When I started this blog a year ago, one of the very first meals I made and semi-photographed was beef bourgignon. Freshly arrived from France, I wanted to make some food similar to what we had there. This hit the spot, and is great for a cold winter’s day.
2 lbs. paleron of beef, or substitute flat iron steak, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil (not extra virgin, please)
4 onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup red Burgundy wine
6 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig of flat parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme and one bay leaf, tied together or tied in cheesecloth. Cheesecloth is easier.)
chopped parsley for garnish
a Dutch oven
1. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in the dutch oven, at high heat on the stove, until almost smoking (please, no EVOO!) and sear the meat in batches (2-3, at least). Remove each batch of meat, replace it with another until it is all nicely browned on the outside. You’re not looking for doneness, just color, a dark brown.
2. When all of the meat is done and set to the side, lower the heat to medium high and throw in the onions. Cook them until soft and golden brown (10 minutes or so). Sprinkle flour over them, and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Add the red wine, scraping up all the delicious bits at the bottom of the pan.
3. Return the meat to the Dutch oven and add carrots, garlic, and bouquet garni. Add just enough water to the pan so that the liquid covers the meat by 1/3 (so 2/3 of the pot is filled with meat, 1/3 is filled with liquid. Got it?). It will reduce, so you want plenty of liquid to start with so you still have a stew when it’s done. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, and let it cook for two hours, or until the meat is tender (as in, you can break it apart with a fork). Check on it every 15-20 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick. Skim off any foam or oil that comes to the top as well. When it’s finished, remove the bouquet garni and serve with a sprinkling of parsley.