Beef Bourguignon, a traditional French dish. In the south, not as many people make this dish, to my surprise. I always think, that the French are like Hungarians, everyone knows how to make X,Y & Z. But in the south, it is usually far too hot to make oven dishes, except in the winter, but they prefer raclettes and fondues, warm cheesy meals.
Part of the fun of living in a new country is trying all the new recipes and flavours, and then experimenting in the kitchen.
I adapted the far more complicated recipe from Child’s French cookbook, to a more human friendly version. Our lives our busy, right, so do we really need to blanch onions for a stew?!! Or have the time to peel a hundred little tiny onions for a stew!?
Here is how I did the traditional Beef Bourguignon or Beef Burgundy, my way!
1-2 Beef cubes with water or 2 cups beef broth
1 bottle of red wine, I used a bottle of cheap wine no one wanted to drink, but traditionally it is supposed to be Burgundy Wine
2 large onions regular or red
4 big carrots skin-on and medium chopped
2-4 cloves garlic crushed
4-5 potatoes skin-on, and cubed
Handful of parsley
1-2 tables dry or fresh Thyme
1 tsp Salt
pepper to taste
Oil or butter to brown meat (1 teaspoon sugar optional)
Optional: fried mushrooms, 1 can crushed tomatoes (then skip broth), pearl (pickling) onions in place of regular onions, or baby carrots whole instead of big ones.
Use up the ingredients on hand, and substitute out where you can. Soup and stews are a great way of using up veggies on their last days of life.
Step 1 -Heat oil in a skillet and brown your beef on all sides. A tip is to dry the meat with a paper towel before hand, making the meat dry and able to brown faster. Also stir in sugar to get a rich brown colour as it caramelizes and adds another level of flavour.
Step 2 – Add in your coarsely chopped onions and crushed garlic cloves
Step 3 – Once translucent, add in your salt, pepper, thyme and heat up for a few minutes then add in your whole bottle of wine.
Step 4 -Bring it to a boil, stir, then turn down and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Step 5 -Use the same Dutch oven to brown everything in and then transfer to the oven for 1-2 hours between 350-400 degrees with the lid on. By using the same browning pan, all the yummy bits stay in the stew.
Step 6 – Take the lid off and reduce the fluids after 1 hour
Step 7 – After 1 ½ hours add in your veggies, a splash of sherry if you desire, the beef cubes or broth or crushed tomatoes and mix in the flavours by stirring together and cook for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
Our first attempt at the stew, our guests arrived for the Gite rental and I simply shut off the oven and covered the stew, to get them settled in to their apartment. Because of this my stew did not reduce enough, so I added 2 spoons of flour to water and stirred until smooth with a fork and added it to the sauce to thicken slightly, not necessary but possible. If you like a more soup consistency skip the flour.
I do not think you can ruin this stew. If you rather cook at a lower temperature for longer, add in your tomatoes/beef stock or both if desired, when you first put it in the oven, and then add your carrots and potatoes last so they do not over cook.
Add parsley before serving.
At this point, the meat should be a soft as butter.
Serve over egg noodles or with a lovely fresh baguette.