Writer and photographer Monica Longenbaker
Comfort is at its finest with Beef Bourguignon, the elegant French stew that requires little introduction. Savory pieces of beef braise for hours in a bath of red wine that thickens to a rich, gorgeous glaze. Meanwhile, tender carrots, pearl onions and caramelized mushrooms deepen the complex flavors of the stew. Whether prepared for a fancy, sit-down dinner or served straight from the pot, this classic, crowd-pleasing dish always manages to impress.
Yield: 6 servings
6 ounces bacon, sliced into lardoons
2½ pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, small dice
1 cup carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
10 ounces pearl onions, peeled
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Place a large, oven-proof pot (preferably a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the bacon lardoons and sauté until the bacon is browned and most of the fat has rendered out. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the pot. Set aside.
Using a paper towel, pat the beef chuck pieces until dry, then season with salt and pepper. Place the pot with the bacon grease back over medium-high heat and sear the beef pieces. Avoid overcrowding the pot to ensure the beef develops some color. The beef should not be fully cooked at this point. If necessary, add more oil between batches. Remove the beef to a separate plate as it finishes searing.
Once all the beef has been removed, place the pot back over medium heat and add the butter, diced onions, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened.
Add the flour to the vegetables and stir for 1-2 minutes until well coated. Then add the tomato paste.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add the beef stock, bay leaves, parsley and thyme (tip: tie the herbs together with kitchen twine to make them easier to remove later on).
Bring the stew to a boil, then cover and place into the oven for 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the stew is thick. During the last hour of cooking, stir in the pearl onions.
While the stew is in the oven, heat cooking oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the stew has finished cooking, remove the herbs and stir in the sautéed mushrooms. If necessary, add salt and pepper. Serve the Beef Bourguignon with crusty bread, buttered noodles or rice.