Success! My first attempt at beef bourguignon was not only successful, but completely delicious. While I haven’t tackled the only-and-only Julia Child’s recipe yet (I think the movie did scare me a bit), the recipe below was still a labor of love, just with a little less labor but all of the goodness. It’s definitely a Sunday meal, but not quite the behemoth it was made out to be. Instead of the classic pot roast, this will always be my go-to. And with a nearly full bottle of cognac now gracing my counter, I think I might just have to make this once a month. Dinner party anyone?
3 pounds beef chuck, cut in 2-inch chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cognac
4 large carrots
1 large yellow onion, cut in chunks
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 750 ml. bottle full-bodied red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
10 ounces pearl onions, peeled
1/2 pound white mushrooms, halved (quartered if large)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325 F. Pat meat dry. Season all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large Dutch-oven or oven-proof pan with lid over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef to pan in one layer. Brown on all sides. Transfer beef to a bowl. Add cognac to pan and deglaze pan over medium-high heat, scraping up bits. Allow to reduce by half. Pour cognac over beef.
Coarsely chop 2 carrots. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in same pan. Add chopped carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes over medium heat. Add beef with cognac, wine, stock, tomato paste and thyme. (Beef should be covered by the wine and stock. If not, add more wine or stock to cover.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes. Cover and place in oven. Bake until meat is very tender, 2 1/2 -3 hours.
About 30 minutes before beef is done, cut remaining carrots in 1/2″ slices. Steam or blanch carrots until crisp tender; drain. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté pearl onions and mushrooms until light golden brown. Remove beef from oven. Strain liquid from stew into a saucepan. Separate beef from the cooked vegetables and discard vegetables. Boil liquid until reduced by half and thickened to a sauce consistency, skimming fat from surface. Add sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add beef, carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms to stock. Simmer 15 minutes to heat through. Serve in warm bowls.
Beef Bourguignon may be prepared up to two days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Before reheating, discard any solidified fat from surface. Reheat over medium-low heat on stovetop or in a 325 F oven.