Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Boeuf Bourguignon (aka Beef Stew)

Boeuf bourguignon is a French classic which comes from Burgundy, France – a region that is home to other famous dishes like coq au vin, escargot, gougères, and pain d’épices.  Leave it to the American culinary icon Julia Child to IMG_20180110_164017_821bring this dish to the American diner table.  In Child's book Mastering the Art of French Cooking she describes the dish, "sauté de boeuf à la Bourguignonne," as "certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man." And that is a pretty strong recommendation to cook this dish.  

Don’t let the fancy French name of this dish fool you, on our side of the pond it is called beef stew and there are many different variations.  Boeuf bourguignon was originally a peasant dish made with cuts of meat that were undesirable because of their toughness.  But this method calls for a long cooking process in wine which helps tenderize the meat making it savory, rich, and fork-tender.  This is a perfect dish for keeping warm in the midst of this chilly winter weather that is blanketing us.

My rendition calls for the addition of coffee granules, orange zest, and boiling potatoes.  Why coffee granules?  I think it just intensifies the flavor and deepens the richness.  But, by all means, you could omit this ingredient.  I like the zest of the orange to bring flavors to life and the potatoes make this a hearty one-pot meal.  The other difference in my version from the traditional is the lack of bacon. Bacon was added to the pan first and the rendered fat would be used to brown the meat, I use olive oil instead.  You get it ... I'm trying to be health conscious!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ cup flour
1 onion, ¼ cut into small dice and the remainder quartered
3 carrots, ½ carrot cut in small dice and the rest in 2” pieces
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup brandy
1 ½ cups of red wine (preferably Burgundy)
2 cups beef stock
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
1 orange, zest removed in 3 (1-inch) strips
1 tablespoon coffee granules
5 small new potatoes, cut in ½
8 ounces button mushrooms

Directions:

Place flour on a plate.  Season beef with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Heat the oil in Dutch oven medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add meat and sear on all sides being careful not to overcrowd the pan, you may have to do this step in 2 or 3 batches.  Remove and transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add diced onion and carrots.  Sauté for 5 minutes until softened.  Add garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring 2 minutes until paste begins to caramelize.  Add brandy to the pan and bring it up to a simmer while scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen up all the tasty bits.  Once the brandy has reduced by ½ add the wine and stock.  Bring to a boil and add the seared beef, quartered onions, carrot pieces, thyme, bay leaves, cloves, orange zest, and coffee.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2 hours.

After 2 hours add the potatoes and mushrooms.  Cook uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are done.  Scrape off excess fat.  Remove thyme sprigs, bay leaves, cloves, orange zest, and serve.
This can be made a day ahead and reheated to serve.  We actually think it is better the next day as the flavors have time to meld.



























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