Julia Child once said, “Anyone can make a bowl of pasta, but it takes a skilled chef to put out a fine French meal.” In an attempt to challenge myself to more than quick, weeknight dinners, I began diving into French cuisine, and I am so glad that I did! Boeuf Bourguignon is my all-time favorite meal; it’s a dish that works great for dinner parties or just those cold winter days indoors with the family.
It consists of beef braised in red wine (yes, please!) with bacon and vegetables and is served over a bed of garlic mashed potatoes. Due to the extensive amount of time required to cook this meal, the flavor development is incredible! The ingredients are cooked down until they are almost falling apart and the flavor of wine permeates throughout.
2-2.5 lbs. chuck beef cut into cubes
10 oz. diced bacon
2 yellow onions thickly sliced
1 lb. carrots sliced diagonally
1 lb. mushrooms thickly chopped
1 bottle dry, red wine
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons room temperature butter
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
3 tablespoons flour
To begin, you will need to preheat the oven to 350°F. On the stovetop, heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the bacon to the pot, stirring until it’s nice and brown. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the bacon bits onto a plate, leaving the grease in the pot. Dry the beef cubes and coat them generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Place single layer batches of meat into the bacon grease, searing each side of the meat until a golden crust form. This should take about 4 minutes per batch. Add the meat to the plate of bacon and set aside.
Put the carrots and onions in the grease and add two teaspoons of pepper and one tablespoon of salt. Let the vegetables cook until the carrots begin to soften and the onion becomes translucent (about ten minutes), then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Dump the bacon and meat back into the pot and add the bottle of wine and beef broth. Add thyme and tomato paste, bring to a simmer, and place the covered Dutch oven into the oven. Cook for two hours, until everything is tender.
Mash two tablespoons of butter into the flour and add it to the pot of stew for thickness. On the stovetop, melt the remaining butter in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms until soft (about ten minutes or so). Add them to the pot, bring it all to a boil, and then simmer for ten minutes more.
This dish tastes amazing with garlic bread, but do not buy the frozen kind. If you’re going to make this dish, do it right. Go hard or go home! Here is a quick and easy recipe :
Buy a French loaf and cut it in half lengthwise, smearing it with a mixture of garlic, butter, olive oil, salt, and parsley. Pop it in the oven for ten minutes at 400°F and voila!