Boeuf Bourguignon

On the boil

If you haven't realized it by now, I love French food and I love The Barefoot Contessa.  So, it was a match made in heaven when she released the cookbook entitled Barefoot in Paris.

A love story unfolded and I have shared many a wonderful and uncomplicated French dish from this cherished cookbook here on the blog. 

Salmon with Lentils, Rosemary Cashews, Pissaladière, Scallops Provençal and Vegetable Tian are recipes I have shared.  Moroccan Couscous, Herbed New Potatoes and my go-to French Vinagrette are more delicious selections I have made, but have yet to share here (why I haven't escapes me at the moment). 

But there was one recipe which I had been waiting to conquer.  At every pageturn in the cookbook, it seemed to taunt me.  It was a three-pager.  It required lots of time.  It required a dinner party.  It required a Dutch Oven.  It required a good deal of cash for ingredients. 

Most of all, it required an entire bottle of red wine that was good enough to drink.  And if you know anything about me by now, it is rare that such a bottle would remain corked at Chez Robin for any length of time.  hicca

As luck would have it, the Gods aligned and the dinner plans were in place for the debut of the mother of all beef stews…Boeuf Bourguignon.

Ina explains that she thinks traditional Boeuf Bourguignon is time consuming and that the finished product leaves the meat dry and stringy.  She touts her recipe as an easier, less time consuming version.

I added my own time saving measures by having  my local butcher shop cube the exact amount of beef and bacon I needed, which is essential for a working girl!

The ingredient deck is long.  Time and patience are needed, but as any good French cook will attest, these things are all de rigeur when cooking good French food.

Boeuf Bourguignon
serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces bacon, diced
2 ½ pounds beef chuck cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks 
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
½ cup Cognac or good brandy
1 (750-ml) bottle good dry red wine, such as Burgundy
2 to 2 ½ cups canned beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen small whole onions
1 pound mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For Serving
Country bread, toasted or grilled
1 garlic clove, cut in half
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 250°F.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add bacon; cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bacon is lightly browned. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear beef in hot oil 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef cubes to plate with cooked bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 2 teaspoons of pepper into the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 

Add Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put beef and bacon back into the pot with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Add wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. 

Bring to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and place on top of stove.

Combine 2 tablespoons of the butter and the flour with fork and stir into the stew. Add frozen onions. In medium pan, sauté mushrooms in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, over medium heat, 10 minutes or until lightly browned; add to stew. 

Bring stew to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered 15 minutes. Season to taste.  

Rub each slice of bread on one side with garlic.  For each serving spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Boeuf Bourguignon

The result was the most impressive and mouth-watering beef stew I have ever made.  And if you thought I liked Ina before, you can bet after the rave reviews and the oohs and aahs I heard after slaving over this dish, you can bet that I now worship the East Hampton ground she walks on!

Look out Julia Child!!  I've got my best French chef.  And her name is Ina Garten.  But you can call her Barefoot Contessa.  

Have you ever eaten or made Boeuf Bourguignon?  Tell me about it!

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