Beef, Bacon and Booze
Basic Beef Bourguignon
Beef, Bacon and Booze--what could be better? How about all three in one pot. The French figured this out 2 hundred years ago, an if you've never had Beef Bourguignon then you are not living a complete life. French food, while disparaged by some as overly sauced, overly fatty, etc--is some of the finest, tastiest food in the world. The French, thanks to masters like Escoffier, did much of the legwork in teaching the modern world to cook. If you’re not familiar with Escoffier he is considered the father of French cooking. He defined basic categories of sauces, organized types of cooking and wrote the preeminent cookbook of his day. He is legendary among chefs and gourmets and every culinary student is taught his methods.
This recipe is not standard Escoffier, but the techniques are based on his cooking methods. Here is what you are going to need:
3 lb beef chuck cut into cubes
1/2 lb. of bacon chopped into Lardoons. You can get fancy, but Oscar Meyer works
1 Onion chopped fine
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Carrots chopped fine
2 Stalks of celery chopped fine
4 Shallots chopped fine
1 Bottle dry red wine. Use good wine.
2 Cups beef or veal stock
2 Cups of button or crimini mushrooms
2 cups pearl onions--get the frozen if you don't want to peel them
1 Bouquet Garni
2 tablespoons prepared Demi Glace
2 tablespoons flour
Get a big Le Creuset pot or cast iron dutch oven. Cook your bacon until the fat renders out. Remove the Bacon, but leave the rendered fat. Ad the carrots, celery, onions, shallots, garlic and cook until tender. Remove from the pot and set aide.
Put the flour in zip lock with lots of salt and pepper and add the beef. Shake it up well to coat the beef then throw the beef in the crueset and brown on all sides. You may have to do this in batches so it all gets brown--don't crowd the pan. Once browned add the bacon back in the pan. Dump in a bottle of wine and scrape the bottom of the pot to get the browned goodies to mix in the sauce. Add the vegetables you cooked previously back in and add enough beef stock to cover everything. Add your bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Then place in a 350 degree oven for an hour. Sauté your mushrooms in some butter until lightly browned and add to the mix. Add the pearl onions. Add the demi glace. Make a quick roux and add some to thicken or just use some Wondra flour. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the beef is extremely tender.
The proper way to serve is over garlic toast, but I like it with egg noodles. Garnish with chopped chive.
Eat, enjoy and go out and do some research on Auguste Escoffier. Learning the techniques, even if you don't implement them exactly, will make you a much better cook than you were and probably a much better cook than anyone you know.