If you have been following my blog closely, you probably noticed that I took a slight hiatus. I wasn't planning on it being this long, but I went on a very strict diet with limited food options. Therefore, it was tough to try new recipes that I wasn't supposed to be eating. The hiatus turned out to be a positive thing because I lost almost 40 pounds! I also developed a new appreciation for food and a new attitude in regards to trying new food. I'm going to try to make more of an effort to post healthy recipes, although I will at times post some ones that are not-so-healthy, but delicious nonetheless.
For my first comeback recipe, I decided to try Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon! Although I am not a great cook by any means, I love the movie Julie and Julia and I have been wanting to try the famous Boeuf Bourguignon ever since. If Julie Powell can do it, I can do it. I bought a beautiful red Le Creuset 7.25 quart french oven for my birthday so I was finally ready to try the recipe! It was AH-MAZ-ING!! The hubby and I shared a bottle of wine and enjoyed this wonderful meal. It was not nearly as time-consuming as I thought it would be and I am so excited to host a dinner party in the near future and serve this!
Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures, adapted from Julia Child
6 ounces bacon
3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
1 cup baby carrots
1 sliced large onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
Crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 small white onions (white pearl onions)
1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
Chopped chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Sauté the bacon in a dutch oven (no oil) over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. (The bacon will render and give off enough fat to cook with.) Remove the bacon from the pot and place in a bowl; set aside.
Dry the stewing beef in paper towels - it will not brown if it is damp. Add the beef, a few pieces at a time, to the dutch oven to cook in the rendered bacon fat. Sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot and add it to the bacon in the bowl; set aside.
If the bacon fat has been absorbed by sauting the beef at this point, feel free to add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. In the pot, brown the carrots and onions.
Return the beef and bacon to the pot and toss with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the flour over the meat in the pot and toss everything in the pot to coat the beef lightly with the flour. On the stovetop, heat the pot for about 2-3 minutes to lightly cook off some of the flour.
To the pot, stir in the wine along with the stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the pot and set in lower third of preheated oven. Allow the pot to braise very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms:
For the onions - place the unpeeled white pearl onions in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring the saucepan up to a boil over the stovetop and allow the onions to boil for about 5-10 minutes. Remove the onions from the water and cool. Cut off the ends of each pearl onion and remove the outer layer of skin. Once all pearl onions are peeled, saute the pearl onions in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter. Allow the pearl onions to caramelize. Remove from the skillet and set them aside to cool.
For the mushrooms - add 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet used to prepare the onions. Saute the mushrooms in the butter until caramelized. Remove from the skillet and set them aside to cool.
After the meat has braised, remove and strain the beef and vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl; set aside. With the remaining sauce left in the pot, allow it to simmer. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down rapidly to reduce and thicken. If it's too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning.
At this point, return the beef and vegetables to the thickened sauce, along with the caramelized pearl onions and mushrooms. Gently heat everything over a medium low heat and then serve. Garnish with chopped chives.