
A simple variation for this recipe is to get larger slices of baguette, and serve the beef bourguignon directly on top – cutting out the pasta and making for a lighter meal. Personally, I love as many carbs as I can get a hold of, but I understand that it’s not for everyone.
Another substitute, to make this gluten free, is to simply swap some gluten free flour when making the stew, and to serve over gluten free bread, mashed potatoes, or even some very creamy polenta. As much as I love quinoa as a GF option, you really need something heartier to stand up against the rich and bold flavors in the stew.
Eat up, and I hope you enjoyed this post! Please leave a comment if you have suggestions or made this with other variations. I am always eager to try something new!