I have made Julia Child’s classic Boeuf Bourguignon many times. I have followed her painstaking directions, cooked the pearl onions – fresh, of course – and the mushrooms separately, straining the sauce – the whole bit. It’s fabulous – and a lot of work.
I’ve streamlined her process several times – and today, came up with another variation that is more than adequate. It’s all done in one pot – a far cry from the numerous pots Julia used – and the results were stupendous. And really good, too!
I’m a peasant at heart, and just can’t see straining out perfectly good vegetables to make a silken sauce – on a Monday. I would do it for a special occasion – I have done it for a special occasion – but I also like how the carrots and onions just kind of melt into the sauce and how the mushrooms add to the meatiness of the dish after several hours in the oven.
The dish still takes hours to make – but it’s oven time, not prep and cooking and washing pots and pans time.
Boeuf Bourguignon – Streamlined
- 3 ounces bacon, cut into matchstick strips
- 1 1/2 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- flour for dredging
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 6 shallots, halved – quartered if large
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1 lb mixed mushrooms, small left whole, large halved or quartered
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 3 cups red wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
In an ovenproof casserole, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.
Dredge beef in flour and add to the bacon fat in batches and brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
Sauté shallots, green onions, garlic, and fennel until they begin to wilt – adding a bit of olive oil, if necessary.
Stir in tomato paste and cook about a minute. Add the brandy and start scraping up the bottom of the pan.
Add the wine and the beef broth – then the mushrooms and carrots. Add the thyme and bay leaf and salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to a boil, cover, and then place in a 325°F oven for three hours, stirring a couple of times.
Before serving, check for final seasoning and add S&P, as needed.
Serve over potatoes or noodles.
This is like really awesome beef stew – and you can make it even more stew-like with celery, parsnips, rutabagas… cooking potatoes in the sauce…
Go for it!