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Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon is a classic French dish and a favorite winter main course at The Cook's Atelier.  It is so seasonal and comforting.  We love to make this in the winter months for luncheons with family and friends as well as for cooking class guests during  A Cook's Workshop winter program.  It's a classic Burgundian dish and pairs well with a young red Burgundy wine.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Serves 6

One 6-ounce piece of slab bacon, cut into lardons

Olive oil

3 pounds of lean stewing meat, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups red wine, preferably a young Burgundy

About 3 cups beef stock, preferably homemade

2 garlic cloves, smashed

3 thyme sprigs

3 Italian parsley sprigs

2 bay leaves

24 white pearl onions

1 pound mushrooms

In a large dutch oven, sauté the lardons in a drizzle of olive oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Trim away the excess fat and any silver skin from the meat. Cut into pieces approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches by 1 inch thick. Dry the beef with paper towels as it will not brown if it is damp. Season all sides of the meat with salt and pepper.

Increase the heat and add a drizzle of olive oil, if necessary, and heat until almost smoking. Add the meat, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Only add as many pieces of meat as will fit comfortably in a single layer; do not crowd the pan or the meat will steam rather than brown. Transfer the meat to a platter. Brown the remaining meat in batches, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the meat and bacon to the dutch oven. Sprinkle on the flour and toss to coat the meat lightly. Set the dutch oven uncovered in the middle of rack of the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and continue to cook an additional 4 minutes to brown the flour.

Remove the dutch oven and turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees F.

Add the wine and beef stock, just enough so the meat is barely covered. Add the garlic, thyme, parsley and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove. Cover the dutch oven and set in the lower third of the oven. Be sure to regulate the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for 3 hours, or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork.

While the meat is cooking, prepare the vegetables.

To prepare the onions

Cut an X in the root end of each onion and place in a bowl.

Meanwhile, bring to a boil enough water to cover the onions. Pour the boiling water over the onions. When the onion skins have softened enough to be easily peeled, drain the onions. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the onions and trim the roots as necessary.

Place the onions in a saucepan that will hold them in a single or double layer, add cold water to cover them by 1 inch, and season the water with bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the onions are tender when pierced with a paring knife.

A Cook’s Note: The onions can be kept at room temperature for up to 1 hour or covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.

To prepare the mushrooms

Trim away the mushroom stems flush with the caps. Heat the butter in a large skillet over high heat until it has melted and the foam has subsided. Add the mushrooms, reduce the heat to medium low, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook gently, tossing often, until the mushrooms are lightly browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

To finish the dish 

 When the meat is tender, remove the thyme, parsley and bay leaves. If necessary, skim off the fat. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add the cooked onions and mushrooms. Taste for seasoning. 

 We like to serve our Boeuf Bourguignon with little boiled potatoes and a handful of fresh parsley leaves.