If you want to woo your Valentine, this is what you should make them. Boeuf Bourguignon or Beef Burgundy is a classic beef stew that always reminds me of one of my heroes, Julia Child. Have you seen Julie and Julia? This is one of the dishes that is showcased in the movie. It is one of my most favorite dinners in the entire world. It has made an appearance at my Christmas dinners and many, many dinner parties. It is comforting and rich. Easy to make and tastes even better the next day. Serve with some buttered and parsley noodles and you and your date will be in heaven. This is a mish mash of recipes, but my favorite version to date.
We lived in Canada for a few years and my good friend Martine, who is from Quebec, makes the best Beef Burgundy I have ever had. Her secret is the onions that she uses to garnish her beef. She would make her lardons of bacon (which is a fancy french term for chunks of thickly cut bacon) and pour out most of the bacon fat. She would saute the pearl onions in the bacon fat and add brown sugar until they were really rich and caramelized. Right before she would serve the beef burgundy, she would add some of the sugared onions to the top. Pieces of crispy bacon and parsley on top of a rich brown stew with carrots, onions, mushrooms, and pieces of grass-fed beef. For real, make this for your Valentine.
When I was making this, I was making a huge batch to feed 10 adults. So the proportions in the pictures may be a little off.
6 ounces diced bacon
2 1/2 pounds cubed chuck beef
1 pound carrots
2 Tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
2 cups red wine (I use a French red)
2 cups beef stock
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 pound mushrooms
1 pound thick cut bacon
1 bag frozen pearl onions
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I always forget this part and kick myself, so do it first. In a large Dutch oven, saute the bacon until brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon and put the cooked bacon pieces on a paper towel to drain. Set aside. Dry the beef with paper towels. This step is very important. If the beef has moisture, it will not crisp up and brown. Do this is batches until it is all cooked. You do not want to overcrowd the pan. Take the cooked beef out and set aside.
Pour out about half of the fat in the pot if there is too much. If there is not enough, add a bit more olive oil. Add the carrots, onions, and mushrooms until slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and bacon back to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the beef and toss it until it is evenly distributed. Put the pot in the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Take the pot out and toss everything around again. Put it back in the oven for another 4 minutes. I know that this step is weird, but you need to do it. Julia said so. Are you going to argue with Julia Child?
Turn your oven down to 325 degrees. Put the pot back onto the stove and add the wine, brandy, and enough stock to cover the beef. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a bubble. Cover the pot and put it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. I like to cool the beef off and put it in the fridge overnight.
Thaw the frozen pearl onions and drain in a colander. Cook the bacon until brown and crispy. Take the bacon out and drain on a paper towel. Pour the bacon fat out of the pan.
Cook the onions over a medium to medium high heat until the start to brown. Add the brown sugar and cook until the sugar melts and bubbles.
Season with salt and pepper. Add the onions to the beef.
I make buttered egg noodles to go underneath mine. Cook the noodles according the package directions, toss with a few Tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper and toss in some chopped fresh parsley.
Sprinkle the top with the reserved lardons (cuz we are super fancy) of bacon and chopped parsley.