In the movie Julie and Julia blogger Julie Powell obsessed about perfecting Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe. As I recall Julie spent hours in the kitchen attempting to recreate the dish to the creator’s standards. I remember wondering what could be so hard about making what was essentially a beef stew. After all, beef stew makes a regular appearance on our dinner table since it is such an easy dish to make. People rave about this hearty beef dish but I had neither attempted to make or even eaten Boeuf Bourguignon and wondered what all of the fuss was about. So I gave it a try and now I know the answer. Simply put, although the dish is labor intensive, requiring numerous steps and several hours of cooking, it is so tasty that it is worth every minute I put into creating it.
Boeuf Bourguignon is a rich and savory red wine based stew that is the ultimate comfort food. The recipe is from Epicurious but I’ve made slight changes to accommodate the ingredients I had available. Because each ingredient is slow cooked before being combined in the main dish, the flavors are complex yet melded together with none overpowering the other. Of course because the vegetables are sauteed in bacon grease, you know this has to be good. And the roasted garlic? All I can say is wow. I’m now inspired to use roasted garlic in all of my stews and soups.
So, as the cooler weather creeps in as it is doing here in Belgium, if you are looking for something warm and comforting and have several hours to cook (a lazy weekend afternoon comes to mind), give this Beef Bourguignon a try. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
1 whole head garlic
2 tablespoons plus 2 cups dry red wine
4 thick bacon slices, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
3 1/2 pounds stew beef, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large fresh thyme sprigs
3 large fresh sage sprigs
3 large fresh rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 cups beef stock
12 ounces pearl onions
3 bunches baby carrots, trimmed, peeled
12 ounces portobello mushrooms
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place garlic on large piece of foil. Pour 2 tablespoons wine over garlic and wrap the foil around garlic to enclose.
- Roast garlic until soft, about 40 minutes. Cool. Press garlic between fingertips to release from skins; set aside.
- Cook bacon in large pot over medium heat until brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain then set aside.
- Pour the drippings into small bowl. Return 2 tablespoons to same pot; reserving the remainder. Increase the heat to high.
- Working in batches, add beef to pot and brown, about 7 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to large bowl.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the chopped onion and chopped carrot to pot and sauté 5 minutes. Mix in the flour.
- Return the beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Stir in the tomato paste.
- Tie the herb sprigs together with cooking twine and add to the beef along with the bay leaves, roasted garlic and 2 cups wine; simmer 15 minutes.
- Add the beef stock, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Uncover and continue simmering until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours longer.
- Discard herb sprigs and bay leaves.
- Cook the pearl onions in large saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Using 4- to 5-inch-diameter strainer, transfer onions to medium bowl; cool slightly, then peel.
- Return the water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain.
- Transfer the carrots to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain before using.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon drippings in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, about 6 minutes.
- Add the pearl onions to mushrooms and sauté until the onions are golden, about 4 minutes.
- Add the carrots and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Bring stew to a simmer and add the bacon and 2/3 of the vegetables into stew.
- Transfer to large bowl (or individual serving bowls) and top with the remaining vegetables.