Sunday, October 26, 2008

Beef Bourguignonne

It was so pretty until I reheated it...

My mom's birthday was earlier this month, and Graham and I were having a tough time trying to figure out a good time to get together for a small birthday celebration. We gave my mom the option and she decided that she wanted to come over for dinner rather than go out somewhere. Had my mom picked any other day instead of a Monday, I probably would've made dinner out of the oven or stove top. But because we'd been away all weekend, I chose to make dinner using my trusty crock pot because I could dump everything in before work and come home and clean and NOT have to worry about dinner. And let me tell you, I am so glad I did that! I had just under 3 hours to finish cleaning and get ready for my family to come over, and that was just enough time.

Dinner was awesome, too! I'd been wanting to try this recipe for some time, and it was a big, big hit. My parents loved it. I know dinner must be good when they stop talking and start eating! I adapted this recipe from Williams-Sonoma.

Beef Bourguignonne

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 thick bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 yellow onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
6 fresh thyme sprigs
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 lb. white button mushrooms, halved
1 bottle Pinot Noir
1 Tbs. beef demi-glace
Steamed baby red potatoes tossed with butter and chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for serving (optional)

Place the flour in a large bowl. Season the beef with salt and pepper, add to the flour and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to a plate, shaking off the excess flour.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost smoking. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker.

Add the bacon, carrots, onions and garlic to the sauté pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker along with the bay leaves, thyme, parsley and mushrooms.

Off the heat, pour the wine into the sauté pan and set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the demi-glace and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add to the slow cooker, cover and cook until the meat is fork tender, 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Discard the bay leaves.

Transfer the Beef Bourguignonne to a platter and serve with steamed potatoes. Serves 10.

Notes:
  • This was a really great meal, but I think a good number of steps can easily be omitted. Next time, I won't coat the beef in flour or brown it. It's not necessary to brown the beef before throwing it in the slow cooker.

  • Actually, I don't think I'll saute or brown ANYTHING before throwing it in the slow cooker. I might fry up the bacon, but that'd be it. Sauteing the vegetables wouldn't make a big difference, in my opinion.

  • The beef came out so incredibly tender and delicious! I strongly encourage that you run out and make this.

  • I didn't use Williams-Sonoma demi-glace because there isn't a W-S nearby, and $30 for demi-glace is expensive, man! I used Better than Boullion, $4.99 in the soup aisle, and it added a nice gloss and weight to the gravy.

  • Speaking of gravy, I was afraid that my mom and sister would have freaked out over an entire bottle of wine, so I used a bottle plus 2 cups beef stock. While everything married well and was delicious, this was more stew-like than intended. If you're afraid of cooking with wine, halve the bottle of wine and add 2 cups beef stock and it'll come out just fine.

  • I served this with roasted red potatoes. Really simple, really fast, and really delicious. I think my dad ate more potatoes than he did beef.

  • If you've got leftovers, eat them the next day. This tastes so much better after it has time to sit for a day in the fridge and the flavors can develop.

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