Saturday, February 9, 2008

Beef Bourginon aka French Beef Stew

Being part carnivore I can say I do like my beef, more so than some of the other "red meat" options. Stewed is common and so many cultures have their own version.

The French version is called "Beef Bourginon" or "Beef Burgundy" which indicates the braising liquid of choice is a good burgundy wine. I've picked up a few versions over the years with odd bits here and there tossed in making it that particular chef's version to suit his tastes. What you get here is my version with a lot of the same additions and a few deletions. Enjoy....

Beef Bourginon
  • approx 3 lbs boneless beef short ribs
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2T butter
  • 1large onion - coarse chopped
  • 2 large carrots - 1" slices
  • 2 large stalks celery with leafy tops, coarse chopped
  • 2 T Garlic - chopped
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 Orange
  • 1/4 c Steak Seasoning Salt like Lawry Montreal brand
  • 2 whole clove sticks
  • 6 whole allspice berries
  • 1 t rosemary
  • 1 T thyme
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 2 T parsley
  • 1 bottle good red wine
  • 1-2 cups beef broth
  • 2T flour and 2T butter

Using vegetable peeler remove orange zest in long strips. Avoid getting pith. Take the large strips of orange peel, stack and tie with a piece of kitchen string. Set aside.

Cut short ribs into large 2" cubes and dry . Mix flour and steak seasoning. Roll beef cubes in flour. Heat the largest dutch oven you have. Add olive oil and heat over medium flame. Dice bacon and add to oil. When bacon edges are starting to brown add enough of the beef to do a single layer in the pan. Stir often until all sides of beef are seared and brown. You will need to do the searing in several batches. As each batch is seared put aside in a bowl until all beef is seared.

In hot pan add butter, onion, celery, carrots, clove and allspice. Cook stirring often and scraping up browned bits for about 10 minutes until onion is translucent. Add garlic and stir 2 more minutes.

Slice the orange and squeeze the juice into the pan. Pour in about 1/2 bottle of wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Scrape up all brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add beef, orange peel bundle, thyme, rosemary, parsley and bay leaves. Add the browned beef and any juices from the bowl. Add remaining wine. Add enough of the beef broth to just cover the meat.

Cover and simmer 1 1/2- 2 hours on stove top. In the alternative you may put in oven and slow cook at 300 for the same time period. (I use the latter on cold days when the extra heat is welcomed in the house).

At end of cooking remove lid and bring to low boil on the stove top. Remove the Orange peel bundle. Mix the remaining 2T butter and 2T flour with a fork to make a beurre mange. Add bits of the beurre mange and stir constantly but softly to thicken the "gravy" for your stew.

Serve with either smashed potatoes or boiled small red potatos on the side.

Now for the fun bit. For the wine I used good old "2 Buck Chuck" merlot. When it first came out all those years ago it was a drinkable wine, a bit sharp on the tannins but still a decent wine. For kicks and giggles I bought a case and stuck it in a cool dark place to see what would happen.

Flash forward to the end of 2006 we popped open that case of 2000 Merlot and found it aged beautifully. Full round fruity flavors, not a bit of tannin left. Who'da thought "2 Buck Chuck" would age so well. For this Beef Bourginon I used that Merlot and it was wonderful. Now I wish I had bought a couple of cases worth at the beginning as it really does age well and is simply a wonderful old red.

This is "stew season" so the next version will be a traditional Irish Beef Stew.

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