3 Day Beef Bourguignon
• ~4 lb of boneless braising beef meat (cross-rib roast or shin
•1/4 lb (thick bacon cut into rectangles)
•2 bottles of Burgundy red wine
•2 medium size onions
•20 or so small white (Pearl) onions
•2/3 lb of fresh mushrooms
•3 bay leafs
•1 large teaspoon of tomato paste
•1 bouquet garni
•3 cloves of garlic
•3 squares of really dark (bitter) chocolate (80% cocoa or more)
•3 tablespoons of flour
Day #1 – The Marinade
The key to a great Beef bourguignon is to marinate the raw meat before you actually cook with it. The problem is that if you simply cut your meat and pour wine on top of it, the meat actually develops a taste of alcohol which I don’t find nice.
1In a large pot, pour the 2 bottles of wine and
2add the carrots cut into large pieces,
3the medium size onions roughly cut,
4the bay leaves,
5the peeled garlic cloves, and
6the bouquet garni.
Bring everything to a boil for about 10 minutes. Let it cool down to room temperature and put it in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours until cold. In the mean time, cut the meat into large 2” chunks and trim the excess fat. Once the marinade is cool, pour it over the meat into a non reactive dish/pan, cover and put in the fridge overnight (minimum 8 hours).
Day #2 – Cooking The Beef
1Take the marinade and meat out of the fridge. Take all the meat pieces out and using paper towels, make sure they are as dry as you can. Leave the meat out for 30 minutes so that it comes back to room temperature and put the bacon fat in a thick skillet. When the fat is really hot, sear the pieces of meat 5 or 6 at a time to make sure you don’t crowd the pan. Try to get as much of a crust onto the meat as possible. Add pepper and salt to the meat only right after you dropped it in the pan (putting salt before, even 5 minutes, will draw moisture out of the meat and you’ll be steaming, not searing). Set aside.
2Discard any remaining oil from the pan and put in the ‘lardons’ (bacon) on high heat. Stir so that they get a nice color then take them out of the pan and put them with the meat.
3Lower the heat to a medium fire under the pan, strain all the solids from the marinade and put them into the pan. (set the bay leaf and bouquet garni aside)
4Cook for 5 or 7 minutes until you start seeing some color, make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the nice bacon and meat bits that stuck. Sprinkle the flour and mix it in so that it doesn’t lump up. Add salt and pepper – Watch out though, if you used a lot of bacon, it can add a lot of salt… So you need to taste the bacon and add salt accordingly.
5Put the wine back into the pan and add the meat, bacon, bay leaves, bouquet garni and tomato paste. Cover and let it cook slowly.
6In the meantime, peel the Pearl onions (which as small white onions you usually serve whole) and let them roast slowly in a pan with a bit of olive oil. You are looking to get some color but to also cook the onions through (don’t overcook them, since they’ll cook some more in the bourguignon and then need to hold their shape, yet be tender).
7In another pan, heat up some oil. Clean the mushrooms and depending on their size, either keep them whole or cut them in half or quarter. Roast them in a hot pan until they get some color. Make sure the pan is not too small, there should be room between the individual pieces of mushrooms so as to not steam them but roast them. Do it in several batches if you prefer.
8After the stew has cooked for about an hour, incorporate the onions and mushrooms with the rest of the bourguignon and check the seasoning and adjust if needed… At this point, add the 3 squares of dark chocolate.
9Cook gently for another 30 minutes and turn the heat off. Let it sit a few hours until it’s cool enough to put in the fridge overnight.
Day #3 –
Take the dish out of the fridge and using a spoon, remove as much of the fat from the top as you can. Turn your oven to 350F.
When the oven is hot, put the Boeuf bourguignon in a covered oven safe serving dish . At this point, you could serve the bourguignon once it’s completely reheated.
Optional Puff Pastry:
To give it an extra touch, you might want to serve it with a nice puff pastry crust.
Unroll a sheet of puff pastry. Once it’s unrolled, put it back in the fridge so that it gets really cold.
After about 20 minutes of reheating, drape the puff pastry on top of the bourguignon, make a slight criss cross on top with a knife edge and brush the pastry with a bit of the egg wash. Quickly put back in the oven until the puff pastry is golden color.