This probably comes as no surprise to most of the country, but USA Today has reported that there is snow on the ground in every state except Florida and Hawaii. Seems March 2015 will be arriving with the a lion’s fury, which for me signifies yet another meal of savory “comfort food” before eventually firing up the backyard grill.
Now I’m a lover of good wine – drinking it – cooking with it – just swirling it around in a glass makes me happy. I’ve also been known to get rather excited when I find a nice marbly cut of beef for braising. So in bidding “adieu à l’hiver” (that’s French for farewell to winter), I’ll offer an American adaptation of … une cuisine française …
Bœuf Bourguignon de Style Américain
(Serves 6 – 8)
- 4 pound chuck roast, cut into 1″ pieces (be sure to discard any larger pieces of fat)
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2-1/2 cups of burgundy or cabernet wine (If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it. No Charles Shaw here, please!)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 2 celery sticks, cut into large pieces
- 1 yellow onion, cut into large pieces
- 2 dried bay leaves
Combine the meat, garlic, wine, vegetables and bay leaves in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate for 5-6 hours or overnight. When you’re ready to prepare the stew, remove the “drunken” meat to a separate bowl, discard the vegetables and bay leaves, and reserve the liquid marinade.
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- about 1/2 cup flour
- 5 slices of bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 4 carrots diced into small pieces
- 3 celery ribs, diced into small pieces
- 1 yellow onion, diced into small pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, diced into small pieces
- 1/4 cup tomato paste mixed with 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 cups beef stock
- 6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with string
- 1 pound fingerling or baby red potatoes
- 1 cup frozen peas
Over medium-high heat on the stove, coat the bottom of a large dutch oven pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper the marinaded meat, and stir or toss it to evenly coat. Place one pound (about a quarter) of the “drunken” meat in a bowl containing the flour, toss it to cover, then transfer it to the pan. Sear the meat on all sides, then remove it to a large bowl. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, toss and repeat the flouring and searing process with another pound of the meat. After the second round of searing, pour half of the reserved wine marinade into the pan to deglaze it for a few minutes, scraping up the browned bits of meat. Pour the deglazed wine over the seared meat, add more olive oil to coat the pan and repeat the process with the remaining meat and marinade. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Add the bacon to your pan and sauté until it begins to crisp. Add the diced onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic to the bacon. Season with more salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften on the outsides and some of the liquid has steamed off, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste/Worcestershire mixture and stir to evenly coat the vegetables.
Add the seared beef with the reserved deglazing liquid (you should have about 1-1/2 cups) to the vegetables and again deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Add the beef stock, bay leaves and thyme bundle to the mixture and stir to blend. Bring the stew to a boil, then cover the pot with a lid and place it in the preheated oven. Dice the potatoes into 1/2″ pieces and add them to the stew after it has been in the oven for an hour. Cover and continue braising in the oven for an additional hour. (Total oven braising time should be approximately 2 hours.) Remove the stew from the oven, discard the bay leaves and thyme bundle, add the peas and stir to blend well. Let the stew rest for about 10 minutes, then skim off any fat that remains on the surface.
- a loaf of crusty French bread, cut into 2″ slices with tops lightly buttered
- an abundance of tasty red table wine (such as Rodney Strong Vineyards Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon)
Place the sliced French bread under the broiler, butter sides up, and toast until the tops are lightly browned. Serve alongside the stew for soaking up the luscious juices.
“Ce est un repas parfait pour la fin de l’hiver!” … “It is a perfect meal for winter’s end!”