Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back in the Groove with Beef Bourguignon

Dinner: September 14

Not only am I back from another work trip to Las Vegas, but my confidence seems to be back as well. I decided to try a beef bourguignon this week, not an easy dish but one that I wanted to try in order to regain my enjoyment of cooking. The “gnocchi incident” of August left me feeling rather defeated, but it was time to get back into the kitchen with a challenge.

I chose a beef bourguignon recipe from Laura Calder, one I had seen her do on her “French Food at Home” show on the Cooking Channel. I didn’t do the obvious Julia Child recipe, though I plan to tackle that at a later date.

This recipe was designed to serve eight people, so I did reduce the ingredient amounts by half so I wouldn’t have leftovers for a month. Other than that, I made no substitutions or changes except to use cipollini onions instead of normal pearl onions, which cannot be found in grocery stores right now.

Basics:  Brought the stew beef to room temperature and browned in olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Browned meat and removed from pan. Cut carrot and onion in halves, then browned in same pot until golden, and did the same with 2 crushed garlic cloves. Added flour to pan and stirred; added half bottle of red wine and 2 cups of beef stock; added bouquet garni of parsley stems, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs; and returned meat to pot. Covered, put in oven at 325 degrees for two hours.

Meanwhile, browned bacon in a pan of olive oil, and removed. Cooked the peeled cipollini onions until browned, and removed. Browned mushrooms, and removed. Deglazed pan with ¼ cup of water, reduced, and returned onions and mushrooms to the pan. Set aside.

Removed pot from the oven, and removed meat from the pot. Discarded vegetables and garlic. Boiled stock until thick, returned the meat to the pan, and added the mushrooms and onion mixture. Covered, simmered about 10 minutes, and served.

It worked! The meat was tender and full of flavor, and the mushrooms and onions were a very tasty combination with the beef. All of the flavors were quite evident in the final product. I was skeptical of using products that I would not eat, like the carrot and original onion, as well as the bacon lardons, but each item added its own flavor and really put it all together nicely. Sure, it took about 2.5 hours to complete the process, but I felt that it was worth it for a really luscious one-pot dinner.

And Jen has her kitchen groove back.


  1. Hooray for having your kitchen groove back, and it looks amazing! In my experience usually the lardons are eaten as part of the bourguigon trifecta garnish-- did a recipe tell you not to use them? Also, did you use any flour? I'm a fan of rolling the meat in 1/2 flour and 1/2 cocoa powder (sounds weird, but a French chef actually suggested it to me) and that helps with the sear and with thickening up the liquid while in the oven. Thanks for sharing this! Yummy :)

  2. I actually don't know why I discarded the lardons; looking back at the recipe, it didn't say to get rid of them. Doh!

    I did use some flour, but I didn't roll the meat in flour. Will make note of your flour/cocoa powder rolling suggestion! The sauce definitely could've used some thickening.

  3. Typo alert: "thyme springs"

    Sounds like a great success!

  4. It is now sprigs. :) Thanks for alert!

  5. One of my favorite, "go-to" meals in a pinch! Hard to believe you couldn't find pearl onions, but cipollini onions are an amazing alternative. Keep up the great work!

  6. Thanks, Chef Brian! Not one grocery here had pearls; there must be a problem with production or something. But the cipollinis were great!

  7. Truly looks mouthwatering, Jen. Nice work!