Sunday, March 27, 2011

Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon is the food of the gods. Really, any braised meat is the food of the gods. The term braising is used to describe meat that is cooked with both dry and wet heat. Most typically, meat is seared in a pan and then covered, or covered halfway, with water or any various cooking liquid. This method gives some of the most tender meat outside of sous-vide'ing it.

Boeuf Bourguignon is one of the most popular french dishes that's still made to this day. I decided to use the recipe out of Larousse Gastronomique written by Prosper Montagne. It's a simple recipe and is more of a set of instructions than a straightforward recipe. I've always preferred recipes like this because I believe cooking is more than just following a set of rules. I've almost never followed a recipe completely as it was written just because I want it to be personalized. Then you have a dish you can call your own, and if it's delicious it's even better!!!

You will begin your Boeuf Bourguignon by cutting up a 2lb cut of your favorite beef. I used chuck roast because it was on sale (as seen above)! Once the beef is cut up into nice size cubes, coat them in flour and set them aside. Next, get your mise-en-place together! Your mise-en-place is the collection of all the ingredients you'll be using in your dish. Here is everything you will need:

  • Pepper
  • Herbes de Provence (note on this later)
  • Unsalted beef stock
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • Two stalks of celery
  • Two large carrots
  • Two medium sized onions
  • Bunch of parsley
  • Bacon (uncooked or cooked)
  • Bacon fat (special note: yummy)
  • Red Wine
  • 2lb of Meat

These are herbes de provence, a delicious combination of savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and sometimes lavender. I used it in place of the thyme that the recipe called for because herbes de provence consists of mostly thyme, with only delicious things added.

Go ahead and fill your cooking vessel with all of the necessary ingredients, which is really everything but the meat and half the onions.

Oh yeah and I added two tablespoons of butter because butter is really good.

The next step is to start cookin'. Get your favorite fry pan and put a nice layer of bacon fat in it. Cook your beef in it at a high temperature until it is seared on both sides.

Now go ahead and put the browned meat into the dutch oven/whatever you have. Next, add half of the onions that you kept into the pan and cook until they're caramelized a bit.

Once they've started to cook down a bit (which is a little longer than they've been cooking here, I'm just impatient), add some red wine and beef stock to the pan to deglaze the pan. Once all the yummy juices from the meat and the onions have been deglazed from the pan, put all of that into the dutch oven and mix everything up together. Then fill it with your red wine and beef stock mixture. I just poured the whole bottle of red wine in and then used beef stock for the rest (around two cups). 

This is what it should probably look like.

After three hours at 375 degrees, this is probably what yours will look like. The taste isn't debatable because it will be so good you will cry.
The meat will be fork-cuttingly tender. The carrots will be glistening with a delicious combination of bacon fat, butter, and reduced red wine. The onions will be completely gone because they've been broken down so much, but that doesn't matter. That just means every bite will have little bits of dissolved onion. The celery is almost as dissolved, but still there because it's arrogant.

To be honest, the carrots were the best part because of how sweet they are from absorbing all the juices, but still retaining their natural sweetness. This has been my favorite dish since starting this blog, and really since I've been cooking at college. It's ridiculous how delicious something can be after cooking in liquid for so long. I'm a convert.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! Easy instructions with pictures even! To explain what I would before hand think to be a complicated dish. With your blog post in hand I shall try this dish!