Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Stew Crazy

In the September/October issue of Imbibe, wine expert Jill Bernheimer plays the role of an armchair tour guide, taking you on a virtual tour of some of the world’s most prestigious wine regions, spotting inexpensive wine bargains along the way. A stop in Burgundy led her palate to the 2006 Le Jardin De Charlotte Bourgogne, which in turn led our bellies to another the Burgundian classic, Boeuf Bourguignon. Growing up in Arizona, I rarely experienced a winter where the thermometer dipped below 60 degrees, but those cool desert nights didn’t stop my mom from expressing her inner Julia Child and cooking up the famed chef’s soul-warming French stew. As kids, my sisters and I would beg for this time-consuming treat, and once a year, as soon as the first cool winter breeze blew across the desert floor, our house filled with the aromas of Burgundy. —Tracy Howard

Boeuf Bourguignon
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

For the Stew:
1/4 lb. of bacon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. flour
1 750 ml. bottle of red wine (we recommend an earthy Côtes du Rhône or Burgundian Pinot Noir)
1 cup beef stock (and additional stock to thin out sauce if desired)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)

For the braised onions:
1 lb. white pearl onions, peeled
1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 sprigs parsley

For the sautéed mushrooms:
1 lb. mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut the bacon into large pieces and simmer for 10 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Drain and dry the bacon and reserve. Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large casserole or dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the bacon until lightly brown, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Dry off the beef and sauté the pieces, a few at a time, in the hot oil/bacon fat until browned on all sides. Once browned, remove meat and set aside with the bacon. In the same casserole dish, sauté the onion and the carrot in oil/fat until softened. Pour off the fat and return the bacon and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion. Sprinkle salt, pepper and flour over meat mixture and toss to combine. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return, uncovered, to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven. Add the wine and one cup of the stock. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs and bring to a simmer over med-high heat on the stovetop. Cover and place in the oven, allowing the liquid to simmer very slowly for three to four hours, or until a fork easily pierces through the meat.

While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

For the onions:
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet; add the onions and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown evenly. Pour in the stock, add the herbs and simmer covered over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until the onions are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.

For the mushrooms:
Heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet; add the mushrooms and sauté for about five minutes. Remove from heat once softened.

To finish the stew:
Once the meat is cooked through, remove the casserole, place over low heat on stovetop and add onions and mushrooms. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig. Skim off any fat and simmer for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat that rises to the surface. Salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock; if the sauce is too thin, boil it down and reduce to desired consistency.

Can be served immediately with boiled parsley potatoes or egg noodles, or stored in refrigerator overnight. To reheat, place over medium low heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Serves 6-8.


Mr_Grant said...

It's even better if you marinate the cubed beef in the wine overnight. That beef-infused wine is what you add with the broth after lowering the oven temp to 325.