If you didn’t notice, I’ve been making a lot of brown coloured food. I blame winter and the lack of fresh produce. Although it is citrus season, so I may jump on that bandwagon. Despite brown food typically tasting delicious, it is the worst kind of food to photograph.
Some things, no matter how much parsley or pretty props you add, will always just look like a pile of brown. Enter boeuf bourguignon. A traditional French stew full of fresh herbs, rich gravy, and tender beef. It is one of the most incredible meals you can make with beef chuck and a bottle of pinot noir.
Despite being so delicious, boeuf bourguignon is not photogenic. It’s like the ugly stepsister of French cuisine. It has all the same characteristics as it’s beautiful counterparts, minus the puff pastry or caramelized cheese. Regardless, this meal hits the spot on a chilly winter evening. And honestly, does any colour of food comfort the soul more than brown does? I don’t think so.
- ½ lb. bacon
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 lbs. beef stew meat (like chuck or brisket)
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 2 cups pearl onions, peeled
- 2 cups button mushrooms, halved
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup red wine, preferably Pinot Noir
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400
In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté for 2-3 minutes until cooked. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Dry beef with a paper towel so it will brown better. Increase heat to medium high and add beef to the bacon fat. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the outside has browned. Remove beef with a slotted spoon and set aside in a separate dish.
Return heat to medium. Sauté carrots, garlic, onions, parsley thyme and bay leaves for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a separate dish.
Add pearl onions and mushroom to Dutch oven and sauté until onions begin to brown and mushrooms become tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in the reserved bacon dish.
Add beef back to the pot and dust with one tablespoon of flour. Toss to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the preheated oven for 4-5 minutes. This will add a nice coating to the beef.
Remove pot from the oven and place back on the stove top. Add red wine and deglaze the pan. Pour in beef broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and spice mixture to the pot, reduce heat and simmer covered for one hour.
After one hour add pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon to the pot. Continue to simmer until beef is tender, about an additional 30 minutes.
With a slotted spoon remove solids and set aside. Increase heat and bring sauce to a rapid boil. In a small bowl mix together remaining tablespoon of flour with two tablespoons of sauce. Stir until smooth and no lumps remain. Add mixture to the pot and stir constantly until sauce thickens.
Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs, discard. Add solids back to the pot and stir to coat evenly. Serve warm over a bed of egg noodles or rice.